Whether it’s the winter blues (or Valentine’s Day syndrome, as we’ll call it), this time of year can have even the peppiest among us feeling like an emotional wreck. Throw in the dark, short days, billowing blizzards, sunshine deprivation and hormones at that time of the month and, well, we’re practically buying stock in Kelly Cutrone’s If You Have To Cry Go Outside. Thankfully, Lynn Zavaro, author of The Game Of You (an interactive book and game designed to help you experience inner-balance mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically), is here to help with her 5 loving tools to use when the pressure is on and your feelings get the best of you.

The Quick Roll. First thing to do when the waterworks hit is to make your eyes as big as you can and roll them once to the left in an exaggerated full circle and once to the right in an exaggerated full circle (Or vice versa, it doesn’t matter which, just roll…) This cuts off the flow to the tear ducks and stops the tears immediately. Next time you start to cry in a place you would rather not to, do The Quick Roll. Rest easy. It’s over for now.

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Toss The Bottle. If overcoming anxiety or panic hits, grab the nearest bottle that has liquid in it. Toss it mindfully into the air from one hand to the other, focusing your attention on the bottle not your hands. This is a great trick to snap your brain synapses back into alignment. No worries – you will contact calm and feel back on track again.

Accept feelings. The biggest mistake we can make when our feelings arise is we judge them or make them wrong. We believe they should or should not be felt in a certain way. But, we are human and feelings exist whether we want them to or not. By accepting feelings with gentleness and an open heart, we give permission to be however we are in the moment. We understand all feelings come and go. Now we can return to the task at hand.

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Know Your Values. When you know and trust your values, these values become more important than your feelings. You have a clearer sense of who you are and how you want to present yourself in the world. Know your top 3 values and keep them forefront in your mind. That way, when emotions strike, you can override them with the awareness of what’s most important to you in your life. For example, if one of your values is professionalism in the workplace then, empower yourself with that value before you walk into that meeting.

Allow Time And Space. Let the story connected to whatever triggered the feelings go for now. You do not need to know why you are feeling what you are feeling, try to figure it out, make sense of it, or come to any immediate conclusions. When out of balance, it’s not the time to resolve the fight you just had with your boyfriend, talk your frustrations out with a co-worker, or leave long messages to your best friend – it only feeds the emotion. Address it later at an appropriate time when it can be handled more efficiently. Just put what it all means aside for now in order to re-focus again.

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