How to enrich your life by reviewing and expanding your emotional range
Recently, I was reading Giant Steps by Anthony Robbins, and there was an interesting exercise that I could not help but do. The premise was that:
One of the best ways to enrich your life is to expand your emotional range
This means that you can take a look at all of the emotions that you experienced in the past week, notice which ones were negative or emotions that you want to feel less of, identify the positive ones and any emotions you want to feel more of, and to experience those positive ones right away.
I have been having a rough week, so I thought I could take a few minutes to do the exercise to see what impact it would have.
1. Make a list of the emotions that you experienced in the past week (or in an average week)
This past week, I experienced the following emotions (I know some of these may not be technically emotions, but I listed them anyway as part of the exercise):
2. Take stock of which emotions are ones you want to feel more of, and the ones you want to feel less of
For simplicity sake, I focused on the positive ones. I want to feel more:
3. Identify other emotions that you want to feel
In addition to the above, I want to feel:
4. Take each emotion you want to feel more of, and identify times when you felt that way in the past
I want to feel more fun, so I think about a time when I was fun. Whenever I’m around small kids, I like to play with them and feel fun, so I think about a time when I was with a friend’s young kids and playing silly games with them. Tony suggests engaging all the senses in this memory, so I think about the colours of the room I was in, the toys that I was playing with, the sounds the toys made, the look on the young kid’s eyes, the laughter and smiles that came out of them, how out of breath I was at times from running around, and the look on their eyes when I had to go.
Just now, as I was thinking about this memory, I felt a lot more fun.
In fact, you can do this too. Take an emotion you want to feel more of, and think of a time in the past that you felt that way. Then, conjure up the same situation in your mind, engaging all of your senses and trying to recreate that same memory.
If you can do this now, you can also do it any time you want.
While you cannot control the negative emotions that you feel, you can control, as shown through the exercise (you did do the exercise right?), what positive emotions that you feel and how often you feel them. If you want to immediately feel happier, think of a happy time and relive that memory in your mind. If you want to immediately feel funnier, think of a time when you were in a situation where you and others were laughing and what led to that situation.