Emotion is thought materialized in our physical being. Emotion is both the joy and the bane of our humanity. Life without it would be bleak and colorless, yet it defies and distorts our comprehension. This reminds me of the old saying, “Can’t live with them, and can’t live without them.” Knowing emotion is a fact of life doesn’t solve, for most of us, the problem of dealing with it effectively. Emotional intelligence may be the solution; following is a blend of practical ideas and strategies you can use to manage emotion.
Many people live at the two extremes of emotional sensitivity and ignorance. At one end of the spectrum is a tendency to indulge emotions, drama; at the other end is an inclination to deny them, coldness. Both create problems; but feelings are inherently neither good nor bad, they’re a part of life. The “feeling” of love can lead us astray as easily as anger and they both are crucial to our humanity. It’s essential that we acknowledge and embrace all emotion.
Emotional intelligence is the awareness of one’s feelings and the ability to manage them and understand their significance. To develop emotional intelligence, you should learn to identify how you feel and why. Interestingly, knowing how you feel can take practice. Begin by focusing your self-awareness at a physical level. Learn to take inventory of physical sensations throughout your body, from head to toe. Slowly take stock of temperature, pulsing feelings, tingling, pain, tickling, itching; in short, notice all feelings on and in your head, face, neck, torso, arms, hands, legs and feet, gradually observe your entire body inch by inch. One “sweep” of your body can take from one to thirty minutes. Be patient. This simple exercise can serve as a doorway to recognition of emotion. If you’re emotionally sensitive, this same practice can help you realize the fact that emotion is simply a manifestation of physical change. This change is created by the mind and we “feel it,” at a physical level; but that’s all it is – physical change. The pain or pleasure we experience is the interpretation of the mind. Its dislikes result in emotional pain and its likes produce pleasurable sensations. Don’t indulge or avoid feelings; instead learn to notice and accept them. Indulging or denying emotions gives them power over your life and makes it difficult for you to be your own master.
The supreme benefit of emotion is that it’s a gauge of our world view; it’s a manifestation of our mind in our physical being. It sometimes deceives us of the truth in life, yet it indicates the essence of our beliefs. Knowing how you feel gives you knowledge of your true convictions. Change your thinking and in time you will change your emotions and your life.
Learn to be the manager of your emotions rather than their slave, tossed here and there by their turmoil. Managing emotion doesn’t mean controlling it. What’s the difference? We can’t control our emotions any more than we can control our nervous system, our need for food and air, or our brain and heart functions. Emotion is nature – generally beyond our direct control. We can, however, learn to live with emotion and respond to it effectively. To learn this, you must know you are the creator of your emotional state. Usually, you don’t make feelings happen any more consciously than you digest your food. Your unconscious mind, as a result of your life experiences and your interpretation of those events, creates your emotions. You are, nevertheless, responsible for how you feel; no-one else is – not your family, not your boss, nor even your spouse! Once you claim your rightful ownership, you put yourself in the position to respond effectively to any experience, painful or otherwise, because you no longer blame others for your feelings.
This is emotional management; this is true power and the gateway to a joyful life.
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Emotional Intelligence – Learn to Monitor Your Emotions – Article © 2009