Emotions are tied to everything we do. They are the major source of motivation, and a big factor in our ability to think clearly. Emotions are the most present, pressing and sometimes painful force in our lives. When we act on our emotions too quickly, or when we act on the wrong kinds of emotions, we often make decisions that we later regret. Trust me, I know. LOL
Negative emotions, like anger, hurt, or bitterness, tend to spiral out of control, especially immediately after they’ve been triggered. In time, these sorts of emotions can grow like weeds, slowly conditioning the mind to function on detrimental feelings and dominate our daily life. One way to prevent our emotional mind from taking over is to avoid “demand thinking. Demand thinking is when we use words like “should,” “shouldn’t,” or “have to,” and “must.” This type of thinking sets us up to view situations as out of control, unfair, and harmful if things don’t go as planned.
When something “should” be certain way and isn’t, we begin to catastrophize and see things as terrible, horrible, and unbearable. One major problem with demand thinking is that it creates a great deal of unnecessary stress. Your emotions will naturally hijack your thinking, but there are still ways you can get a better handle on your emotions.
Here are seven steps to develop greater emotional awareness and help you effectively manage your feelings.
- Don’t react right away. Reacting immediately to emotional triggers can be a big mistake. You’ll more likely say or do something you’ll later regret. Before refuting the trigger with your emotional argument, take a deep breath and stabilize the overwhelming impulse.
- Be Conscious of Your Thoughts. Thoughts are habitual and it can be quite difficult at first to consciously be aware of every thought that passes through your head. Before you change them for the better, you must be aware of exactly what you are thinking.
- Discover the ‘why’ of your emotions. Once you are aware of your thoughts, ask yourself what is causing this feeling inside you?
- Change the way you think about a situation. Once you know the root of the problem, you can change the way you think about it. Your thoughts and beliefs shape your feelings. So, consider your thoughts. Are they based on truth? Are they logical? Are your beliefs true?
- Choose how you want to react. This is the hardest part. The way that we react and manage our emotions is habit. Do you control your emotions, or do they really control and direct you? Once you are able to control your emotions, you will feel more in control of your life.
- Modify your expectations. Take a look at your expectations. If they are not realistic, you are bound to be disappointed or stressed.
- Avoid negative thinking. When you are in emotional turmoil, it’s easy to get caught in a negative thought pattern. You tend to replay the situation and experience the feelings again. Break out of negative thinking.