Which emotion would you give up?

EQ in Action
Written by: Avril Kidd
Category: Life Skills
Our emotions that we often like to classify as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ are two sides of the same ‘coin’.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

[Melody Beattie]

Just an observation …

It is impossible to be both grateful and depressed.  Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.

Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time

There are so many takeaways for me in this quote. One of them relates to the fact that our brain can only focus on one thing at a time. If we are focusing on what we are grateful for or what opportunities may exist for us, it means there is far less room and time to focus on what we are not enjoying in our lives or any regrets we may have.

This is not to say that we must ignore our challenges or regrets. Instead, what if we reframed them into opportunities to learn from and saw them in a different light? What if we could be more self-reflecting than self-berating? Could we focus on what we are grateful for rather than for what we are not? Martin Seligman’s research showed that 94% of depressed people improved by practicing gratitude; that by becoming more grateful, you become happier.

Our emotions are a continuum, like opposite sides of a coin. Heads or tails are different sides BUT of the same coin. In the same way, our emotions that we often like to classify as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ are also two sides of the same ‘coin’.

I recall doing an exercise during an advanced facilitation program where we all had to choose what we would never want to feel again, i.e. what emotion would we choose to give up. We spoke about ‘rejection’. The next question we were asked is: would we be prepared to give up on the opposite side of that coin, i.e. would we sacrifice ‘acceptance’ or feeling accepted, if it meant never experiencing rejection?

What would you wish to never feel again?

What is it that you wish to never feel again? Sadness? If so, would you be prepared to sacrifice never experiencing joy?

 When we look at the opposite ends of these spectrums, it makes us realize that to truly appreciate one end, we need to know what it feels like to experience the other. We can be grateful for the ability to feel and experience these emotions, that even in our moments of deepest sorrow we can be grateful for the opportunity to have experienced joy.

 We live in a world of many tragedies and the media exploit this. But we also live in a world of many miracles and of immense beauty. If nothing has any importance other than the importance we give it, then, surely, we should consider carefully what we choose to give importance to?

 When we practice gratitude and appreciation, our bodies also release dopamine, a chemical released in the brain that makes us feel good.

A challenge

I challenge you to focus on what you have to be grateful for and, in so doing, increase your happiness! If each day you recognized one thing that you are grateful for, can you imagine the extent of your gratitude by the end of the month?