There are a lot of tips for staying emotionally balanced and I would love to offer them to you!
However, sometimes by giving a lot of tips I run the risk of having the most needed information glossed over by my overwhelmed reader. So instead I will share what I see as the most un-thought about, un-talked about, notable aspect to swinging in and out of balance: Transitions!
All emotionally reactive people have transition issues when dealing with unexpected (and expected) circumstances. This leads to an unnecessary rise in stress levels. I can illustrate this with a traffic example:
People often get into traffic at the end of a long day. They are tired and say to themselves “I can’t wait to get home.” to have some form of enjoyment. So they verbally reinforce and fall into their exhaustion. Then they try to rest while driving. However driving requires alertness and mental flexibility so these different needs clash and cause outbursts. This is easily corrected by learning to transition correctly. Instead of decompressing in the car and waiting till you get home to have fun, activate your neurons (which keeps you alert and mentally flexible) by letting the fun begin in the car. Instead of dropping out of balance slide into the next emotional/energy state with intention. By bee-bopping to some tunes while appreciating the alone time it becomes easy to move from stress to comfort, even if traffic stops you from moving forward in the car.
So, to be clear, try getting in the car and thinking: “Okay, now the fun begins! I’m going to put that plot driven novel I’m listening to on!”
Too many people think the way to calm themselves is with calming music. If you are tired and this refreshes you, great. But most people slump into a meditative state while driving when they do this and they then become more inclined to scream at cars for interrupting their reverie. If you are a screamer and you are tired, it is better to go for the noisy expressions of joy in order to transition from work to home. Thus for the stressed out driver a favorite rock music station is often the more calming choice.
The point is to understand that you are transitioning, that moving from environment A to environment B has an effect on you. So take control of the situation and discover a way to do it comfortably, safely, joyfully. For clarity lets look at this in reverse. Perhaps you are just arriving for your work day. Perhaps you usually love your job but on some days you look around for a problem. On this day you are probably tired or otherwise stressed at home. On these days it is common for you to pull into the parking lot at work and see the car of someone you don’t like working with. Immediately you self talk and create an emotional reaction. This is a form of transitioning sluggishly. You can choose to feel stress and annoyance about having to deal, yet again, with “Bob,” or you can transition into the mentally stimulating work mode brain state right there in the parking lot. Pull out a phone or computer and check email, write a memo, get transitioned into something you find interesting so that now the brain is thinking about work (instead of “Bob”).
Today brains are overwhelmed by multitasking so they are exhausted. Transitioning for a tired brain is harder, leading to reactive emotions and a less balanced brain. So it is harder now than in the past to remain flexible and calm, unless you use tools and tricks to help make transitions easy and fun.
Of course, there is always also this breathing technique: Breathe from the tummy, hold for eight seconds, and exhale. It slows down the heart and re-balances you but for some people even deep breathing is counter to their need for stimulation. Get to know yourself. Be a self student with the plan to be happy, everywhere.