In this article, self management will be investigated as a powerful tool to understand internal emotional triggers, their causes, and how to control them effectively. Having proper self management will benefit every single aspect of your life. Every. Single. Aspect.
Moving from self awareness to self management requires that you take responsibility for your emotions. Whenever you are provoked by certain triggers, you will be able to regulate your internal world (thoughts and emotions). Effective self-management will also transform your external world accordingly.
Self management is the ability to choose how you think, feel, and act.
Qualities That Define Self-Management
Having Emotional Self-Control
Having emotional self-control is having the ability to hold back impulses and wait until you’ve processed your emotions. Then, to respond from a place of reason, in a calm manner.
The ability to consciously regulate your behavior for the sake of self-improvement.
Taking initiative toward being self-motivated — to keep moving toward your goals with creative inspiration, and take action when necessary.
Being Trustworthy and Genuine
Being completely honest (especially with yourself), realistic, and transparent about where you are, your progress, and where you’d like to be.
Being Adaptable and Flexible
Being aware in the present moment, and adapting to new situations as they arise. Being resilient, meaning that you are able to “snap-back” and recover from any downfalls.
Holding a positive outlook for the future, seeing new opportunities, and recognizing the good in other people.
Factors of Self Management to be Conscious of
In Latin, the word emotion means to move. The ancients believed that emotions move behavior. In modern times, however, scholars say emotions motivate behavior.
Emotions spur actions by sending chemical signals to your brain. This is an evolutionary response to influence behavior is, biologically, to help increase your chances of survival. However, in this day and age, we aren’t under many life-threatening stresses — we struggle because we still think that being stuck in traffic will kill us. For that, this biological response is much less helpful now.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, all emotions have one of three motivations:
When you want to experience more, discover more, learn more, or appreciate more, you increase the value of your attention. Approach emotions include: interest, enjoyment, compassion, trust, and love. Approach behaviors are: learning, encouraging, relating, negotiating, cooperating, pleasing, delighting, influencing, guiding, setting limits, and protecting.
When you want to get away from something, you belittle the value of your attention. Avoid behaviors include: ignoring, rejecting, withdrawing, looking down on, and dismissing.
When you perceive a threat that can be controlled. Attack emotions are: anger, hatred, contempt, and disgust. Attack behaviors are demanding, manipulating, dominating, coercing, threatening, bullying, and abusing.
Feelings are similar to emotions; they are complex, ever-changing, and subject to moods, sensations (warmth, cold, pleasure, pain), and physiological states (ie hunger and tiredness).
Consistent self management requires focusing on your core values, rather than feelings. Violation of values produces bad feelings. On the other hand, being faithful to your values will eventually make you feel more authentic and empowered.
Regulating Your Negative Reactions
Make time to think about various situations and the emotions they trigger. Also, list all the things that cause an impulsive emotional reaction inside of you — the things that sometimes make you want to just ‘lose it.’ Then, think of ways you could change the way you would normally react. Write down a strategy for each situation to prevent losing your self-control in future.
Plant new thoughts. When you’ve identified emotions and reactions that are not useful, replace them with new ones that are more positive, and practice putting these into action. With enough awareness and motivation, these new thoughts will become a habit.
Your Body Language
Nonverbal communication can communicate the way you feel far more powerfully than the words you use. Research has found the right nonverbal cues help you portray higher levels of power, charisma, and intelligence.
Learn everything about body language and how to use it in all situations so that what you say is congruent with your body language. This is an extremely important aspect of your communication with others.
How You Manage Stress
Managing stress is an important aspect of self management. Too much stress can have a negative influence and can result in depression and health problems.
To manage stress you can:
- Do breathing exercises
- Eat nutritionally rich foods
- Use self hypnosis and affirmations to keep calm
- Exercise regularly
- Sleep eight hours a night
- Make time for family, fun, and laughter
- Spend time on your own
How You Set Goals
Goals allow you to see your progress. It enhances motivation, provides structure, focuses attention, and improves performance.
There are three critical elements of goals setting:
Goals should be well defined with clear standards.
How challenging the goal is for you. Goals that can be achieved with little or no effort will not increase your motivation. Setting goals that are too difficult will be overwhelming. Find the sweet spot.
Goals that can be completed in the near future. Proximal goals produce greater performance because they are more immediately attainable. Distant goals should be broken down into to smaller goals to reach the long-term goal.
Before setting your goals, however, it is recommended that you watch this eye-opening video, by the brilliant Vishen Lakhiani, on how to set proper goals for yourself:
How You Are Reinforcing Yourself
Self-reinforcement occurs when you choose a reinforcer when criterion for performance is reached. There are four steps involved in self-reinforcement:
1.) Setting benchmarks
Understanding when you have met the requirements necessary to be able to self-reinforce. For example, you may set a goal of writing two pages of a book. When the two pages are written, reward yourself with something fun.
2.) Selecting a reinforcer and controlling access to that reward
Make the reward only attainable after reaching the performance target.
3.) Performance evaluation
Determine whether the criterion was met measuring performance against benchmarks.
4.) Self-administration of the reward
Happily give yourself the reward (the reinforcer).
Your Level of Response-ability
This is your ability to respond to a situation. Notice how it similar the word responsibility? You are an autonomous (self-ruling) being. The more conscious you are of your autonomy, the more unconditioned your responses will be.
Know the difference between responding (taking responsibility) and re-acting (simply re-acting the situation).
As long as you are alive and conscious, you can respond to your circumstances in any way you choose. This power to respond is a defining feature of humanity and a direct expression of your rationality, your will, and your freedom.
Forming new habits, really, just takes attention and focus. Do you have any tips on self-management you’d like to share with us? Please do so in the comment section below!