In our third guest blog of the series, Maureen Sweatman of Joyful Living Coaching shares some encouraging tips we can all use today to thrive emotionally during challenging times. Image credit: Luis Quintero / Pexels.

How are you feeling right now? Yes, you! Stop and check in with yourself in this moment if you can’t answer that question.

Lots of my clients and friends are feeling BIG and difficult emotions right now. It’s hard not to in the current climate. As someone who has felt big emotions my whole life, I have some good news to share. You can reframe and redirect your thoughts, emotions, and energy to a different place. Away from fear, anger, overwhelm, discontent, or discouragement to hope, happiness, satisfaction, peace, and joy.

Before the current state of things, many of us liked to think we had everything under control. But the past 6 months have boldly reminded us that we have been caught up in the illusion of control and that life is precious and fragile. We have been reminded that we don’t EVER really have much control over what happens, and that is a scary and uncomfortable place to be! Many of us avoid that place at all costs.

Here’s the good news I promised:

  • We do have control over our reactions to what happens around us.
  • We do have control over being grateful for what is precious to us.
  • We do have control over telling our loved ones how we feel about them now while we can.
  • We can take control over any emotions that threaten to paralyze us.
  • We can remind fear that it isn’t the driver but a passenger on this ride.

When we take control of our reactions and emotions, we grow our choice muscles. We can choose a different emotion than the one that has us feeling some kind of way.

How? When we feel fear pop up, take some deep breathes and remind yourself that you have the power to control your reactions and then flex your choice muscles and choose a different emotion. For example, I recently felt overwhelmed by my schedule. So many things to manage! I bet you can relate. Instead of spinning out about the overwhelm I felt, I stopped myself in that moment and flexed my choice muscles. I reminded myself that I put things on and my schedule and I could also take them off. I reminded myself that, while I felt overwhelmed in the moment by the demands, I could CHOOSE to see my schedule as opportunities to do my work — work that makes me feel alive and needed and content. I assessed what was actually necessary for my schedule that day (and the week), and made adjustments. And the overwhelm I had felt evaporated.

Try it out! The next time fear, overwhelm, or anxiety show up for you, take a deep breath and remind yourself to flex your choice muscles and choose a different, better-feeling emotion. And before you know it, you will be choosing differently without even thinking about it because your choice muscles will be stronger.

Maureen Sweatman, Chief Joy Officer of Joyful Living Coaching, is a career and life coach whose life’s work is to support others in the process of discovering and growing their strengths and unleashing their potential for living a life full of joy and purpose. She resides in Metro Atlanta and enjoys parenting her teen daughter and 6 pets. Maureen is also an avid champion of giving back to one’s community with a long-standing commitment to volunteering, especially with local diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

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