Is Your Iceberg Holding You Down?

Updated: May 9, 2021

Do you ever have a situation where an emotion comes out of the blue and you wonder where it came from?

These emotions come from your iceberg. It is a concept I read from the book Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles by Dr. Karen Reivich PhD. and Dr. Andrew Shatte PhD.

The theory behind this concept is that your beliefs are just under the surface of your thinking. In most cases, these icebergs are biased and can distort what is going on during situations. These icebergs can hold you back from changing your behavior or an emotion that is not serving you as it did in the past.

Some of our feelings had served us by protecting us from someone who had hurt us, such as through verbal abuse or control tactics.

The authors of Resilience Factor state, “Mastering the skill of detecting icebergs is an important step in increasing your emotion regulation, empathy…”

It is essential to learn to regulate our emotions. The methods I use are from HeartMath.

Heart Focus Breathing is the primary method of HeartMath, which is easy to learn and practice. People will not even know you are using Heart Focus Breathing.

Step 1. Focus on breathing in and out of your heart. Putting your hand on your heart helps keep the focus. Breathe in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds or whatever time amount is comfortable for you. You can increase or decrease your breath intake.

A second method is called Quick Coherence, which I use with my mediation in the morning. I find this method to be very helpful throughout the day when my emotion regulation is needed. It can also help with getting your day started on good footing. Here are the steps to using Quick Coherence:

Step 1. Start with Heart Focus Breathing, focus on breathing in and out of your heart for 5 breaths in and 5 breaths out. Do this for about 30 seconds.

Step 2. Now switch to breathing in and out a positive emotion, such as compassion, love, ease, or whatever emotion comes to you for 5 seconds.

As we know, it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. It is best to do Heart Focus Breathing and/or Quick Coherence at least once a day. I use Heart Focus Breathing and Quick Coherence in my meditation every morning.

Our emotions may propel us into judging, blaming, venting, or repress our feelings inappropriately at times, or our heart may say, “Let it go” or “No big deal.”

What is a hinge point? It is at the point of either going to the head or the heart to maintain your emotions.

When you are going to the head, your head may say fight, and your heart may say flee. A hinge point is critical for a person to be able to manage their coherence.

You may be asking yourself, “Am I going to react or not?” If you react, it will drain more of your energy, making you less coherent at the hinge point. This is why it is crucial for an individual to use the HeartMath methods.

At this time, you can go to your heart intelligence, which involves your heart core values such as appreciation, care, love, and compassion. By going to your heart intelligence, you are emotionally responsible, making a bad situation better.

So, when your iceberg feelings surface is your hinge point going to the head or heart? If you choose the heart, use Heart Focus Breathing and Quick Coherence.

Using Heart Focus Breathing and Quick Coherence daily during your meditation will help you start your day on the right track. If you do it at night when you go to bed, it will help you have quality sleep.

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