Developing emotional intelligence and learning to direct your attention and thoughts away from negative cues can shift your experience and change your perspective. Today we will explore how a deeper emotional intelligence can help pull you out of a negative mental health cycle. Let’s dive in!
How Much of Your Mental Health Is Within Your Control
Think back to the last time you were having a bad day, experiencing anxiety, worry, feelings of depression, even. Ask yourself: Why do I have to wake up tomorrow feeling the same way I do today? The truth is, you don’t.
The main reason for your continuation of negative experiences lies in how your brain’s attention and memory systems work. If you lost your memory overnight and forgot the painful experiences and the thoughts that worsened those painful experiences, would you still feel sad and anxious? Probably not, right? You would (quite literally) wake up with a new outlook on life.
Now imagine you woke up in a negative environment, a physical environment, and you experienced pain in that environment. You would probably get out of there – change your environment and go somewhere you felt safe.
So why don’t you?
If you think: well, it’s not that simple, then you might consider whether the problem is with the situation you are experiencing, or with the story you are telling yourself about the experience. This is a topic we touch on frequently – how the stories we tell ourselves about our lives color the way we see particular people, ourselves, and situations.
Some people can have a negative experience or a poor mental health day, and 15 or 20 minutes later, it is like nothing happened. For other people, one negative emotion will stay with them throughout the rest of the day. Your current (negative) mood acts as an “emotional filter” that only lets thoughts, memories, and emotions congruent with your current mood through. Competing (possibly positive) thoughts, memories, and emotions get filtered out.
Listen to the full episode above for 7 ways to break this negative cycle!