People often ask about navigating emotionally from one Zone to the other and how to spend more and more time in their Green Zone. One of the ideas we use is a Green Zone concept we call “the 3Rs“. Let me explain it.
The first R is Recognizing, that is learning to be aware of our Emotional Zones and social triggers. We first need to recognize the changes in our Emotional Zones, that is, noticing that we have moved from our Green Zone into the Yellow or Red Zone. Then we need to recognize the person or situation that pushed us out of our Green Zone .
The second R is Recovering. When we are pushed to our Yellow or Red Zone, we need to find ways to recover or come back to our peaceful Green Zone.
The third R is Restraining. After we become aware of our triggers (people or situations) we need to find ways to deal with our triggers in a healthy way so that we can prevent ourselves from falling back to our Yellow or Red Zone.
After using the Green Zone Philosophy for a while people become aware that Green Zone People ACT while Red Zone People REACT. Even when circumstances cannot change, people’s attitude can change. We have found that Green Zone Philosophy inspires people to change their attitude step by step.
When I was developing the concept of the 3Rs, two things inspired me. The first was the concept of bio-feedback. Health practitioners often use biofeedback techniques to help their patients reduce chronic pain, migraines and hypertension, among others things. As people become aware of their physical reactions, they develop more control. I thought if that technique could be used for physical pain, why can it not be used for emotional pain?
The second source of inspiration was my Dad, Basit’s wisdom. He used to say that life is like an ocean and the human heart is like a boat. As far as tons of water stay outside, the boat remains safe. But when there is a hole in the boat and two gallons come in, the boat starts to sink. Similarly, if the human heart does not let all the problems of life come inside the heart, it remains peaceful.
As we worked with people in our clinic, we realized that a diary would be an effective way to record and be aware of what Emotional Zone we are in and what or who triggered us. So I created the idea of a Green Zone Diary and asked people to make an entry in the diary at the end of each day. We recommend that they first review their last 24 hours and write down how many hours they spent in their Green, Yellow and Red Zones, and then also reflect on what was happening at that time. Connecting their daily events with their Emotional Zones helps develop awareness of their emotional triggers. Green Zone Philosophy assists in becoming more aware of our emotional reactions and the more we become aware of our emotional reactions, the more awareness we develop of Red, Yellow and Green Zone choices. Gradually, as we develop that awareness, we begin making wiser Green Zone choices.
It is amazing to see people who have been emotionally suffering for years, begin spending more and more hours in their peaceful Green Zone, within a short time. As well, by keeping a Green Zone Diary they also become aware of all those people and activities that bring them to their Green Zone.