Linking Behaviour and Mood

Behaviour and mood are linked together…

Behaviour and MoodHave you ever noticed for example that when you are feeling “down” you sometimes simply have to engage in some stimulating breathing exercises or in doing something that nourishes you to feel much better? We tend to believe that all emotions last a long time but actually they don’t as it really depends which emotions we are talking about.

First, let us make the difference between “emotions” and “feelings”. In this article, the well-known neurologist Antonio R. Damasio, says the following:

“In everyday language we often use the terms interchangeably. This shows how closely connected emotions are with feelings. But for neuroscience, emotions are more or less the complex reactions the body has to certain stimuli. When we are afraid of something, our hearts begin to race, our mouths become dry, our skin turns pale and our muscles contract. This emotional reaction occurs automatically and unconsciously. Feelings occur after we become aware in our brain of such physical changes; only then do we experience the feeling of fear.”

Thus feelings are formed by emotions.

To test the length and effect of emotions, Philippe Verduyn and Saskia Lavrijsen from the University of Leuven in Belgium asked 233 students to recollect recent emotional episodes and report their duration.[1]. They found out that:

„Rumination is the central determinant of why some emotions last longer than others. Emotions associated with high levels of rumination will last longest“ (Professor Verduyn).”

Out of a set of 27 emotions, sadness apparently lasted the longest whereas shame, surprise, fear, disgust, boredom, being touched, irritated or feeling relief were over much faster.[2]

Mindfulness can help you  notice what’s going on in your body, inviting uncomfortable emotions and feelings in and letting them go, exactly as with positive emotions and wanted feelings. Being with yourself moment by moment helps you to stay anchored and not being “knocked-down” as well as feeling “helpless” when encountering strong emotions.

The following cartoon of Charlie Brown illustrates this in a fantastic way and it always makes me smile when I look at it! I hope you do so too….

Jenny

cartoon_charlie_brown

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2815719/Feeling-sad-FIVE-DAYS-shift-mood-Sadness-lasts-240-times-longer-emotions-study-claims.html

[2] The full research can be found here : http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-014-9445-y

 

How to enjoy little things

Everyday tips – what we can learn from children’s books

Enjoying the present momentDo you know the feeling: you are running around like crazy, most of the time on autopilot mode, trying to perform all the different roles that you are playing in life. At the end of the day you feel exhausted and most certainly were not able to do everything you had on your list.

The funny thing actually is that most people thought that technology would give us some time back by organizing our tasks, meetings and social life (or maybe it was more like a marketing argument). In fact it is quite the opposite, more and more people seem to have less time.

Well, here’s a story from a children’s book that I came across, which might speak to you as it did to me:

It talks about a little snail, a very slow one, which one-day was surprisingly invited for coffee by some “racing” snails. The only problem was that the meeting point with the faster snails was far away and our little friend actually very slow as it enjoyed every moment of every journey. It nevertheless decided to accept the invitation and to hit the road directly in orStorytellingder to arrive on time two days later.
As it so happens, on its way it passed through a field of fresh salad and found that it had never seen such fantastic green leaves in its life. It hence stopped to eat. Of course it became tired after a while and found a perfect place to sleep. Awake again, the snail thought: “oh no, I am going to be late” but then it simply decided to do what it always did: enjoying the present moment and not to worry anymore.
As you can imagine, in the end it arrived (obviously) too late and the party was long over. A little bug walking by wondered why the snail was looking so happy and content although there was nobody left and questioned it. The snail simply responded that it did not matter at all as it could now enjoy the journey back even more and do everything slowly as it was used to.

 

Writing this, a large smile comes to my face… we should all read children’s stories from time to time as they have so much to teach us!

We all have a choice when it comes to our own lives: either we run through it or we choose to walk through it more mindfully, enjoying single moments as they arise and living here and now.

Maybe you’d like to try this different way of living!

Some tips on how to get you started:

  1. Take your time: when you get up in the morning, instead of jumping out of your bed, stay there, warm, peacefully and smile to yourself.
  2. Being mindful of little things: taking your shower, brushing your teeth, making a cup of coffee or tea can be something enjoyable. Try being fully present and bring your mind back to what you are doing when it wanders away (as that’s what minds do).
  3. In your car: before you drive off, take a moment to notice that you’re breathing. Don’t switch on the music or your hands-free-device but focus on how you’re feeling, tuning in to your body. If your mind wanders away judging other drivers, that’s normal; simply label it as a “judgment” and bring it back to yourself, breathing and driving.
  4. In public transport: leave early enough so that you can enjoy the walk to the bus or tube station. Don’t rush, breathe and notice the colors, the smells, the sun…maybe you’ll notice something that you never did before!

Let me know how it goes 😉

Jenny

Leading yourself

Jenny Ebermann Self-Leadership Services

… is not easy! In fact it is a major challenge and hurdle to many people. It starts by one simple thing: how many of you are able to look at yourselves in the mirror and give yourselves a virtual hug? It might seem simple but many of us did not grow up to like ourselves… there was always something missing or something not good enough.

In fact, we are our worst enemies as we continuously judge ourselves not seeing the little progresses we make but instead being stuck on all the things that could have been done better, different, more adequately….these things then keep coming back to our thoughts, moving along and influencing everything we do.

So here’s what to do:

  • First of all, start by seeing all the little positive things in your lives. Being present, moment by moment will help you.
  • Start writing down some objectives for yourself, these should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and could be linked to any aspect of your life (professional, private, yourself…)
  • Write action plans for every single objective, identifying all little steps towards the attainment of your goal/objective (I am happy to share a template with you would like to see one)
  • Check-in with yourself at a regular basis and write down all the things that you did well and achieved in line with your action plan. I am sure that there are many; your brain needs to see that!
  • Stop judging yourself at a continuous basis, rather begin seeing the hurdles and “failures” as opportunities to grow.
  • Try smiling at yourself and liking yourself (if you don’t already do so) every day a little bit more. You deserve all your attention! and finally, remember:
  • We are all “imperfect” and that’s what makes us human!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of the week! Jenny

For a good start into the weekend!

Mountain

 

“A human being … experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest–a kind of optical illusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

 

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

I don’t know about you but for me, this quote says exactly what I need to hear right now. Thank you Rita for sharing this with me!

The power of having a vision in your life

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You will most certainly already have come across somebody in your life who told you that maybe you should be writing down your vision or what is sometimes also called “your personal mission statement”. If you are like me, the first time you heard that, you might have thought: “why would I possibly want to do that?”.

The answer to that question is easy (so easy that we might even not think about it):

  • Having a vision can unleash the very best in you as it makes you strive towards it (like athletes do in sports).
  • Our personal visions can comfort us in difficult times or times of stress. They bring us back into alignment with ourselves.
  • Finally, our vision can also guide us through choices and decision making processes.

    If your vision is based on your own deep values as it should be, living following its principles will not only motivate and energize you, but as research has shown, make you more persistent, performing, and creative than other peers who don’t have a vision.

    Being currently in Vienna and following a “Personal Leadership” Foundations seminar, I will also have to write down my own personal vision tomorrow. Although I have done so in the past, it is certainly time for me now to revise it and renew my commitment to follow it.

    Stay with me for this new journey of self-discovery as I will walk you through the different steps to undertake when drafting a mission for yourself and taking ownership of your life! Jenny