How can you manage your emotions during your career change or job search? To answer this practical and wise question, let’s first define what emotions are. Emotions, also commonly referred to as feelings, are energy released in your body in response to perceived events, that is, to data received via your five senses.
To build your skill in managing your emotions during your current or next career transition:
1.) Practice Naming Your Emotions. There’s great power in simply naming your emotions as you experience them. Check in with yourself several times a day and name your emotions in a journal or log. Learn to identify the nuances of difference between emotions that are similar. Choose carefully how you name what you’re feeling: word choice creates reality!
2.) Allow Yourself to Feel What You Feel. Resisting emotions keeps you stuck in them. Why not do something radical like feeling them? Let the emotion wash over you and it will pass through you infinitely more gently. Feeling your feelings is always easier than resisting them, because emotions grow in proportion to our resistance to them.
3.) Express What You Feel. Unexpressed emotions are like poison trapped in the body. You don’t really want to do that to yourself, do you? Let them out! The key here is safety and appropriateness. Find ways to express your emotions that are safe and mature for you and those around you.
4.) Act on Your Emotions. Again, safety and appropriateness are key. Emotions are messengers from your internal reality prompting you to take some action. Discover what each emotion wants you to do, then do it, safely. Don’t delay, or your emotions will act on you.
5.) Journal. Journal thoughts, emotions, dreams and dialogues. Write letters you won’t send. Mine your innards to find the truth within.
6.) Exercise. Physical activity is a great stress reducer and safe way to channel your emotions into action. Whether it’s a walk or a swim, a bike ride or run, or aerobics or muscle building, it will help you constructively channel your stress into a healthy mind and body. Start slow; be consistent!
7.) Talk to a Safe Someone. Call a friend or family member; find a counselor; try a coach or spiritual director; meet with a priest, pastor or rabbi … but call someone! You don’t have to bear your burdens alone unless you choose to … and why would you choose to?
8.) Use Art to Express Yourself. Paint your panic. Draw your dreams. Write poetry to express the inexpressible within you. Both verbal and nonverbal art forms can help you release what should not be trapped within you.
9.) Use Music to Match Your Mood. You can use music to match your mood and thereby express it, or you can use music to alter your mood when it’s critical to do so. So, if you’re down and need to pump it up, try some rousing rock or Latin music. If you’re hyper and need to calm down and center, try baroque, New Age or soft jazz selections. Music can be a particularly powerful way to help yourself relax into sleep or get revved up for your day.
10.) Pray or Meditate Through Your Feelings. Both prayer and meditation are powerful ways to feel and express your emotions. Practice one or the other or both daily.