Emotion Commotion: Can You Be Too Emotional?
Whether you hold them in or have no control over them, emotions can be a tricky thing. I am one of the latter. While I pride myself on being expressive with my emotions, there are times when they control me. Whether it is the uncontrollable tears that seem to come out of nowhere or the frustration that causes me to throw a brownie in the direction of my husband, I know my emotions get the better of me.
We have the ability to take control of them and use them for our benefit. No matter how our emotions have affected us, there are ways in which we can strategically take hold of them to make positive changes in our life.
Emotions aren’t a bad thing. In fact, they are an important part of our life, but when you get to the point where you lose your cool, well then, they become a problem. I knew there had to be a way to still be my emotional self while still having some control over them. Something like “strategically placed emotions.”
When looking at an article on Psychology Today’s site, one very important tip they recommended and one I seem to forget when I am emotionally charged is “When turning into your emotions, take a step or two backward. Ask yourself, how did I get here”. There is usually some kind of trigger that has started your emotional tornado. I was able to see mine with this simple task.
Obviously, I don’t have trouble expressing my emotions, but for many people, it is a real fear. Being vulnerable enough to share how you are feeling isn’t an easy thing, and when this happens, the flood gates open and emotions become hard to control. Although we are doing better expressing ourselves thanks to trends in self-development and wellness, having strategic control over one’s emotions is still an issue for many people.
Whether you are the kind of person who holds emotions in or lets them lead you, the ability to have some strategic control over them has become a popular topic. So much so that Gallup has done a worldwide report about emotions. The Gallup 2017 Global Emotions Report, “offers global leaders, economists and political scientists’ insights into people’s feelings and behaviors, telling them more about their society’s health and future than traditional economic measures can alone.” The simple fact that Gallup felt the need to create such a report shows that it had become a global issue.
When I was growing up, there was not a lot of emphasis placed on emotions, but today, how we feel has a high priority. We have raised our children making sure their feelings aren’t hurt or do your best to make sure this doesn’t happen. Take for instance children involved in sports or other activities. Each child is given a trophy at the end of the season whether they did well or not. Now while this is great, I don’t think it fully prepares a child for the realities of the world and may cause them to have unrealistic expectations. By doing this we have developed a society that feels a lot more than it thinks.
With 70% of human behavior based on emotion rather than reason, being able to understand how emotions work within our mind and body is key to being able to use them productively. I am probably closer to 90%.
I’ve had to learn how to manage my emotions — and in many ways, I’ve become my own guinea pig on emotional management. Since the beginning of 2019, my husband started a new job about 400 miles from where we currently live. I remained behind to sell our house and pack. During this transition, we both had to find a more efficient way to communicate our emotions. With my husband being the kind of person who hates talking on the phone, this has been a difficult process. I have had to find a way to keep our relationship intact even though I have been feeling lonely, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Relocating and adjusting to our new surroundings was not easy.
It hasn’t been easy, but I have learned to manage my emotions. Normally, my very emotional self would rear its ugly head, but in order to deal with all the elements of moving, I had to find a way of expressing myself using more reason than I normally would. in order to avoid arguments based on our equal frustration, I decided to adopt a “pick my battles” approach to our conversation. While I was overwhelmed and frustrated with all I had to do, he was tired of living out of a hotel. Being more strategic with my emotions, it really helped and got me thinking a lot about the strategic approach.
While emotions aren’t meant to be something we completely control, we can manage them with a few easy steps. Believe it or not, they are manageable while still allowing you to feel them.
1. Try to simplify your emotions as much as possible
Even the most put-together person can have a hard time expressing emotions. By simplifying them happy, sad, angry, or lonely, it makes it easier to communicate them.
2. Reason with your emotions
Take some time to ask yourself why you are feeling the way you are, and if there is a good reason for how you are feeling. Sometimes we get more emotional when we are hungry or tired, so things can seem worse than they are.
3. Get physical
When you are feeling negative emotions, do something physical. No, I don’t mean man to go and punch someone out. I mean things like take a walk, go jogging, or even working in the garden. Being physical is one of the best stress relievers there is.
I believe emotions are a healthy and necessary part of life. They are the compass that guides us. Take control of your consistent emotions and begin to consciously and deliberately reshape your daily experience of life.
By understanding the science of emotions and how they affect our brains, there are ways to become more “thoughtfully emotional,” that allow us to use them in a more strategic manner. That way that will not only help you deal with your own emotions but to understand the emotions of others more clearly.