Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Managing Your Emotions

The first lesson in managing emotions is to understand that emotions are inner feelings that arise and that there is nothing right or wrong about them. It is not right to be judgmental about even negative feelings. Emotions have to be differentiated from feelings, moods and disposition. Feelings are subjective and do not take into account the objective reality. Disposition refers to a durable and differentiating characteristic of a person. Mood is an emotional state somewhere between an emotion and a disposition.

Psychologically, emotions are complex responses of the nervous system, negative as well as positive, to external or internal stimuli. They are also considered to be a cognitive process. A brain that lacks emotions is considered to be incomplete. Dealing with your emotions and managing them is an essential constituent of social life. A willingness to give them a positive direction can help you in becoming a better person.

The primary step towards managing emotions is to learn how to deal with stress. Moderate levels of stress are good since it motivates and challenges. But stress that builds up and reaches intolerable levels can affect performance at work places and health.

Understanding other people’s emotions (something we call putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes) helps in dealing with emotions. It is however essential to understand your own emotions as well. There is an old saying, “count till ten before you get angry”. That counting is actually meant to let you think and identify the reason behind the anger.

- Try to find what your feelings mean. If you are in fear, try to find ways that will make you feel safe. If you are sad, identify the cause and look for ways to comfort yourself. You may need help from a friend or a counselor. - If you are angry, identify the cause and fix it. Your anger could be due to another issue or an earlier bad experience. Go directly to the person you are angry with and try to settle the issue. This becomes easy if you try to understand the other person’s point of view. Or else, try arguing with you own self to see if it really matters. - If you are happy, make the most of it without getting complacent of your duties. At the same time mark the situation so that you can recreate it.

Being aware of the emotions that you are undergoing and the reasons behind those emotions can help you control it. Express your feelings to someone you trust and you may get a completely opposite assessment of the situation. The underlying idea is to evaluate emotions before they get the better of you. If you can redirect your emotion to a positive one, you may find that what you were contemplating was futile and unjustified. Emotions are strong feelings that take place within the mind and can be influenced by individual bias. Objectivity and a positive mental attiude are actually the best ways of managing emotions.

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