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Focus on the positive - my personal self management journey

Aktualisiert: 14. Apr. 2021

During challenging times at work, with a client, a friend, at home or all of it together; it is not always easy to actively manage your own emotions and shift the focus to the positive.

Are you curious how you can accomplish this? Then keep on reading, as you will get an intro to self management and a personal insight into my own journey.

- Nikki


What is self management?

Self management is about taking responsibility for your own feelings, thoughts, behavior and well-being. Hence, it is about how you direct and control your behavior by recognizing and responding to your emotions.

How does self management help you?

By managing your emotions it becomes possible to live the life you want. I want to make you aware that your happiness or well-being does not come from the outside. It comes from the inside! Our well-being depends on ourselves, how we feel and how we perceive certain events or situations. Therefore, self management helps you to:

  • have a healthier (working & private) life

  • take conscious reactions

  • be the one who is in charge of your well-being

How can I apply self management?

Once you’ve taken steps to improve your self-awareness (your ability to accurately identify your own emotions), you can use that awareness to influence how you respond in a given situation. Self-management helps to turn reactive instincts into intentional responses.

The Pause Button

One of the techniques that helps to recognize your own emotions is the so-called “Pause Button”. This technique is easy to apply and enormously effective.

So, how does it work?

If you are overflowed by emotions, press the pause button in your mind to stop acting and step back for a moment.

Step 1: Visualize the pause button in your mind

  • How does it look like? (Hint; print a picture of a pause button or save it on your phone/desktop)

  • How does it sound? (Like a buzzer, a waterfall …)

  • Create and watch the mental video of how you hit the pause button

For me it is the red kind of “emergency button”...

Step 2: Understand the situation and your feelings

Whenever you are in a situation where you feel emotionally overwhelmed, just do the following:

  • Watch the “video” of hitting the pause button

  • Do a deep breath and ask yourself:

    • What do I see in this situation? (Perceive)

    • What do I remember, think about it? (Interprete)

    • What do I feel, experience? (Feel)

    • What do I want, would love to do? (Intend)

    • What do I not want? (Express)

Those questions help you to make the whole process conscious and understand what you really think in this moment.

Note: Self-management is about handling emotions appropriately, not pretending they’re not there.

Tools and techniques

There are so many ways out there to improve your self management. Just give them a try and figure out what works best for you. Here are some that worked well for me:

Create appropriate emotional patterns

Emotional patterns help us to shift our focus from being angry and frustrated to being calm and relaxed. Every time you come to a point you feel sad or down - change your patterns. The PALM formula will help you.

Physical associations – in both ways; physics support emotions and vise versa; am I aware of my body posture, gesture and mimic?

Attention – “Focus goes where energy flows”; what do I focus on?

Language – What language do I use? Positive wording?

Meaning – I have given meaning to past experiences. Now I can ask myself if I can give a similar experience today another meaning

If you employ those 4 things you can shift your focus! Every time you come to a point where you feel sad or down - change your patterns as they will change your focus.

So, assuming you want to create positive patterns then ask yourself the following:

  • Physical association to happiness: How would you sit or stand? Putting your shoulders down and making yourself small or is it rather sitting straight, putting the shoulders back and having a big, beautiful smile? What are you doing with your hands? Take a moment when you feel happy and observe what you do - notice the patterns.

  • Attention: Where does your attention go when you are happy? Is it to the here and now? What memories do you recall? Or are you just happy to be here? Hit the pause button if needed.

  • Language: What language pattern do you use when you are happy? How can you keep this mode going? What are you incredibly thankful for in life? Think about 5 things e.g. every morning when I wake up I am happy because I have the opportunity to spend a wonderful day with my friends and family. Gratitude is a great place to start with happiness - feel it from the bottom of your heart.

  • Meaning: Which meaning do you give to a certain situation when you are happy? Are you thankful for it?

Regardless of how well you’re able to manage your emotions now, this is a skill that can be improved continually and you will see benefits to your mindset, behavior, ambitions and relationships.

If you are curious what helped me personally the most, then it's the physical aspect and language. By changing the way I sit or stand makes my brain understand whether I’m sad, down or happy. Always remember; Our bodies change our mind!

Another important habit is the language I am using when talking to myself. Instead of talking negatively in my mind, I try to talk like to a friend. In addition it always helps to ask oneself „Hey what can I learn out of these difficult situations?“

Another hint is; never forget to focus on the accomplishments instead of the failures! Adapt to a growth mindset, learn and focus on what you were able to achieve until today :)! Yes, even in challenging situations.

I can wholeheartedly recommend you to try it out and remember that everything starts with YOU.

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