17 Sep Build resilience with emotion management
Emotions can be overwhelming. That’s a great thing when emotions are positive—feeling unbridled joy rocks. Feeling passion is positively awesome. Feeling excited can make a stadium roar and your heartbeat rocket, which can be exhilarating.
But overwhelming tough emotions can freeze us in our tracks. They can make us feel lost, out of control, confused and helpless. And as a result, we feel worse and we just can’t find our way through the day, or week or even month.
This is why resilience requires emotion management. If you have been reading the Your Self Series books, you know what that is by now. If you haven’t here’s a quick low-down: emotion management means you can recognize what you are feeling in the moment and then decide what to do to deal with that emotion so that you are responding in a manner that represents who you want to be.
For instance, you walk into class, sit down and notice the words “Pop Quiz” on the board. You panic. Your heart starts racing and your mind starts using lots of inappropriate words that we can’t type. Here’s the first step in emotion management: you are aware of these things happening and you are able to say to yourself, “I am really scared right now because I am afraid that I am going to fail.”
Now that you have named the emotion, the next step is to decide what to DO. You have a ton of options. Here are three:
-You could run from the room and leave school.
-You could scream at your teacher and tell her she’s horrible and unfair.
-You could take a deep breath, close you eyes and try to calm your thoughts with meditation before the pop quiz is given.
Which one is going to serve you best?
When you are able to manage your emotions and make sound decisions in the midst of them, that’s a key part of being resilient. The person who can not manage his emotions may break down into tears at the sight of the pop quiz, cry all the way through and be so overwhelmed that he can’t focus on the questions. He therefore gets 1 out of 10 correct. The person who can manage her emotions may feel dread the whole way through but is able to calm herself enough to hold it together and think about the questions. She gets 7 out of 10 right. Maybe not as high as she would have wanted had she studied the night before (but it was a Pop Quiz after all!), but she managed her emotions and therefore was resilient enough to search for the solutions on her test…
When was the last time you felt overwhelmed by emotion and how did or did you not handle it?