One of the basic rules of mental health is to inhabit and be yourself in positive emotional spaces. These are places where the main rule is to “live and let live.” They are environments where you can feel free and grow, but are also tied to something or someone. We should all have a favorite place, an enriching space where we can flourish and grow emotionally.
The subject of emotional spaces isn’t new. Nevertheless, most of the documentation and bibliography nearly always discusses them in a work context. In fact, we are all well aware that the day-to-day emotional ambiance of the workplace affects us more than most other places. You can’t always find what you need at work to feel comfortable and relate well to others. And that makes it hard to give your best to the organization.
“It is not down on any map; true places never are.”
However, the interesting subject of emotional spaces goes beyond the context of work. To begin with, there is something basic that we shouldn´t forget – from the moment that one or more people inhabit a space, they create a certain ambiance. All of us let off emotional emissions. These join the emotions that the other inhabitants release, and make up an enriching, hostile, or neutral atmosphere.
Some psychologists say that it often only takes about five minutes to capture the emotional climate of a home and a family. This is enough to read the expressions, tone of voice, and communication style. With this information, an observer can deduce quite a lot.
What’s more, real estate agents say that potential buyers know within 30 seconds of entering a house if they like it or not. That’s because sometimes, even though there are no people around, our brains pick up on very subjective emotional stimulants. Lighting, colors and other details take on emotional value based on our experiences and personality.
As you can see, this is a subject as comprehensive as it is interesting.
Emotional spaces – places where the heart resides
Herman Melville said that the most beautiful places don’t appear on the map. Two people who love each other in a mature way build the most beautiful spaces between them. They knock down their own walls to open up to the other person. In their garden, they plant respect and harvest satisfaction. Each person invests in their own happiness because they know that their internal well-being will benefit their loved one.
You might not think so, but positive and quality emotional spaces aren’t easy to build. One mistake that often leads to failure is believing that all meaningful and happy atmospheres are made by making other people happy. If you believe this, you might end up being complacent and submissive at work, for example. You will lack the initiative to propose and create positive changes in your workplace.
Meanwhile, at a relationship or family level, you turn into the person who prioritizes everyone else’s emotions over yours. Eventually, that will cause an atmosphere of pent-up frustration and bitter dissatisfaction. What we want to make clear with these examples is that positive emotional spaces require investment in yourself first. Take some time to reflect on this.
Human nature, along with emotional maturity and assertiveness, limits the formation of toxic atmospheres.
“It is important to remember that all negative emotional climates are battlegrounds where prejudice, ego, absolute judgments, individualism, the devil of haste, offenses, and (the worst of all of them) fear, fight it out.Share
If you already have all of these traits inside of you, they will condition your behavior and, consequently, your emotional climate. It’s important to understand that all enriching emotional atmospheres depend on the psychological profile of their inhabitants.
How to create emotionally generous, positive, and strong spaces
Your everyday emotional spaces should be your favorite places. Those places where you can always be yourself. Where you know that your ideas, values, and feelings are respected. These are bounded spaces where your relationships don’t feel like chains or shackles. Instead, they are like warm winds that fill your sails with hope and make you feel free and full of possibility.
“Emotions are contagious. We’ve all known it experientially. You know after you have a really fun coffee with a friend, you feel good. When you have a rude clerk in a store, you walk away feeling bad.”
It’s not enough for people to love you, they have to love you well. To create generous and positive emotional spaces, we recommend you use these simple strategies. Let’s take a look at each of them.
Four strategies to create a generous emotional atmosphere
More than focusing on the emotional state of those around you, start with yourself. What affects emotional spaces the most is personal frustration, irritability, or defensiveness. Take a good look at your own feelings and learn to manage them before taking out your anger, anxiety, or deficiencies on other people.
- Positive reinforcement. Experts in emotional spaces tell us that on average, humans can tolerate one negative comment per day (like a reproach, criticism, or warning) as long as we get 4 positive comments. At the same time, too much positivity can feel fake or artificial.
- Constant, sincere, and assertive communication. In addition to positive reinforcement and emotional encouragement, a quality emotional environment requires constant dialogue. All parties should engage in active listening and practice empathy and assertiveness.
- Facilitate proper connection. In a work environment, it’s easy to get along well with a lot of people. However, an authentic environment (at work and at home) is when you feel that you can “connect” with others. This is something that transcends simple courtesy or even language. It is called mutual understanding.
Last but certainly not least, an essential strategy to nurture any emotional space is to know how to pay attention to the details. Watch out for these everyday subtleties. If you observe carefully, you will notice this consideration, gratitude, and phrases like “thanks for being here,” “what would I do without you,” or “my favorite place is with you.”
Consider these things every day to create much happier surroundings for yourself and others.