I’m usually very stoic and emotionally strong, but my Monkey-Mind has been out of control lately.
We often feel stress, worry, anger or other negative emotions all from some kind of fear. It’s not our fault, the amygdala part of our brain overdeveloped to protect us from saber-tooth tigers and even though the tigers are gone, the amygdala keeps trying to protect us.
One secret to an amazing life is being able to just “note” your emotions, without letting them hook you and carry you away. If you can note how you are feeling, you can then get curious about it and ask, what else is true about the situation?
Right now I note…
- I’m worried about my daughter Amanda, who has chosen to stay in New York with her friends in off-campus housing. And I also feel happy and proud that she’s an independent strong young woman who has carved out a good life separate from mom and dad.
- I might feel frustrated that my daughter Natalie, and son, Owen, are both home from school which brings more distractions and housework in the daytime. And I also feel grateful when they do chores without complaint and feel SO grateful for the extra family time at dinner and chance to watch “old” movies together (you know, old like from the 1990’s).
- I worry about my ravaged stock portfolio and college savings accounts, as a result of massive stock market declines. I also feel calm and confident knowing that after every great crash (1918 Spanish flu, Great Depression, Dot Com Bust, 9/11, 2008 melt-down) the market has come roaring back after just a few years (OK, a decade in worst case scenario). Great investors make money in bear markets too and this is a time to rebalance portfolios.
- I worry that my company, LEADx, won’t make another sale for the rest of the year. And I also feel anchored by our mission, and invigorated by the challenge and know that one way or another we will emerge stronger and better for this struggle.
- You will thrive emotionally not when you avoid negative emotions—denying your fear—but when you get curious about them. Stress points a finger at something you value: health, financial stability, relationships, whatever. Thank your lizard brain for pointing out the danger, explore it a bit, and ask what else you feel about the topic. And then, take some action.
When we recognize what we can’t control and what we are feeling, we are able to calm the monkey-mind and be at our best. For our own health, and to support those around us.