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Learn how to manage your emotional state

Updated: Jul 16

Do you know the feeling that you're a little down, have fear of a situation, or are living life to the fullest? This has to do with what state you are in. Self-confidence can give you the feeling of being able to take on the world, but despite that, another situation can sometimes make you insecure. That too has to do with your emotional state or mental state.

State management is an important part of a holistic coaching approach. Your state is a way of being that influences how you experience yourself, others, and your environment. By managing your states you can gain new insights, fears can disappear and what seemed difficult at first can suddenly become simple.

What is a state of being?

We all know the moment of intense happiness or joy. That one moment when you can't stop talking to friends or you feel like you can handle the whole world. We also know that moment of intense sadness and the feeling that the world around you seems to perish.

Both are emotional states and on average one day we can have more than 10 variations of this. Very common generic states are:

  1. the sorrow state

  2. the anger or irritation state

  3. the loneliness state

  4. the focus state

  5. the meditation/yoga state

  6. the compassion state

  7. the rest state

  8. the coziness state

  9. the recalcitrance state

  10. the actor state

Each of these states manifests someone in his own way and in his own style. Depending on which state you are in, you experience the environment, yourself, and others in a different way. Try being angry with someone in a balmy state. In order to do this, you have to change your state first.

States and Meta states

If you've had a lot of setbacks in your life, you learn to deal with them in a certain way. Suppose you live in a war zone as a child, you can't spend every time wondering how you will react to every gunshot. In that case, we adopt a state that helps us to deal with the situation through a certain way of thinking and acting.

Sometimes this is effective, but sometimes it is not. This difference will become clear later in this article. It is the way of being that we teach ourselves to deal with something. If we do this often, we train ourselves to develop a so-called meta-state. If a similar situation then arises, we no longer need to think and immediately know how to conceive and act in order to - as it were - survive.

Meta states are very strong mental states that we unconsciously evoke through what we see, hear, feel, or experience. Usually, meta states are the ways of being that your best friends and family know of you. For example, you are not just angry, but furious. You are not just happy, but ecstatic. Sometimes in a positive sense and sometimes in a negative sense, it's usually the most outspoken version of yourself.

States and your perception

Most people will experience that when you are in a happy state or state of mind, you are more self-centered. This does not mean that you feel more important than someone else, but you are allowed to be there to the fullest version of yourself.

When you are in a sad or angry state, the focus is more on the other and you can sometimes forget yourself.

In a happy state, most people find many things that happen less bad than in a sad or angry state. If someone drops a glass, people in a happy state will enjoy laughing about it, while someone who is angry can become irritated about it.

So our state influences the meaning we give to something. But the other way around, the meaning we give to something can also change our state.

Do we have an influence on our emotional state?

Everyone can influence his own emotional state and state of mind. Many of us have stood at the door of friends with our spouses while they have just had a big fight in the car. The door swings open and suddenly a smile appears on our faces and we pretend nothing happened. This is not an act. We are changing our emotional state. So we have a choice to change our emotional state.

When we realize that we have learned states (un)consciously, we also realize that we can learn and unlearn states. We don't have to, but some states simply don't make us happy. So why should we still use them?

We teach ourselves a certain emotional state or meta-state because it was useful to deal with a certain situation. If those kinds of situations no longer or only rarely occur, why should we maintain that emotional state or meta-state?

For example: A woman was often physically and mentally abused in a relationship. In order to deal with this, she took a state which she herself describes as 'the surrendered state'. In this state everything that happened was okay and her focus was on self-protection. According to her, this meant that she said nothing, waited quietly until it was over, and gave the boyfriend a hug afterward.

Years after she escaped from the relationship she still showed the same behavior when someone was not nice to her. Someone forced their way to the cash register and immediately she jumped into her state of surrender and tried to be as nice to that person as possible.

When her son scolded her during his adolescence, he got a hug afterward. And so there were other examples where the state she had taught herself to survive no longer served her.

How do you change your emotional state?

You can wait until something happens and let your state change. You can also train yourself to enter another state or meta state actively. For some people, this may feel like acting at first, but remember that your states of being are also learned. It only requires training. You can do this consciously or unconsciously.

When one becomes aware that they have a choice in this, most people choose to learn it consciously anyway. After all, why allow circumstances to dominate your state and thus your life if you have a choice in this yourself?

Change your state by acting

Strange as it may sound, acting is one of the most effective ways to manage your emotional state. As with plants in your living room, the state that you pay the most attention to will grow the fastest.

Exercise: Ask yourself which state you want to be in most often, and DO this state as often as possible.

Take a situation in which you were in the desired state and FEEL how you felt. HEAR the words you use in that state and which words you did not use. Stand, sit, or walk as you did in that state and behave as you were. See the world through the eyes of how you were in that state and keep that up for as long as possible.

Repeat this with all the states and meta states you can find out about yourself and try them after doing so. Then choose the emotional states you want to keep and try to avoid the states you don't want anymore.

Changing your state through meditation

Meditation has many manifestations, but no matter how you do it, it helps to stimulate positive states. The inner peace you bring to yourself gives you a better understanding of which states do and do not contribute to a happy life. Because you are not distracted by external factors it is easier for some people to feel and explore the positive states and meta states. It also helps you to not be bothered by cognitive disorders.

Exercise: During meditation, experience fully what state you are in. SEE how you see the world and people and FEEL the connection with yourself. HEAR which words you want to use and which words you do not. EXPERIENCE the world as it is, without judgment and without giving meaning. Let yourself and the world be as it is.

After your meditation, choose whether you want to keep this state of being or let yourself be seduced into other states and meta-states. When you have made the right choice, you can practice the state you choose to keep. In the beginning through Meditation and gradually through simply doing the state.

What is the benefit of changing your state?

States and meta-states make you look differently at yourself, others, and situations. In positive states that serve you, you can enjoy life more. You can embrace life and see people, events, and yourself with a more positive meaning.

Experienced coaches can help and guide you to say goodbye to emotional states and meta states that no longer serve you. They can help you reach your full potential without fear, anger, or sadness. Unless you want to be in that state for a while. Because it remains your choice when you know how to manage your states.

Can you suppress emotions when you change state?

Emotions do not arise because they are there, but because of the meaning, you give to something, yourself, a situation, or others. You need to give meaning in order to feel something about something.

Changing your emotional state does not change the event that made you emotional. What does change is the way you look at it and what you feel about it. With this, you do not suppress your own emotions, but you give yourself the space to give new, more positive, and therefore healthier meanings to situations, yourself, or others.


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