3 Steps to Change Your Emotional State


“Yes! I will rock it!“

This powerful statement and the posture in the picture shows that I am highly confident and excited. But it does not only influence your perception of my emotional state, it also impacts how I feel inside.

During my studies, I had an experience that taught me how to influence my emotional state.

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I did my thesis in architecture, and only had one month left before I had to submit my project. I was a perfectionist and didn’t want to settle with anything less.

My high standards and the limited time available overwhelmed me. I sat on the floor in my apartment, my head down, and repeatedly asked myself why it is so difficult for me when it seems to be so easy for others.

Finally, I made an appointment with my professor to ask permission to change the due date, which wasn’t possible. I had two choices:

  1. Finish the project within one month
  2. Give up and start a new project next term

Fortunately, I had a great professor, who turned out being an excellent coach

Emotional state changing experience

During our appointment, my professor invited me to affix all my drawings to the wall to present my project. After explaining my architectural idea, he asked me to talk about what I wanted to achieve with my concept and why I chose it. I gave him all my reasons. The last two questions he asked were: “How are you feeling about your project?” and “Is it worth finishing it?”

Suddenly, I was highly encouraged; I was convinced that I could get it done in time.

So, what did my professor do?

He used three simple steps to change my emotional state.

Change of physiology

By inviting me to present my project, my professor forced me to stand up and get in front of the drawings. I had already learned to stand up straight, make eye contact, and smile in order to present something effectively. I applied these techniques subconsciously, while presenting my project.

This results in a powerful change of physiology.

  • Physiology 1: Sitting at home on the floor while hiding my face in my hands.
  • Physiology 2: Standing straight, head up, and smiling.

The way we move our bodies affects our feelings tremendously. For example, standing up straight, with our shoulders back, helps us feel confident within a second and smiling creates instant happiness.

Let’s do an experiment to show you the difference.

Put a big grin on your face. Now, try to be sad. No, don’t take off your smile. Keep it! Smile and try to be sad simultaneously. Does it work? I am not sure about you, but I couldn’t do it.

Everything we do with our body powerfully influences our emotional states.

Use your body effectively to create positive emotional states as often as possible.

Change of focus

The question, ‘Why did you choose this project?’ allowed me think about all aspects of why I chose this concept. Eventually, I came up with reasons like:

  • I want to enhance the quality of the environment.
  • To intensify the visual experience of the people who pass the building.
  • I want to create a building that the inhabitants of the will enjoy and use.
  • To establish a vibrant and enjoyable place for the city.

The question completely changed my focus.

  • Focus 1: The tasks – What needs to be done by the due date?
  • Focus 2: The exciting purpose – What are my reasons for this project? Why do I want to do it?

Whatever we focus on influences our experience and emotional state. Focus on the good and exciting things and you will feel incredible.

You can direct your focus by asking yourself effective questions, like the question my professor proposed.

Change of language

“Is it worth finishing the project?”

Having all the reasons from the last question in my head, there was only one possible answer.

“Yes, of course!”

While answering this question, I used completely different words than I had in my apartment. It changed my language and how I felt about my project.

  • Language 1: It is so difficult. I can’t get it done.
  • Language 2: I’ve designed an incredibly enjoyable environment for people. I am in charge, and can do whatever it takes to refine my concept and finish this project to the best of my ability. YES! I will rock it!

The words we use can be boring, daunting, or encouraging. They affect our emotional state.

It is a huge difference in saying:

  1. I can’t do it.
  2. I can do whatever it takes to succeed!

Which words give you faith and motivate you to take massive action?

Take action on influencing your emotional state

You’ve learned that three simple distinctions can change your emotional state within seconds.

  1. Physiology/Posture
  2. Focus
  3. Language/Words

Which benefits do you have when applying these distinctions?

You enhance the quality of your life by working to get into a positive emotional state, so you can enjoy each and every moment. That means you want to apply the three steps whenever you are in negative states.

Example: If you are frustrated

  1. Change your physiology: Relax your muscles and shake your body. Turn your voice down and smile.
  2. Change your focus: What is good about the situation? Can I learn something? Will I laugh about what happened in a year? Could I laugh about it right now?
  3. Change your words: “This moment is inspiring. It gives me the chance to grow and learn an important lesson for my future.”

How would your day be different if you controlled your emotional state moment after moment? How would your life be different when you give yourself the pleasure of it every day? Leave a comment below.