30 Dec How To Manage Emotions?
The biggest problem with learning how to manage emotions is learning how to control the mind first.
I grew up within a super close circle that mostly consisted of spending time with family. The only world I knew as a child, was one where I would look up to my parents and try to copy them as much as possible. So if my dad said a bad word like “shit”, while someone unexpectedly cut him off while driving, I’d say the same thing. If my mom snapped at me, I’d repeat it and snap at my sisters too! Or if my dad wanted everyone to ready an hour early, I would expect the same from everyone around me too. He is the sort of person, that expects absolutely nothing short of perfection from people (including me), and as I grew up I awaited this same expectation from other people too!
When it was time for me to pull on the glorious strings of freedom, and get out and live alone in college, I noticed that my behavior was starting to create a lot of negative tension between me and my new friends. I would scold someone if they were late. I would get snap at someone if they moved my things. Not only would I get angry fast, I would also get emotional super quickly too. If someone was mean to me, I’d cry. When an unworthy ex, broke my heart, I’d weep for days, if a competition that I really wanted to win, didn’t work out, I’d ruin my weekend being depressed. Fast forward to years later, to where I am today and I know I’ve made great progress on how to handle emotions and behavior. But every now and then I get thrown off by something unexpected. And I’m sure you may have experienced something like this too.
Maybe it was a good unexpected thing – Like a promotion. Or a horrible unexpected thing – Like being fired.
Whatever the incident, it is usually followed by an emotion. So if it’s a promotion, the emotion is happiness. If it’s being fired, the emotion is sadness! So clearly this means, that most people (including myself) think, that their mood is dictated by external circumstances (i.e the promotion/getting fired). So when someone pays us a compliment we feel good, right? Or when something bad happens to us like losing money or a bad relationship, creates frustration and sadness, right?
Well, here is a big SECRET: The environment has NOTHING to do with your emotions. How you react to a situation creates emotions. You may think that circumstances are getting you stuck in life, but that’s not true. The reason why you’re not getting results is because of your reactions and feelings or emotions. Now you might say, how is me losing money because of something external (or something else outside of your control) related to me or being created by me?
Let me explain it, usually life works like this- something good happens to you because of external forces (like a promotion or a compliment from someone) and that is followed by emotions. Circumstance, then comes emotions, then comes actions.
So a promotion means happiness, that means more efforts, that effort equals more chances to get another promotion. The same thing goes for a bad thing. You lose money, you lose effort and that means fewer chances to get back into business. Here is what most people MISS though: We hear promotion, then we process and then comes the rest. WE IGNORE THE THOUGHT. We think emotions are directed from the circumstance but the thought or interpretation is what sets the emotions.
Unless you take care of this thought filtration or interpretation and master this, you will not be successful or happy or feel fulfilled. We have this amazing power to THINK before we do something. We have all heard that line, right? Think before you speak. Think before you do. But how often do we do this?
You know it’s so automatic for us to do things quickly, get it done, fast, fast, fast. So it’s important to slow down and understand the thoughts that come unconsciously and lead to a decision about the emotion you’re going to feel. So if something negative happens like your long term partner cheating, don’t get sucked into the negative aspects of it – like I spend all of my time money and effort into this relationship and he/she does this?
And when you’re feeling this way, you may ask, how can I NOT GET ANGRRRYYYY?
Well, you can let these feelings flow, just watch them come out of you but THINK at the same time about how you can get something positive out of it. You can either let the negativity ruin your life – negative thoughts, negative emotion, negative action. Or you can find a silver lining.
Be happy you’re not wasting another year with an unfaithful human being. Things that you can control just by thinking, can bring you more happiness and that’s so powerful. You can either power yourself or bring yourself suffering. Don’t get fooled by your lazy interpretation, think smarter!
Generate the results you want by taking life into your hands and make sure you get the things you wanted by choosing to ignore external factors and take into consideration this: accept it when you’re angry. Accept when you’re depressed. When you’re responsible for yourself and emotions(don’t blame it on circumstances), you will hurt yourself less. Push out of your comfort zone and practice self-development.
The answer to how to control your emotions is simple.Do this exercise: Try to become more aware of your negative thoughts as they come to you and try to catch some of them and convert them into just thoughts. Take note of the thoughts you’re creating. Don’t try to stop these thoughts, just be mindful of when they come through.
Don’t make it a negative thought. Just let it be a thought. Becoming conscious of your THOUGHTS will lead to better control of emotions. I’ve tried to do this today, and I have barely caught one of these thoughts. It is going to be hard, but it’s a step closer to being self-conscious and true self-development.
Nehita is a mindfulness expert who writes extensively on lifestyle management, wellness and ways to lead a healthier and a happier life. She is a part of Aware’s expert team on meditation. She is also an avid artist who spends most her time dribbling amazing stories through art.