The global pandemic bombarded the fitness industry with bad news after bad news. It is expected that your brain gets in what I call prefrontal cortex overload. Fear is taking over. How are you supposed to motivate and inspire others when you personally feel stuck? Do you feel like powerful emotions are having the best of you? Do you feel overwhelmed sometimes or angry, sad, afraid? Your clients look up to you for motivation and inspiration. You practically have written the book on confidence. So why is it that these emotions seem to have the upper hand? Why do they linger and keep us stuck?
HOW LONG SHOULD A POWERFUL EMOTION LAST?
The full course of a powerful emotion is between 30 and 90 seconds. When you experience fear, or any other powerful emotion, you go through one loop and then you exit the loop so that you can move on with your life. The unconscious mind comes to the rescue. It removes the emotion from your prefrontal cortex and moves it at the back of your brain. You have surely witnessed that with children. They’re super happy. A second later, they are going through a full temper tantrum. A moment later, then they’re happy again. Emotions should not last for more than 30 to 90 seconds. So why do people get stuck for months at a time in an emotion cycle? Why are we still upset at the guy that cut us off on the highway, three hours after we arrived at work? Why do we maintain our state of negative emotion and don’t exit the loop like we used to do when we were children?
HERE IS HOW FEAR AND OTHER POWERFUL EMOTIONS ARE GENERATED INSIDE YOUR BRAIN.
The prefrontal cortex of your brain creates all emotions equally. The brain does not know the difference between overwhelm and excited. If you decide that the emotion you are feeling is anxiety, your brain will send 1400 chemicals (including cortisol) in your body to pollute it, to slow you down, which will make you feel deprived of energy. However, if you decide that it’s excitement, then your brain will send very different type of chemical in your bloodstream. Dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin or serotonin are feel-good chemicals that will be released in your bloodstream when experiencing a positive emotion. The specific type of chemical released will depend on multiple factors, i.e. if there’s people around you, if you’re moving or not, etc.
SO HOW DO WE “DECIDE” THAT WHAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING IS A POSITIVE EMOTION?
I like to explain how powerful emotions work with using the analogy of a delivery truck. When a powerful emotion enters your prefrontal cortex, it’s like you have a delivery truck in your driveway bringing you a package. The only thing the delivery guy wants to do is for you to open the door of your house so that he can give you the package and be on his way. The “package” represents a positive learning. Something that will make you grow. This parcel is like a gift that you should be excited to receive. Unfortunately, we are usually not very welcoming when it comes to powerful emotions like anger, fear, hurt, etc. Instead of opening the door to receive our gift, we ignore it. We are sometimes in front of co-workers or clients, so we keep on smiling and we pretend the truck isn’t there. We get home and the kids ask us: “Are you okay mommy?” and we answer: “Yes, mommy is fine!” with a huge pretend-smile. By not letting the delivery guy in, we postpone the delivery.
Unlike real life, the truck doesn’t leave the driveway. It stays there and idles until we open the door. Fear stays in the pre-frontal cortex. We keep going through life and The Show Must Go On, right? Sometimes, another truck drives in with another package that we ignore again. We don’t have time for these deliveries. Soon, our whole driveway is blocked with trucks and we feel stuck. We can no longer walk around them. There are too many trucks, too many unopened packages.
It seems that the pandemic has brought us many gifts. Many unexpected packages. There may still be many trucks waiting for us to accept to open the door and discover our positive learning.
If you feel there are a few delivery trucks in your driveway, get excited instead of overwhelm: “Oh, I’m receiving a parcel.” Enter your 30-second loop and go from “Oh no, what’s happening? I am uncomfortable!” to immediately remembering the delivery truck and repeat to yourself: “Okay, if I am feeling this way, it must be that I am receiving a gift. This is awesome. I’m going to grow.” Who doesn’t like gifts? Right? Ask yourself: “What is it that I’m going to learn? How will that make me grow? What am I going to become better at? What could be the silver lining?”
Remember that in order for the delivery truck to leave your driveway, you need to open the door and open the parcel. Receive the package. Take a moment to sit back and breathe and be excited about what you will learn.
You can now go through your life with more confidence because you know how emotions work and you know out to get out of the emotional loop whenever you feel stuck. Find the positive learning and the truck will leave your driveway.
Understanding powerful emotions is one of the 15 keys to finding confidence that I present in the course THINK Yourself® CONFIDENT. If you want to learn more about confidence, check out the course here: www.thinkyourself.com/canfitpro
canfitpro members get 50% off THINK Yourself® ACADEMY online courses.