What are Emotions and Managing your Emotions
What are emotions? Emotions and feelings are not the same. This article will help you with ways of identifying your emotions, managing your emotions, and then by extension acknowledging your emotions.
Normally we are reluctant to accept the multitude of emotions floating within us. This non-acceptance builds confusion and often leads us to the wrong reactions in a particular situation. Much research has been done to understand why it is so difficult to identify and accept one’s own emotions.
One reason I came across was the way we have been conditioned to handle our emotions during our childhood. We are advised to listen to others and to honor each other’s feelings, even if it means hiding or controlling our own.
To make others happy why should we stop acknowledging our own emotions? I am not suggesting that we should stop considering and respecting other people’s feelings. I am trying to say that if we are clear about our own emotions we can respond better to situations.
Identify the emotions
Before we acknowledge our emotions it is important to identify them. Read and understand the two given statements
- I am so irritated! I am stuck in this situation
- I am feeling scared so I am stuck in this situation.
You might say that both mean the same. When you read carefully you will notice the difference. A child might cry in both the situations but to resolve the two you need different solutions because the feelings in the two cases are different.
The first reflects anger where the latter shows helplessness. The same is true for adults. If you identify the correct feeling then your approach to solve the problem will differ and will be far more fruitful.
Emotions and Feelings are not the same
Often these two words are used interchangeably but they are different and if understood then it gets easier to manage ourselves. In simple words feelings are our reaction to external stimuli whereas emotions are internalized.
Emotions are very personal. Often feelings are short-term because they are generated through external stimuli.
Example: When we touch a hot stove we feel a burning sensation on our hands for a short time. On the other hand emotions are long term since they are generated internally.
When we fall in love the sense or happiness of it stays with us for a long time.
Managing your emotions
Once you have understood what emotions are, and have identified your own emotions, then it is imperative to take steps towards managing your emotions. There are various ways it can be done.
It is important for you to understand which methods suit you best. You might have to use a combination of these steps for managing your emotions.
- Perform yoga or do some type of exercise
- Read books
- Listen to music
- Follow a hobby
The story of two wolves
The following old parable illustrates the importance of selecting the correct emotions to lead a happy life.
An old man is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he says to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, selfishness, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.
The other is good. He is love, joy, peace, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person.”
The grandson thinks about it for a minute and then asks his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”The old man replies, “The one you feed.”
Managing your emotions: Conclusion
Managing your emotions doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to be a make-or-break decision either. You can start slowly and include new things as you identify them. Some will work for you. Some will not. This is what makes you unique. Good luck!