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Serenity Hacker

3 Keys to Emotional Serenity

This is a guest post by Melissa at Mindful Construct. Follow her on Twitter.


Feelings are for the present moment… It is by being fully present now that we reach the fullness of tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie

Emotions are like the current of a river. They’re in constant flow. Sometimes they’re turbulent.

But emotions can slow down too. They can take on the serenity of a calm lake tucked away in a meadow.

It’s the serenity that you strive for, because serenity means that your mind is clear and connected to your heart. Serenity means that you can be present in your life, mindful of each precious moment that is yours to experience.

But how do emotions go from being turbulent and fast-changing to calm and serene? It seems that most of the time, the negative emotions cause more harm than good. They interrupt your life, cloud your thinking, and some of them are really painful.

Well, the answer is so simple it might surprise you.

Emotional serenity comes from letting your emotions run their course, because once they do and you respond to them mindfully, serenity and clarity will naturally result.

It’s natural for emotions to go from turbulence to serenity, as long as you are willing to let them unravel naturally and respond to them constructively.

Let your emotions run their course

Letting your emotions freely run their course seems like a daunting task. If negative emotions run their course, won’t they wreak havoc in your life?

Won’t anger become destructive, jealousy turn to hatred, fear lead to failure, and grief sink into despair? These negative emotions only intensify and become difficult to manage when you do not attend to them and let them run their course.

When negative emotions unravel freely, they don’t draw out for years and years, remaining unresolved and harmful to your health, and toxic to your relationships. Instead, they intensify for a time, and once they are genuinely and fully expressed, they pass — just as the waters in a river are in constant flow.

For emotions to run their course, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

1) Accept that all of your emotions have value,
meaning that they
signal important information to you about your thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, expectations, and your environment.

2) Express your emotions in safe and appropriate ways
It may need to be in private with a pen and journal, or maybe a foam bat and pillow. Or it may need to be in the company of someone you trust, like a good friend or a therapist. The key to this step is not to censor, rationalize away, or negatively judge what you are really feeling. You may feel like a two-year throwing a tantrum. That’s okay — the fit will pass. In order for the emotion to reach resolution, it must be clearly heard, felt, and later on, understood, for that is the path to serenity.

3) Remember that your emotions are simply your reactions to your internal (e.g., thoughts) and external (e.g., relationships) environments and it is by uncovering them that you learn more about yourself and what you need in order to be happy, healthy, and successful in life. Remembering this will motivate you to stay focused on mindfully accepting all of your emotions as valuable to your self-growth.

There are many ways to follow the three steps above, and you’re bound to find that certain methods work better than others. The important thing is that you actively seek those ways that work best for you, because throughout your life, you’re going to experience many emotions that need a safe outlet to be expressed and listened to.

Following the three steps will also help you stay focused on the present, find solutions to problems once you are aware (thanks to your emotions) that they exist, and increase your understanding in order to make your future the best that it can be.

Respond mindfully to your emotions

When you let your emotions run their course, then something beautiful happens.

You already know how valuable it is to let your joy, happiness, optimism, wonder, and gratitude grace your life.

But when you let your anger, fear, jealousy, or even disgust run their course… they lead you to the truth behind their origination. All of a sudden it’s clear why you were so angry, fearful, jealous, or disgusted. You can see the thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, expectations, and environmental triggers that brought the negative emotions into play.

And then you can quickly identify the real problems that need to be fixed, whether they are internal (e.g., a dysfunctional belief), or external (e.g., a dysfunctional relationship).

Reap the rewards

This means that letting your emotions run their course allows you to be more logical than you ever could before expressing the emotions. Because your understanding of the situation that gave cause for the emotions, and your understanding of yourself, will have significantly expanded.

It is from that expanded awareness that you can use your negative emotions constructively. You no longer have to lash out or fight your feelings or distract yourself from the pain… because you know what needs to be done to take care of your needs and fix real problems.

That expanded awareness helps you discover the best way to respond to the situation that gave cause for the emotional reaction. Part of discovering the best way to respond is by using the important information about your life and your place in it — that only your emotions could deliver to you in an immediate, significant, personally-relevant way.

Emotional serenity

Emotions are like the current of a river. They’re in constant flow. Sometimes they’re turbulent.

But it’s their turbulence that contains a message, about you and for you. So that you may respond to life in healthy ways, from a place of serenity and self-awareness.

Emotions can slow down too, become like a calm lake tucked away in a meadow. These emotions take on the form of inner-peace, tranquility, self-love, confidence, gratitude, and compassion.

It’s only after you allow your more turbulent emotions to flow with the strong current of a river that they transform into what they were meant to be: vital signals about your life, that you listen to — that you need to listen to in order to experience more longer-lasting, serene emotional states that nurture your heart, mind, spirit, and being.

Try incorporating these keys to emotional serenity today, and feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

About the Author: Melissa Karnaze writes about the intelligence of emotions on Mindful Construct and Twitter.

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