Navigating emotions – The Emotional River

Swimming underwater

In water, if you stay still and do nothing. You drown. Inside water is the only place where you have to be intentional.

Emotions are sometimes like water, where they can envelop and support or overwhelm and drown you. Also, like in water, learning how to swim, breath, and move through the myriad of emotions can save from being overwhelmed. Inside of water one does not have the option to “do nothing” and coast. Inevitably, such an individual will drown.

Some people speak of “drowning in their emotions”, they are in a rush of emotions that is greater than what they can handle. These individuals are unskilled in understanding and acting off of the signals that their emotions have given. That’s where Navigate Emotions comes in, it is assessing, harnessing and transforming emotions as a strategic resource.

To some people, navigating their emotions involves suppressing/ignoring their emotions or paying too much attention to them, always acting based on how they feel and nothing else. These two extremes are problematic because it doesn’t allow the individual to take advantage of all the information and make the best decisions.

In water, if you stay still and do nothing. You drown. Inside water is the only place where you have to be intentional.


Navigation Practice

Man on a map


Practicing to navigate your emotions isn’t rocket science. All it requires is you, a calm environment and maybe a piece of paper. Try the Body-Mind-Heart (BMH) scan developed by 6 Seconds. Ask yourself

  • What am I experiencing physically? (eg smile, sweaty, frown, muscles tight or relaxed)
  • What kind of thinking am I doing? (eg focused, distracted, evaluating, observing)
  • What kind of feelings am I having? (eg calm, agitated, worried, joyful, bored, excited)

As you practice, you will become more skilled at noticing feelings even when they are small or subtle (and before they turn into something fierce and loud).

Use these emotions as insights and also fuel to propel you in the right directions. When applied with emotional literacy and empathy, you are no longer prone to “drowning” or being overwhelmed by their emotions but can masterfully navigate through those feelings, almost like a fish through water.

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