Sunday, April 15, 2018

Emotionally Out of Control? Stop Reacting!

Through out our lives, we naturally react to different situations, like someone taking our stuff, talking bad about us, or giving us a praise. By always reacting immediately with a positive (happy) or negative (sad) response, it has unconditionally trained our body to react in a similar way for any future occurrences and we might not even notice it. When many bad events happen, we become too angry or sad. Even worse is if our body decided to overreact the little things -- and then our lives become a mess. Since it has become unconditional, even if you do notice that you are angry or sad, you might not be able to understand why, nor how to change it.  Let's see how we can fix that.

I think it is as simple as stop reacting, i.e., think before you act. As you are aware, once the emotional bombardment starts, everything goes out the window, so it is essential that we do something before that happens. You could even just start to consciously delay the reaction, so your body would eventually stop responding to external stimulant instinctively. It will be hard and most of the time it might be too late when you notice your emotion took over, but eventually it will become better and easier.

I think we should always consciously radiate our emotions from the inside regardless of an external event. External events should be logically processed (e.g. death in the family), and if consciously deemed necessary for a negative response (sad/cry), then that is fine. The key is the "conscious" part of logically thinking about it first, and then you decide how to react, and not instinctively by your body.

Negative emotional response should be kept to a minimal as it doesn't really help us. That doesn't mean bottle up and ignore your emotions. That can be dangerous. It just means to consciously reduce the magnitude of the negative emotions and then eventually it will naturally become smaller and smaller where it no longer affect your thoughts -- in a healthy and non-dangerous way.

Positive emotional response should be kept to a maximal as it is healthy for us, even for the little things. It should be the baseline norm where you naturally radiate happiness, and then you consciously decide how much happiness based on different events.

I just started thinking about emotions this way, and it might take awhile to re-train my body and mind, but I believe it should be possible and should have a positive impact on my emotions.

In short, stop reacting instinctively to external events, but start consciously decide how you want to react and generally radiate positive emotions from the inside.

This is part of the Essential Life Skills blog series.

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