Emotions as our companions

The word “emotion” paints the vision with different colors. It is not a hyperbole to say, “emotions makes us alive”. Our emotions can make or break us. Seven universal emotions that most of us experience are: Fear, Surprise, Anger, Disgust, Contempt, Joy and Sadness.

Emotional well-being is crucial to our living. Emotional well-being is the capability of a person to handle his or her emotions diligently. An emotionally intelligent person can grow into competent and charismatic leader. On the other hand, if the person cannot manage his emotions well, he tends to waste his talent at the hands of wrong decisions. Usually when it comes to emotions, we try to categorize them as negative or positive. However, the emotions are just a reflection of state of mind, the negative or positive part is decided from the reaction to that emotion. Anger, for example, is termed something negative. But the same anger towards brutalities by bully can be source of strength for the bullied to fight back. It depends on how we channelize the anger from a situation. For emotionally balanced behavior it is important to see emotions as single category.

One can manage emotions by using the below pattern:

Accepting the Emotion: We must acknowledge our emotion as it is. This step is crucial for further emotion management. At times societal norms around the emotions force us to hide our emotions. For example, it is a taboo for boys to show the soft side of their feelings. A male crying in public is often mocked for being weak. This forces many to hide and deny the emotion of sadness. The denial to the sadness can cause psychological problems in long run. The rejection of the emotion on regular basis makes us miserable. We need to accept the existence of the emotion to work upon it.

Distancing ourselves from emotion: Our emotions are temporary mental and psychological state. Emotions live only for moments. Labelling our whole being on the basis of our emotion is not a correct way. Something like; “He is an angry person”; must be seen as “He gets angry soon”. Psychologists warn from becoming the emotion we are living at the moment. We must avoid associating “I” with our emotions. Phrases like “I am sad person”; “I am fearful person”, allow emotions to overpower us.

By disassociating ourselves from emotions, we can see the situation more clearly and choose our actions in better way. One way to understand our emotions is to spend time with ourselves. When we know ourselves, in terms of our preferences, dislikes etc., we can have better foresight about our emotional outburst in particular situation. This knowledge allows us to change the situation to our benefit. We can see the situation coming from far enough to prepare ourselves. Inclusion of following activities in our routine can help us to be more self-connected and mindful of our emotional state at any point.

  • Meditation: The exercise of meditation with breathing exercises helps to sooth our senses. It helps us to slow down the chain of thoughts. Being mindful of our mental state at any point in time, allows us to note changes in our emotions.
  • Journaling: Putting our thoughts on paper creates a distance between the thought and us. The burden of the thoughts is transferred from our mind to the paper. Journaling helps us to see different perspectives.
  • Physical exercise: Regular physical activity like walk in nature, cycling or playing any outdoor sports can help to release stress and clear our mind. The relaxed mind has improved chance of perceiving a situation in unbiased way.

Choosing aware response: Once we have understood our emotion, we can choose better reaction to the situation. So, we can be on driver seat rather than allowing the emotion to drive us. A person who is capable of choosing his or her responses well, can be trusted with positive and efficient decision making.  To mention the quote by Mavis Mazhura, Emotions can get in the way or get you on the way”. Emotional well-being is not only in managing and living our emotions well. It also shows in the way we respect and acknowledge others’ emotions. Empathy towards the emotions of another person is sign of an emotionally aware person. An emotionally intelligent person understands the need of free expression of emotions. Hence, he gives space to the other person to exude his emotions.

The main cause of mental stress and overwhelmed reactions is the discord with our emotions. Having clarity and connectivity with our emotions allow us to see things clearly and from observer point of view. This helps us to remain positive and balanced towards the situations in life. We can be confident that we have the choice over our reaction, howsoever the situation be in life.

To end the article here with the quote from Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

“In order to move on, you must understand why you felt what you did and why you no longer need to feel it.”


Learner for life, from life