Someone who is drowning cannot make much use of last-minute swimming tips. Similarly, emotion management is quite problematic when we are in the middle of stressful situation, overwhelmed and governed by anger or fear. Post factum, if we manage to escape from the triggers, we usually let the trail of emotions vanish on its own. If it doesn’t, we may apply temporary quick-fixes: divert our attention or suppress emotional symptoms.
Quick-fixes and temporary relief options can aid a wider emotional education approach. However, we need to understand how well they fit our long-term efforts. Not to mention the diminishing effect of the repetitive patching.
Some of the popular quick-fixes for the emotional symptoms:
- divert attention from a stressful situation, e.g. change of activity, switch to a stronger stimulus
- physical exercise, yoga class, a walk
- release emotions, e.g. “punch a pillow”, shout, etc.
- chemical: drugs, alcohol, substances, smoking, etc.
- “extreme” outdoor activities, traveling
- simply “talking to someone about it”
- relaxing meditation (that is not an integral part of a wider solution involving dealing with the causes)
- exotic practices of religious/spiritual traditions one does not belong to and doesn’t truly understand how they work
If only patched, destructive emotions reoccur as soon as our mind comes in contact with the trigger again, as the causes of earlier activation remain intact. The long-term approach helps us work with the causes of destructive emotions: outdated views, non-ecological habits, traumas, etc. So that destructive emotions are no longer produced for previously triggering scenarios.
Measurement of progress
Successful emotion management or “transformation” is reflected by not producing destructive emotions in the situations that triggered them before. Then a toxic person who made us mad before or a traumatic event has no more power over our state of mind. We can face the provoking scenario or remember the event and remain balanced, calm. Which means we have fixed the issue successfully, or at least considerably mitigated its influence.
Response to meaningful real-life situations
A tangible outcome we experience is a non-production (or a considerably scaled down intensity) of destructive emotions in response to events that matter. Ecological views (implying no harm in a long-term, wider, holistic sense) are embodied and new habits are adopted. Instead of previous agitation we feel gratitude, compassion, maintain balance and peace of mind, focus, clarity of reasoning and perception. We obtain functional Emotional Intelligence, non-faked resilience, untainted empathy. At least for the contexts that we have processed so far.
Runway for take-off
The most difficult part is gaining sufficient momentum to retain the peace of mind before trying to change the external situation. Our mind knows that irritators and external troubles are still there. However, it is able to restrain the urge to fix external things before fixing its reactions to them.
We can use stressful conditions as a daily stimulus to remind us about internal issues waiting to be addressed. Destructive reactions and restless thoughts conveniently highlight the details. If we can notice them, we can deal with them. We can deconstruct them, understand them and work on the causes. Until our response to the situation changes to a more harmonic and ecological. It takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and sometimes external guidance. The key is to learn that it is doable. We need to obtain a personal roadmap of achieving balance before addressing the external situation.
The most important issue first
Whatever situation causes the most trouble at this very moment has to be dealt with first. Otherwise, the destructive emotions it brings to life overwhelm and taint our efforts to tackle lesser issues. Do you try to extinguish a match in the middle of an erupting volcano?
|Stressful events are opportunities to reach stories, values and habits that govern our daily responses that would otherwise be unreachable and continue interfering with the rest of our lives.|
One cannot expect outcomes of a non-egoistic mind to serve egoistic motivation. E.g. balance, empathy or “Emotional Intelligence competencies” to facilitate manipulations for climbing the career ladder. Ethics aside, implicit motivation investment eventually backfires.
Clinging to a “wholesome” state, principle or practice may also creep in and hinder the process. E.g. attachment to our internal harmony or balance can make us irritated about people disturbing us, or our own “imperfections”. Extreme dependency on high morals and ethics can provoke hate or contempt towards people who do not adhere to our standards. It is worth remembering that even the most elevated destinations are provisional — virtual and only temporarily used by our mind to serve an ever-evolving purpose. Otherwise, they become causes of destructive activity. Unless ongoingly cross-matched with ecology indicators, — our emotions, feelings, vectors of our thoughts.
Medical conditions and clinical cases must be diagnosed and treated by a qualified medical specialist.