Emotions 101

How about a quick lesson in emotion "management"? Think of emotion as vital energy that fuels your life. When you are experiencing smooth flowing emotion, your life is running superbly. When the emotion is flowing fully, you are empowered with great force. When you are cultivating positive and healthy emotion, you feel empowered to direct your life well.

Some Details.

When we resist emotions (commonly anger and sadness), we set up blocks within us as a way to manage the emotion that remains within, rather than the emotion flowing out of us. We unconsciously use energy to keep the emotion contained, or to keep it compartmentalized, or to not fully feel the feelings that accompany the emotion. This is tiring, exhausting when this is habitual. Those inner walls that contain the emotion within us, keep us blocked from other aspects of life, simply as a byproduct of "I can't go there". "There" is more that you realize.

When we experience emotion fully, in a healthy way, we feel the feelings fully, we physically respond by raging when angry, crying when sad, trembling when fearful. We do not hurt others when we are expressing this emotion, instead we learn to let it flow and find appropriate ways to discharge the energy. This can range from taking a jog, to hitting a punching bag to journaling or even dancing (the urge to dance around when we are happy!). The idea though is to move the energy.

As the emotional energy moves and we can think clearly again (clear thought is impossible with inner intense emotion), we re-consider the event that caused the emotion and how we responded to it. How A (the event) brought about B (the emotion). Now is the time to understand yourself more. What caused the anger and what do you need to change? What caused the sadness and what does this teach you about yourself? What brought up the fear and what does this inform you about how you feel insecure? What brought on the guilt and what could this mean about your behavior, your history or your inner life?

When you can honestly answer these kinds of questions in response to the emotional experience, you can put your emotion to good use by using it as fuel to organize your life in a way that reflects who you are and what you value. For instance, if your friend brought up enormous anger in you when she ditched you for a date - yet again, it's time to reconsider the friendship and the place it has in your life. Once that "friend" is in or out of your life in the proper place (this is up to you to take care of) then you will not be stuck in the anger. You can forgive and move on.

This theory is simple and it works. Sometimes it's the putting it into practice that does not always feel easy. But that's what we are here for - to develop our skills as humans, to navigate the waters of emotion and to learn to sail the seas!

I would love to hear follow-up questions from anyone struggling with learning to use their emotions efficiently. Let me know what else I might be able to share that could help :)