State of Mind: Polarity of Emotion
People regularly talk about only being able to do specific things in a certain frame of mind. I feel like this when it comes to certain aspects of my day, if I have a lot going on and notice my stress levels are rising, I struggle then to focus on tasks that require a lot of concentration.
We hear “state of mind” a lot, but what does that actually mean? The Cambridge dictionary states, “a person’s mood and the effect that mood has on the person’s thinking and behaviours”. I’m sure we all have examples of not feeling in the right “state of mind” to do things and if we think about it, yes, this is based on our thoughts, then subsequent feelings, and behaviours.
States of Mind
There are 3 states of mind that we can find ourselves in interchangeably; wise mind, reasonable mind, and emotional mind.
Wise mind is where we would like to spend most of our time as this is our optimal space for decision making.
The reasonable mind is a logic state, basically where we think.
The emotional mind is where we feel our emotions and act upon this information. Due to this part being responsible for feelings it can be known as the “hot” state of mind.
Both the reasonable mind of how we think and emotional mind of how we feel make up the wise mind, here we are aware of our feelings and our thoughts.
Each of us lives out of a specific state of mind, all of them have their strengths and weaknesses. You may wonder why this is important, but it is considered that we have 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are the same as the day before*, so our state of mind is important.
Polarity of Emotion
Today I want to focus on the emotional mind and how polarity of emotion can affect our everyday. Polarity can show extremes of our emotional state, perceptions, activity, way of thinking and such like. When we are in a good mood, chances are we are far away from thinking negatively and our feelings and behaviours probably mirror this, the same is apparent in a poor mood, which can lead to further issues that affect our wellbeing.
We have the power internally to direct emotions through our actions and reactions. However, it is important to remember these two things:
- You cannot bypass your past experiences and the unfelt emotions.
- You cannot get rid of emotions like you cannot get rid of energy. They can only be transformed (emotions = energy in motion).
It is very difficult to think in the state of one extremity whilst feeling another.
What can we do?
Take advantage of recognising your reasonable or wise state of mind to create better actions for your emotional mind. Remember, our emotions can cloud or judgement and affect our decision making. How often have we found ourselves slumped on the sofa when we had originally planned to go the gym? Or putting off getting something done which just leads to you being annoyed with yourself?
If you are finding yourself experiencing a polarity of emotion it can be difficult to switch this. Instead, consider planning for those periods using the IF & Then technique.
IF you know when you feel stressed you are likely to make poor food choices THEN have a go to meal that only takes 10 minutes to make.
IF you know you will struggle to cope with your workload tomorrow THEN plan in some small breaks to re-energise.
IF you know you will struggle to speak to someone when you are feeling low, THEN consider what things may help you in advance and have these planned out. Even if it is a saved number in your phone, you can access quickly.
It is important that we allow our reasonable mind the opportunity to make good decisions.
Of course, it is difficult to plan for every eventuality and sometimes we need to be able to make good decisions for ourselves in the moment. This is where we need to create that proactiveness in the moment.
Example: You are making a real effort to be healthier, including an evening walk and healthy meal after work, which you feel good about. When you get home, you realise you’ve received a parking ticket in the post.
This may lead to a level of resilience being gained from this experience, which can be used in the future. This will then be acknowledged, and the wise mind may count on this in the future.
Take a few moments today to think about your state of mind you and consider…
What state of mind are you in and what small action could improve it?