Sadness, anger, jealousy, fear, shame, guilt, joy, gratitude, serenity, compassion, hope – emotions are our way of responding to people and the events that happen around us. Scientists are in agreement that the connection between our emotional and our physical being is there. We know, for example, that people with happy dispositions are generally healthier. Our mindset is affected by how we deal with our emotions and as a result we either react to life or act upon it. Emotions can either add to our problem or they can act as an aid in resolving the problem.
Everybody experiences emotion differently, not only in terms of how the emotions are experienced, but in how they are expressed. One person might cry during a sad movie; another might not show any visible signs of grieving at a loved one’s funeral.
In spite of the wide variance in emotions, though, we do learn emotional regulation from a very young age by picking up on environmental cues. The same toddler who has grocery store tantrums will, in all likelihood, grow up to be a well-balanced individual with a sense of how and when it is acceptable to express emotion.
For some people, emotion management is not quite so simple. Humans are complex beings, and our ability to regulate the intensity and expression of our emotions can be disrupted by a number of things, including the following:
If you are having difficulty with emotional regulation that interferes with your ability to go to work or school, or perform your normal daily activities, you might benefit from some tools and techniques to help you manage your emotions.
It is important to remember that emotional expression is a good thing. The ability to experience emotion is part of what makes us human, and the different ways in which we respond to things emotionally is what makes us unique from one another. In addition, the ability to express emotion is healthy.
However, sometime people find that their emotional reactions are disproportionate to the circumstances. We see examples of people getting cut off in traffic and displaying violent road rage, or showing extreme fear when others perceive little or no threat.
If you feel that you lack the ability to manage your emotions effectively, there are steps you can take: