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How to Change Your Emotional State

Last Updated Dec 2, 2007 1:53 PM EST

Change Your Emotional StateYesterday, I pointed out that in order to manage your emotional state (so that you can sell consistently at the highest level) you must learn to master your physiology and your focus. First, some observations:
  1. Your physiology is in a feedback loop with your emotions. For example, if you are depressed, your body will consistently slump and slouch, which will influence your body to become more depressed. Feedback loops get more intense if not interrupted so, over time, that feedback loop may eventually result in a physical illness. (And that, in turn, gives you another excuse to be depressed, etc.) Conversely, if you are in great physical condition, it's easier to have a positive outlook.
  2. Your focus is also in a feedback loop with your emotions. If you start the day in a bad mood or negative emotional state, you'll tend to ignore things that could put you in a better mood (like your favorite song playing on your car radio) and instead focus on things that make you angry (like that jerk who just cut you off at the highway exit.) If not interrupted, such a feedback loop over time can turn somebody into an angry, hateful person. Conversely, people who constantly focus on the more positive aspects of life are usually pretty happy.
  3. Your physiology is in a feedback loop with your focus. It's much more difficult to focus on positive things when your body feels lousy. Conversely, it's much easier to feel "great" physically if you're constantly focusing on things that make you feel lighthearted and happy.
  4. Feedback loops reinforce themselves. Feedback loops are a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg" thing. One element of the loop isn't the "cause" and the other the "result." Instead, each element of the loop is constantly generating and expanding the other.
  5. Feedback loops grow stronger, long term. As you continue to focus on the positive (or the negative) it becomes constantly easier to feel healthy and happy (or unhealthy and miserable). If you continually abuse your body, you'll find it increasingly difficult to maintain a positive focus, for instance. Similarly, people who work out regularly, find it relatively easy to get motivated (emotion) to actually do the work out.
  6. Feedback loops are reversible, short-term. It's easy to temporarily interrupt a feedback loop and get it spinning in the opposite direction. For example, even depressed people will laugh at a comedian and temporarily feel better. Similarly, even the most sunny personality will feel sour for a while on receiving bad news. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on whether you're sunny or depressive), the loop will eventually return to its original direction, absent further action.
With all that in mind, the key to improving your emotional state is simultaneously changing your physiology and your focus. Short term, such changes interrupt the dominant feedback loop and get it spinning a more advantageous direction. Long term, such changes create a feedback loop that will make it almost effortless for you to stay in an emotional state that allows you to sell at the highest level.

In a future post, I'll provide a simple guide to changing your physiology.