Your brain is continually changing and when you’re young this can be a drain, especially when hormones are high and your emotions feel out of control! This can make it difficult for you to concentrate on important things, such as learning.
What if you could train your brain to make everything easier?
If you follow these simple steps you’ll feel more in control of your emotions; making it easier to balance them alongside day-to-day activities.
Have a ‘growth mindset’
Writer and psychologist Dr Carol Dweck researched into this theory and she suggests that we have both ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindsets. A growth mindset allows us to think positively; believes you can achieve whatever you want to achieve and provides us with the most success. A fixed mindset believes that if you don’t achieve something first time, then you should walk away because you obviously don’t have the skillset to complete the task, resulting in higher rates of failure.
The general idea is that you need to believe in yourself and your abilities. Keep trying and think positively in order to be successful. Keep your mind open to new ideas, challenges and get involved in things outside of your comfort zone!
Understand your brain
The opposite of being calm is known as the state of ‘fight or flight.’ This reaction occurs when you determine something or someone is a threat; your brain produces hormones that prepare your body to take action. This might include feeling sweaty, shaky, hot, having impaired vision and feeling like your emotions are out of control.
In these situations, it’s likely that you’ll do something out of character and these outbursts must be controlled in work and school environments.
Label your emotions
When these overwhelming emotions begin you should attempt to label them, for example, ‘I’m feeling angry’ or I’m feeling anxious.’ The idea is that if you understand the emotion you’re feeling you can reduce and control it. By reducing the emotion at the time you can calm your brain down and begin to think rationally again.
Slow your breathing
Once you’ve interrupted your brain’s emotional loop you can interrupt the body by consciously slowing your breathing and counting from 1 to 10 as you inhale and exhale. Deep breathing will help circulate more oxygen to your lungs and bloodstream – creating the opposite bodily reaction to a fight or flight situation.
Relabel your emotions
Write down the emotions you labelled in stage two and give them new labels – ones that are positive, not negative.
Turn fear into anticipation and frustration to desire. That way, when you next experience them your brain recognises the situation and becomes observant as opposed to defensive.
Being able to train your brain to control your emotions will benefit you both at home, in study and at work. You’ll be able to deal with situations in a calmer manner; enabling you to move on from negative situations quickly. Having a calm state of mind is also good for your mental health and wellbeing!