How to Change Your Emotional State in 5 Minutes

How are you feeling right NOW?

Quick…write it down, then push the note aside.



Can you remember the last time you had a really nice day out with someone? Maybe the seaside or a park or something like that?  Maybe a really special night on holiday some time? What do you remember seeing? Do you remember the colours vividly? How about the sounds? Voices? Maybe music? And what about tastes and smells?

Notice how you feel now…

As you were processing my questions, you had to dig into your memory and run the raw sensory data through the same part of your brain that processes real time sensory data – what you are experiencing now.  The effect is that you experience the memory as if it is happening now, and that impacts on your emotional state.

Being able to manage your state in a way that enables you to remain resourceful is a valuable skill to learn and master.  So for instance, if you want to increase your concentration, excitement, passion, motivation, drive or determination, you can do so instantly.

Here are 3 easy ways to take charge of your emotional state:


Change the pictures you are creating in your mind, and not just what you are picturing, but how you are picturing it.  If it’s a state you want to intensify, then make the picture bigger, brighter, and closer.  If you want to diminish the state, make the picture smaller, duller, and further away.  Change the sounds you can hear, play with the volume, making the sounds louder to intensify or quieter to diminish.  To enhance the experience, add any smells or tastes that are associated with your picture.


Move your body. Motion creates emotion. Do anything that pushes different chemicals around in your system, this could be taking the stairs instead of the lift, going for a brief, brisk walk, or something as simple as standing up and stretching. Change your posture, stand straight, breath in deep and change you facial expressions.  Even the smallest adjustments will help you manage your state.


The quality of your conversations with yourself has a huge effect on your state.  Change your internal dialogue or self-talk.  You can change the content or the language of the mental chatter in your head.  How about changing your internal critic, the one that tells you you’re not good enough? Make your inner critic talk in a funny voice, like Shrek or Donald Duck. Using any one of the above techniques will help you change your state instantly, whether you want to feel more confident or calm.  Just remember a time when you felt that way in the past, recall that picture and then change the picture by making it bigger or smaller, brighter or duller, near or far away.  Also play with the sounds, and the smells and tastes.

Question: How would you like to feel right now? Remember a time when you felt like that before…now play with the picture.  You can leave a comment below to let me know how you got on with this exercise.

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