Are you an emotional person?
We all experience a range of emotions – there is no one who does not. If a person is completely apathetic, without emotion then that is a mental disorder. If a person experiences extremes of emotion, that too is a disorder. Most of us go through ups and downs which we get over eventually. However, there may be some emotions that arise more frequently and cause discomfort/distress. Anger is one such emotion. Anxiety is another.
What is an emotion?
Good emotions or states of mind – joy, love don’t ruin our day or our health. Therefore, there is no need to do anything about it. No one complains about being too happy or feeling good.
Impact of Extreme or Constant Negative Emotions
Negative or Destructive Emotions have an adverse physical impact on us, as they can cause increased heart rates, temperature, perspiration, acidity and so on. Eventually they will lead to physical ailments – ulcers, hypertension, Acidity related problems, Insomnia, and even auto immune diseases. We have it in our power to prevent this.
Did you know that destructive emotions such as anger, jealousy, anxiety, greed can also impact the health of those closest to us? Many of us are shock absorbers for our families. We may not realize it but the secondary stress can lead to chronic headaches, insomnia, anxiety in near and dear ones.
The cycle of Emotion
It isn’t necessarily the emotions that are at fault but our habitual patterns of reaction.
For example displacement is a very common defense mechanism in anger. When your golf partner criticizes your swing, the natural tendency is to find something to criticize back, or find someone else to criticize, displacing the emotion on to something or someone else to mitigate the impact on ourselves. Banging doors , throwing things or hurting someone verbally or physically are outward manifestations of emotions.
Another form of displacement can be in the form of reaching for the ice cream when you are sad or overeating in any form. This is also called compensation.
Contrary to what we think, such behavior does not provide release from the emotion, it intensifies it and/or the memory of it. What does help is developing an awareness of the way we react to adverse situations. Understanding the underlying pattern of behavior and how we may have contributed to the escalation of the situation can change the way we handle difficult people or situations. Very often we can prevent the situation from escalating with some smart thinking.
The magic tool
Meditation or Mindfulness is regarded as the most effective tool to develop our awareness and understanding of our emotional profile. It also helps us develop strategies to prevent reoccurrence of the situations where in lies the smart thinking. More tools in my next blog.