Today I would like to take some time to talk about our emotions and how to deal with them. Everyone has emotions. We like to try to classify them as good or bad, etc. But emotions are just feelings, they are neither good, nor bad; they just are. It is how we react to those emotions that turn them into something good or bad, etc. If we don’t exercise any control over our reactions, they can be the cause of many hours, days, or years of misery.
What is the actual definition of Emotion?
A strong feeling (such as love, anger, joy, hate and fear)
A conscious mental reaction (as anger and fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.
Free Online Dictionary:
A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling; the emotions of joy, sorrow and anger.
How do our emotions affect us:
Our emotions affect us in various ways. Strong feelings of joy will add to our happiness, and may make us want to dance around or get physical in some way. Prolonged feelings of sadness may contribute to depression. Feelings of anger or rage, can lead us to do or say things that we are sorry for later. Jealousy is another emotion that can lead us to actions that are not in our best interests. Feelings of guilt can cause us to be stuck in the past and not be able to live our life to it’s fullest.
Emotions that aren’t controlled, or managed in some way, will eventually add stress, and affect our physical, mental and emotional health. Stress is often caused by emotions that aren’t dealt with in constructive ways. The stress in turn, creates changes in our body that may cause diseases, decreased immunity; leading to infections, chemical changes to the brain; resulting in depression, physical changes that effect our heart and other organs, and may lead to certain cancers, etc.
So as you see, it is in our best interest to learn to manage or control our emotions and our reactions to those emotions. If we can agree that emotions and reactions to those emotions can affect us, physically, mentally and emotionally in adverse ways; then the only wise decision to make is to find a way to manage them and implement changes. We will explore some ways to do that later on.
Emotions – Any strong feeling.
Feeling – the experiencing of and being affected by emotional states; “She had a feeling of euphoria”; “He had terrible feelings of guilt”; “I disliked him and the feeling was mutual”.
Let’s explore some emotions:
Anger, ire, choler – A strong emotion; a feeling that is oriented toward some real or supposed grievance.
- If not managed, anger or rage can cause us to say and do things that we later regret.
Fear, fearfulness, fright – An emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight)
- Fear can be a debilitating emotion. Real or imagined, it can cause us to become immobile, either physically or emotionally. It is an emotion that can cause a lot of unnecessary stress to our mind and body.
Reverence, veneration, awe, fear – A feeling of profound respect for someone or something; “the fear of God”; “the Chinese reverence of the dead”, “the french treat food with gentle reverence”; “his respect for the law bordered on veneration”.
- Reverence for God is a good thing (in my opinion). Reverence can be a good thing to have for others, provided it is not carried to the extreme. The part of this emotion to be managed (in my opinion), is the degree of reverence, awe or fear.
Anxiety – A vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some (usually ill-defined) misfortune.
- Anxiety can be very stress producing; which in turn effects us physically, emotionally, and mentally. It is one of the emotions that can eat at us internally and cause other emotions to escalate.
Joy, joyfulness, joyousness – The emotion of great happiness.
- Joy is usually considered a positive emotion; but here again, it is a matter of degree. If you are so joyful that you cannot settle down and be constructive, then it needs managed. If your joy is at the expense of others; it needs managed.
Love – A strong positive emotion of regard and affection, “his love for his work”, “children need a lot of love”.
- Love is often considered a positive emotion, and it is; but love can be very painful when it is vested in the wrong person or thing. It can also have a detrimental effect if it is to the point of obsession. Love can be wonderful if it is managed and controlled effectively.
Hate, hatred – The emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong it demands action.
- Hate or hatred has the potential to be very volatile. It is so intense that we may feel like we “have” to react in some way, or we will burst from the strength of it. Managing hate (in my opinion) often requires forgiveness. It may require giving up our right to be right. It isn’t an easy emotion to manage; and many people don’t even desire to manage it.
Jealousy – An unhappy or angry feeling of wanting to have what someone else has. An unhappy or angry feeling caused by the belief that someone you love (such as your husband or wife) likes or is liked by someone else.
- Jealousy can also be an intense emotion that begs for action. It is certainly not an emotion that contributes to our happiness and well being, or the happiness and well being of those close to us. It is often found in conjunction with anger and rage; producing even more fertile ground for inappropriate or rash reactions.
Emotional State, spirit – The state of a person’s emotions (especially with regard to pleasure or dejection) “his emotional state depended on her opinion”; “he was in good spirits”; “his spirit rose”.
- We say that someone is in an “emotional state” when they have not been able to manage or control their emotions. We sometimes refer to the whole “state” of emotional reaction as “spirit” or “spirits”. Our emotional state affects our whole body with physical reactions. It affects our mental state and our spiritual state, if it remains unbridled.
CER – conditioned emotional response – An emotional response that has been acquired by conditioning.
- Conditioned emotional response could be in reaction to ways we were treated in our childhood. Such as: Abuse: could trigger anger, rage, or anxiety. Prejudices are taught and bring on emotions like hatred, jealousy or fear of certain races or people. A person brought up in a positive atmosphere is more likely to exhibit positive traits. And a person coming from a negative background will more than likely exhibit negative traits. This doesn’t mean that these emotions can’t be managed, just that it will take work and perseverance.
How do I manage my emotions:
Five steps for positive changes toward our emotions:
- Decide you want to change your reactions to certain emotions.
- Decide which emotions you need to manage most.
- Rank in order of importance.
- Come up with a plan for dealing with each emotion.
- Choose one emotion and work on it for one month.
Ten steps for managing our emotions:
- Ask yourself what is behind each emotion. Are you reacting out of conditioned emotional response?
- Don’t react immediately. Walk away and count to 10 (or 100 if it takes that long to calm yourself)
- Pray for guidance, or release the emotion to God. And practice the “attitude of gratitude”.
- Try deep breathing, meditation, or physical exercise.
- Write down your feelings. Put them in a safe place and read them the next day.
- Try smiling; especially when you don’t feel like it. Surprising what a positive effect it has.
- Take action. Do what you fear, or what you have been putting off.
- Change your self-talk about whatever is upsetting you. Argue with your emotions.
- Realize that emotions are temporary. Change what you can, and release the rest.
- Forgive yourself and others. And let the past stay in the past.
Exercises for easing the affects of emotions:
- Ask God to help you manage and control your emotions.
- Write it down. Read it the next day. Then destroy it. Stomp on it or burn it.
- Visualize reacting differently to your emotions.
- Make a plan of action and enlist others to help you follow through.
- If you are fearful, do what you fear most. Or take actions or precautions to feel safe.
- If you are depressed, find sayings, pictures, and clippings and put in a “sunshine notebook”
- If you are sad, smile and keep smiling until you feel better. Or sing a happy song.
- If you are lonely, do something kind for someone else. Or find an interest and pursue it.
- If you are angry, ask yourself how your anger helps the situation. It doesn’t.
- If you hate, forgive the object of that hatred. And forgive yourself for hating.
- If you are jealous; trust (will the jealousy help?) or be satisfied with what you have.
- If you are anxious; take action, don’t remain immobile. Set goals and attain them.
- If you are in love; ask yourself “does that love enrich or impoverish my life?”
- Practice the “attitude of gratitude” in every aspect of your life.
Managing emotions is crucial for leading a productive, prosperous and happy life. I hope that what I have written here, will help you begin to manage destructive emotions, that are holding you back from achieving your goals and living an enriched life.
Thanks for reading. You may comment or ask questions in the comments section below.
Please keep checking back. I will be adding content regularly. There will be new articles every week, dealing with, physical, mental and spiritual health. You will be able to glean information, leave your comments, or ask questions dealing with each post.
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At your service,