Scales with brain and heart

Without interpreting acceptance of the emotion as acceptance of the cause

There is something liberating about accepting the existence of our emotions and acknowledging their inevitability. – Emotional Intelligence. In a previous post, I talked about the need to express them healthily rather than suppressing them.

Understanding Emotions

The first step is understanding emotions or our emotional self-awareness. This involves acknowledging our emotions before we try to manage them. The excellent Susan David here who writes about emotional intelligence emphasises the need to welcome them as an opportunity.

Developing this self-awareness allows us to observe and label our emotions accurately. It’s the first step in managing them effectively. By acknowledging and accepting our emotions, we can avoid suppressing or ignoring them, thus fostering a healthier emotional landscape.

Managing Emotions

To manage our emotions, it is essential to identify the triggers that evoke specific emotional responses. Triggers can be external events, situations, or internal thoughts and beliefs. By noticing our triggers, we gain the ability to anticipate emotional reactions and prepare ourselves to respond in a more balanced manner.

A lot of experts encourage self-reflection and introspection so we can uncover underlying assumptions and automatic responses that influence our emotional experiences. We can use this exploration to challenge our thoughts and become more resilient..

While I agree it can help, the challenge with self-reflection is that, in the quest to avoid pain, our minds are prone to avoid or re-interpret what comes up.  

Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is a vital aspect of managing our emotions. It involves the ability to modulate our emotional responses, particularly in challenging situations. By developing self-regulation skills, we can avoid impulsive reactions and make more thoughtful choices.

One effective strategy for self-regulation is practicing emotional detachment. This does not mean suppressing emotions, but creating a mental and emotional distance to gain perspective and make more informed decisions. Meditation, deep breathing, and gentle physical exercise can help cultivate emotional detachment and promote a sense of calm amidst emotional turbulence.

Self-Talk or Constructive Communication

Healthy, effective communication plays a significant role in managing emotions, both for ourselves and in our interactions with others.

When communicating our emotions, it is important to use “I” statements to express how we feel without owning those emotions. I am frustrated, angry or sad becomes our identity. I sometimes feel frustrated, angry or sad, stays as an emotion that is transient and isn’t fixed.

In conclusion, managing emotions is a multifaceted skill set that requires self-awareness, self-regulation, effective communication, compassion for yourself and others, and resilience.

While we can work with our emotions and learn how to manage them better, there is no substitute for dealing with the cause of painful emotions. If this is you, seek help from a practitioner who has the skills to help you deal with them.

ShelleyBridgman