3 Actions You Can Take Now to Shift Your Emotional State

A few weeks ago, I had to speak five times in one day. I knew it would require a lot of me mentally and emotionally. My goal is always to give 110 percent. I want nothing left on the table when I finish.

Close Up of a Hand Down Shifting a Manual Transmission - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dtimiraos, Image #4801950

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dtimiraos

But, for some reason, I woke up that morning in a funk. I don’t know why. It was one of those things I couldn’t explain. But I didn’t like it and knew I needed to get myself in a better place if I was going to deliver on my goal.

There was a time when I thought I couldn’t change my attitude. I viewed myself as the victim of mysterious forces that shaped my emotional state. It never occurred to me that I could shift it—almost instantly.

But as I have learned since, we have more control than we think. Moreover, Tony Robbins taught me how to apply this principle to my emotional state. Without question, it is the single most important life skill I have acquired.

Let me elaborate.

You can instantly shift your attitude by taking the following three actions:

  1. Shift your mental focus. This is where it starts. I can choose what I think about. For example, I can think, Argh, I have to speak five times today. Or, I can think, Wow, I get to speak five times today. This is so important, that I have literally written down a script that I recite before I speak. This is how I prime the pump:
    • I am not here by accident. God sent me. To these people. At exactly this time.
    • That’s because He has a purpose; therefore, I have a purpose in being here.
    • Through Christ, I can do all things. He has given me every resource I need to succeed.
    • I have the energy, the passion, and the message to make a huge impact—now and for eternity.
    • What I have to share today is vitally important. It matters. To them and to their loved ones.
    • Those that hear it will be changed forever. Years from now, they will look back on today and say, “It started here.”
    • By God’s grace, I am prepared. I am strong. I am energetic. I am outstanding. My heart is wide open. I will connect and make a difference!
  2. Change your posture. Do you know that every emotion has physical attributes? For example, if I say to you, “act like you are depressed,” you would likely slump your shoulders, tilt your head down, and rub your face. You would frown and your breathing might slow down.

    If I say to you, “act like you won the lottery,” you would likely jump up and down, thrust your arms up into the air, and scream with joy. You would smile and your breathing might speed up.

    Does the emotion cause the action or does the action cause the emotion? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you smile, for example, and hold it for several seconds, it will change your biochemistry.

    In an article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a team of psychologists at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, showed that simply having people put their facial muscles in a configuration typical of a given emotion produced the feeling that the expressions represent. (See this article in the New York Times and this one in Scientific American.)

  3. Watch your language. Our words are more important than we think. They reflect our thinking. But they sometimes influence our thinking as well.

    Words have tremendous power. King Solomon reminds us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit (Proverbs 18:21).

    But rarely do we apply these words to the language we use in talking to ourselves. For example, you ask someone, “How are you doing?” They respond, “Well, I’m surviving.” Strangely, those words shape their reality—or at least their perception of it. They end up barely getting by.

    Conversely, I have another friend who always replies, “Outstanding!” This too shapes his reality. He always seems to be doing well. I know he has challenges, but his words empower him and give him the resources he needs to overcome them.

Honestly, this formula works for me every time—almost like a recipe. If I am deliberate about taking these three actions, my emotional state shifts.

The good news is that this puts me—and you—in control. And often this spells the difference between success and failure.

Have your doubts? Take the seven day challenge. Try this for seven days and see if it doesn’t make a difference. Report back with your results. I’d love to hear.

Question: What would being able to shift your emotional state at will make possible for you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Diane Bryant

    I am really going to focus on not saying or thinking, “I can’t because…”  and   “I don’t have…”.  I am not going to limit what God can do in my life with my words.  Why because I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.  If I don’t think about I won’t say it!


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  • http://ThisMomsDelight.com Tami @ ThisMomsDelight.com

    My emotional state is negative and in discouragement mode.  I know that’s not where God wants me.  I need to change the things you’ve suggested.  Sounds like it’d help.

  • Pingback: 3 Actions You Can Take Now to Shift Your Emotional State | Michael Hyatt shared by Michelle « iwokeupyesterday

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  • Pam

    I love what you’ve said here. Very powerful stuff! Thank you. I’ve been experimenting with the power of a smile to change our lives in significant ways, so I’m sharing here two recent posts from my blog about “choosing” to smile…I hope they are a blessing.

    Secret Sleep Aid. Found here:

    World’s Cheapest Facelift. Found here:

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I can’t wait to read these articles. Thanks for sharing these resources.

  • Joann ♥

    inner peace :)

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  • Tinaleeluvsmusic

    It would help me reach my daily goals, improve leadership, & improve relationships.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AbundantMichael Michael Smith

    Focus, posture and language – what great ways to change how I feel. I also find taking action (any action however small) can help. Even taking a walk can help. I think it is both the forward movement and the fresh air and breathing. Meditating has also helped me change even the most depressed emotions, letting light into them so that they can disolve.  Finally I have found EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) has helped me both shift stuck emotions and old patterns like phobias.

    Emotion is just “energy in motion” and if we can let those emotions shift they will change as easily as water flowing in a stream.

  • 1955klaudia

    I notice I have become tired and somewhat disappointed in my life – as if I have failed at realizing my purpose for my life. Or maybe, I have just failed in what I feel is my purpose. I have been a single mother for most of my adult life, my children I love with all my heart. I have a job sufficient for our life, I feel God has watched over us in all ways, large and small. I guess I feel I’ve become disappointing and annoying. I used to be more patient, but now I feel overwhelmed. I have been seeing someone for eight years that I knew years ago. When he makes remarks at times I feel he is minimizing my efforts or mocking me in subtle ways. Sadly, I feel I can do no better than this, which solidifies my feelings of under-achievement. Even in love. Many times I do feel we will be together for ever, but then I feel buffeted with coarse sexual remarks which are his overtures/ complaints about not enough sex. So this is one reason I don’t feel the spiritual/sexual connection. I feel I deserve less, because I see myself this way – a way childhood forged on my brain, parentaly. I love Jesus, I pray for others and everything. I love people, but I am a bit impatient with those who may be offensive or rude with me. In other words, my feelings get hurt. I don’t understand meanness. I really feel hurts. Any comment would be appreciated.

  • Zandra

    Everytime it’s a battle. The worst opposing force is ourselves. The ones who are winning are those who didnt just overcome themselves, they are those who have put themselves in subject to commitment, discipline and purpose. Turning your emotions at will makes us in charge of ourselves, this put us in the best disposition that we are created to be; stewards, overcomers, lover of good, lover of people, sincere, love by God, beautful, respectable and more than capable in our call and mandate.

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  • Lyn

    Great post, Michael! Just because we feel bad doesn’t mean that we need to obey those feelings! God is greater than our feelings! Thank you for the encouragement!