Everyone has emotions, and people react to their own emotions in a myriad of ways. They may suppress them, believing that they aren’t entitled to experience them, or they may become emotionally numb and feel nothing at all. Others may over react, fly off the handle and leave a trail of wreckage behind them. People battling addictions and alcoholism find dealing with emotions to be excruciating.
It is important to be sorting through emotions and trying to ascertain what is causing them. Once you succeed at that, you can learn to react to them appropriately.
Here are some tips to help you sort through your emotions:
Take Your Temperature:
Several times throughout the day, stop and take your emotional temperature. It will be somewhere between 1 and 10, with 1 being calm and collected and 10 being the raging point. Never let your emotions get above an 8.
Journaling is an effective way to sort through emotions. You can write down your feelings and gain a lot of insight into your emotions.
If you are having wild emotions or emotional fluctuation, stop and center yourself. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. This will help you to identify why you are feeling so emotional.
If you are able, go for a walk. Being in a different environment helps you to regain perspective and the ability to deal with what you are feeling.
You can also challenge your emotions. Let’s say that you are feeling angry with your spouse for being short with you, and this has elicited anger, rejection, and feelings of low self worth. Take each of these emotions and think of (and possibly write) a more balanced alternative statement that contradicts what you are feeling.
It could be something like this: “I feel so angry and hurt, but chances are that my spouse was not trying to hurt me. He has been working on a deadline for this job and missing a lot of sleep in the process. His shortness was primarily a result of his stress – and not me. I will give him a “pass” this time since he is obviously not his usual self.”
It Pays to Sort Through Our Emotions:
If we don’t sort through our emotions as we are experiencing them, they will come out at a later time and with an intensity that is inappropriate to the situation that generated them. If you have tried the techniques listed in this article and are still having difficulty managing your emotions, by all means see a counselor, a member of the clergy, or even just sit down and talk to a good friend about what you are feeling.
No one has to be held captive by his emotions. By sorting through them and handling them as they arise, you will learn about yourself and be able to help others handle their emotions, also.