The way we deal with our emotions defines the way we see the world. When an emotion couples with an idea/thought, it becomes a belief. On the other hand, when a past event is associated with a strong emotion, this could influence our decisions in the future.
WHAT’S AN EMOTION?
In an article published in 1884, titled “What’s an emotion?” American psychologist and philosopher William James proposed a theory about emotions: the bodily changes follow directly the PERCEPTION of the exciting fact, and our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion.
For Eckhart Tolle, an emotion usually represents an amplified and energized thought pattern, because of its often-overpowering energetic charge.
Managing our emotion is our route to success. Emotional intelligence, for example plays a big role in social dynamics. It may improve the quality of our life.
BUT HOW CAN WE MANAGE OUR EMOTIONS? IS MANAGING EMOTIONS POSSIBLE TO BEGIN WITH?
Let’s start by making things clear: emotions help strengthen a thought or the experience of an event which creates an emotional memory. An emotion by itself does not make sense. Any emotional change always has a reason behind it.
At times, we may feel certain “negative” emotion such as anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, stress or despair. On a subconscious level, we know why we feel it, but most of the time, we do not understand why on a conscious level.
Coach: What’s going on?
Client: I don’t know really, I’m in a bad mood….
Coach: ‘Bad’ is not an emotion, what type of emotion is this ? Fear? Sadness? Anger? Anxiety? Stress? Discomfort?
Client: I feel sad
Coach: Why do you feel sad?
Client: I don’t know
Coach: You don’t know or you don’t wanna know?
Client: Maybe, I don’t wanna know…
Coach: It is because you have resistance. It is normal. All you need to do is to accept it. Accept the fact that you are sad. Accept the fact that you are resisting to understand the reason behind this emotion. Do not resist the resistance!
Client: OK, I accept it.
Coach: Now, let’s see why you feel sad…
Humans are real experts when it comes to avoiding emotional pain. It’s self-medication.
What’s even more dangerous is when a society encourages, more and more, the avoidance of this ‘lack of comfort’ which is inevitable in life. We lose the advantages of benefiting from healthy doses of pain. Sooner or later, this lose will disconnect us from the real world.
Negative emotions are a gift from God. In fact, not only are they a gift, but they are also biological signs designed to guide us towards a positive change. Negative emotions are related to our survival genes, and our inner-child.
Let me explain…
Fear alerts us to the presence of a close danger. Anger is proof that someone is overstepping our boundaries.
Sadness is proof of loss (not necessarily material). This is perceived as a real threat to our survival genes.
They are suggestions from our neurobiological system. They are not orders.
When we try to avoid these emotions, hormonal shots such as adrenaline (in the case of anger), and both adrenaline and cortisol (in the case of fear), increase. serotonin decreases, (in the case of sadness) which makes the negative emotion even stronger.
We suffer for this simple reason: ‘suffering’ is biologically useful for us as human beings. The pain in general, whether it is physical, mental, or emotional is the most effective form for a body to move to action immediately!
NEGATIVE EMOTIONS ARE A CALL TO ACTION. WHEN YOU FEEL THEM IT’S BECAUSE YOU NEED TO ACT. TO DO SOMETHING!
However, you also learn to pay more attention next time. This pain, which you, me and Jason Statham share, exist for a precise reason.
It is a product of our nervous system which warns us so we can be sure not to repeat the same action (or the same way of doing that action) which led to that painful result.
Pain is the source of learning, no wonder they say, “No pain, no gain!”
For example, when you burn your hand, the pain is so intense that your instant reaction is to move your hand away from the fire immediately.
Most likely, you run cold water over it or you ice it. You are pretty sure next time you will avoid the source of burning. This’s a very profound survival mechanism.
In order to manage our negative emotions, we need to get rid of another type of pain. Which bring us to the second part.
SO HOW CAN WE MANAGE OUR NEGATIVE EMOTIONS?
The first thing to do is to differentiate between negative emotions, which are completely natural, and the ones that are not natural. Unnatural emotions have nothing to do with our survival, and eventually prevent us from success.
In order to help our brain analyze the events that occur, it needs to give a value to everything that it observes.
It is the emotion that gives meaning to an event. This in turn, will make the brain classify future events to have a more suitable emotional reaction to the similar event.
When we were kids and later on teens, we may have had some very painful memories. It could have been verbal abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse by parents.
A three-year-old kid is always EMOTIONAL. He express his emotions. When he cries the whole world, notices! When he sees someone whom he does not recognize, he is afraid. When he is angry with you, he will make sure to let you know clearly.
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BUT WHAT HAPPENS IF A KID CRIES AND HIS MOM/DAD ASKS HIM TO STOP CRYING?
In the beginning, he will continue crying anyway. He will even try to increase the frequency of crying up until the moment that his dad/mom feels so annoyed, that he/she forces him to stop crying. Even worse, they may punish him for the fact that he is crying.
This is a big mistake on the parents’ side. Here is the message that the kid receives: expressing your emotions is bad. You need to hide them. You need to feel embarrassed that you show an emotional reaction. Sometimes, it’s worse when it is a boy. We tell him that he shouldn’t cry, and that only girls have the right to express their emotions! Ironically, we don’t let little girls express their emotions neither.
Result: he will spend the rest of his life trying to resist expressing his emotions.
Unfortunately, denying our negative emotions means we deny the feedback mechanism that allows us to improve, face challenges and obstacles that we deal with in our daily life.
By working on the emotional part of our character, we can finally accept our emotions naturally, and we are able to get rid of the ones that result from childhood trauma. The Keylife method is a unique method that offers the possibility of managing your negative emotions to achieve healthy emotional intelligence quickly and easily.
YASSINE BARNAOUI is a freelancer, Blogger and certified life coach specializing in self-help (self-improvement) and a health coach in Nutrition. Originally a biologist with a Master’s degree in health and nutrition from the science faculty in Tetuan Morocco, he’s a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner and he holds a technical certificate in Computer Management. He was able to successfully coach dozens of people. Read More…