Do you ever find yourself in the quicksand of heavy emotions, struggling to understand and handle them? Do you have a habit of reacting to those emotions that you would like to change? If you would like to have a life that is lighter emotionally, more peaceful and joyful., you can achieve this. The key is understanding your emotions.
Managing emotions can be quite challenging at times, especially when we are deep in the emotional muck of life. I’ve had a minor health issue this summer that has challenged me. Because it sidelined me from life a bit, I’ve been able to observe this “Emotion + Reaction Pattern” phenomena in myself and have come up with some insights that I hope you’ll find useful.
Why Understand Emotions?
Whenever we want to change something, understanding it as fully as possible will allow us to pinpoint root causes. Then we’ll be empowered to change our reaction patterns. Knowing our triggers, we can plan new ways to react that keep us more even keeled and happier. So understanding your emotions is the key to managing them well.
Just like primary color combinations can make more complex and varied secondary colors (example: orange= yellow + red), the same is true with emotions and physical states. Here are some combinations that I noticed:
Tired + Ambitious = depressed, hopeless
Happy + Success = Euphoria
Happy + Failure = Blah
Tired + Caffiene = Agitated (needing to go slow, but being forced to go fast)
Low Energy + Desire = Frustration
Love + Dislike = Confusion
Fear + Pain = Terror
Tired + Mental Overload = Stuck, hard to move forward
Fear of Success/Change + Avoidance = Apathy
Tired + Working too hard = Exhaustion, Can’t think straight
High Energy + Caffeine = Mania
(These combinations can add up to different outcomes too depending on your overall state. For example, High Energy + Caffeine = Super Productivity. I used the Mania example because that is something that can be challenging for some people.)
How to Use Emotion Combinations
1. When you are experiencing a difficult emotion, try to decipher it’s component parts. What is your energy level? What is your mood? What is your hunger level? How are you physically (sick? hormone fluctuations?) This can help you understand where you are feeling.
2. Address each part of the emotional combination. If you are Tired and Ambitious, you need two solutions. First is rest and the second is to take some time out for goal planning.
3. Establish new emotional reaction patterns. So in our last example (Tired + Ambitious= Hopeless, Frustrated) your usual reaction may be to throw your hands up, say “I give up,” and then flush yourself down the emotional toilet. Going forward, now that you understand the parts of this feeling, you can recognize that you first need to rest – NOT beat yourself up. And then once you’ve allowed for the rest, then you can set aside some time to review your goals and modify or create a strategy.
Over time, using this method will lead to a more even keeled approach to the challenges of life and hopefully more peace and happiness in your life.
What Do You Think?
What emotional combinations do you notice in life? How have you dealt with them? Please share your thoughts on this in the comments below!
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