Greeting Tough Emotions with Curiosity

In coaching we use powerful questions to open up new avenues of thoughts that we hadn’t considered before, or even chosen to ignore. When you study it, you realize curiosity is a proven necessity for our psychological and physical development. If it weren’t for our curious minds pushing us to ask questions about the things we don’t understand, our knowledge of the world and the different subjects that interest us would not exist. The same idea goes with our curiosity of the physical world around us. If we didn’t move our bodies into exploring the elements and our potential, we would not have even breached the surface on all of the things our bodies are capable of accomplishing. This is why coaches recognize not only the benefits of asking questions but the necessity of a curious mind for personal growth.

The ability to use curiosity as a tool that teaches us about the world around us, often develops into an interest in understanding what is within us. When we ask questions to find the deeper meaning behind things, we cultivate an awareness of our own thoughts and feelings, and we begin to explore what it means to us. As we move into what are considered the “darker” months of the year, the sun starts setting earlier and the weather gets chillier, a lot of us can find ourselves experiencing tougher emotions. Whether you’re feeling restless, demotivated, tense, or simply in need of an attitude adjustment; these tough emotions can easily become overwhelming and take control of our days, weeks, or even months. Unfortunately, when we’re experiencing these emotions we typically retract from looking inside and find it easier to stay within that state of mind with habits that are not serving us in those difficult moments. At this point, I’m sure we all know where old habits and negative thought patterns will get us on the path of self-improvement, so what do we do in those instances? We recognize that we have the honor of interviewing the most interesting person we’ve ever met in our lives: our own brain.

There are so many different people and interests for us to be curious about in our lifetime that we often forget to wonder about ourselves. Why do we think the way we do? What motivates us? Where is this reaction coming from and how is it serving me? Taking a moment to ask ourselves these questions and practice mindfulness, gives us an essential awareness of how our brain functions and an opportunity to explore ways to reframe thoughts and beliefs that are no longer serving us. Meeting these tough emotions with curiosity doesn’t mean that they’ll immediately be changed and replaced with positivity, what it does is it creates a space of reflection within yourself to see what your emotions feel like to you. Practicing mindfulness in that way can give you a deeper understanding of the effects your emotions have on you and a chance to recognize what steps you need to get through your highs and lows. Whether it’s taking a moment to journal, releasing your thoughts on paper, or reaching out to someone for support, appreciating that asking for help is courageous; be curious. Next time you feel like you’re getting lost in these tough emotions, take a deep breath and check in with yourself. Take advantage of this opportunity because at the end of the day you’re the most interesting person you’ll ever know.

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