Feelings are a double edged sword. To the inexperienced, you can stab yourself rendering paralysis. When wielded correctly, you can master the beauty of knowing what to feel, when to feel.
We’ve all been there before – the all too familiar sadness that overwhelms us when someone or something has disappointed us. Or the anger and frustration that boils in our blood causing us to lash out in unpleasant ways. Emotions are powerful feelings and we often succumb to their gripping and overwhelming nature, letting them bubble and manifest in our minds or allowing them to overwhelm and consume our beings as whole. What you allow yourself to feel has a rippling effect, causing other seemingly neutral experiences to harvest these preconceived emotions which can snowball and create a negative energy for your mindset.
Think of the last time you were ecstatic – perhaps it was related to an achievement or seeing an old friend or being on the receiving end of a positive outcome. Think of the last time you were furious, or disappointed – perhaps these were reactions to certain people or things that caused offense to you or didn’t meet your expectations or didn’t listen to you.
Emotions, as we come to make sense of them by looking at them in isolation, are usually how we react to situations that we are exposed to in our day to day lives. The magnitude of how we feel these emotions directly correlates with how severe or personal these situations impact us and the repercussions that are left to follow. And this is where emotional management comes in – if emotions can be fleeting and is dependent on our response towards what happens, then surely we can train ourselves to respond in ways that are effective and realistic, without needing to feel overwhelmed by one negative experience.
Emotional management comes in learning to exercise your mind to identify how experiences define your life by categorising them. More often than not, many of us suffer from tunnel vision where we perceive certain things that happen to us as negative or unfortunate, and thus dwell on how disappointed we are with the outcome of what has happened which results in our temper or mood being low or irritable for that day, or longer. By categorising these life events into buckets of “good” and “bad” experiences triggers respective emotional responses that we allow ourselves to feel simply due to these labels we’ve put on such experiences. And as we all know, labels are what identifies things which makes it that much harder to turn a negative experience into a positive experience. Think of all the things you identify yourself with – these are all labels put onto yourself that define who you are. Similarly, a bad experience is only bad because you’ve already jumped to label it as bad, and your brain releases a stream of coping emotions as a previously trained habit in response to such bad experiences.
You can learn to better manage your emotions through perspective – through acknowledging that these things that happen to you are not good or bad, but rather occurrences that give colour and direction to your life. The way you respond to these occurrences allows you to take control of the things that happen to you and drives your life towards certain goals and outcomes. Don’t let fleeting and uncontrolled emotions drive your responses, but learn to shape your responses by understanding what triggers your emotions.