Literally, there is no such thing as good or bad emotions; all forms of emotions are beneficial for the survival of mankind. With anger, we gain energy to fight for our rights and freedom. Fear protects us from danger and limiting risk. Feelings of sadness, sobriety and guilt enable us to sympathize with a friend or loved one in agony or the ones we offend.
Our ability to wear on different emotional state in various situations makes us human and capable of relating with ourselves as well as our immediate environment; thus, Morgan and colleagues, in their 1979 work ascribed a perfect function of emotion which I really love. It is that, “emotions add color and spice to life.” In nutshell, we need emotions to survive, to relate, and to enjoy life to the fullest.
When Emotions Turns Bad
Emotions are like your favorite dog. You, probably like most people, love and rare dog for its warmth, companionship, security among other benefits. This pet adds color and spice to your mood and day, meaning you cannot do without it, right? Now, will you consider this pet as “bad animal”? No, but what happens when the same pet goes wild and suddenly bites your neighbor’s daughter, tear down your wardrobe and mess up your kitchen—raze down and even break to pieces some of your utensils?
With these sudden changes in attitude, one may, however, be forced to dub this favorite pet as dangerous, same thing goes with emotions: they are loving and helpful but when emotions get out of control, they become dangerous and harmful to our health and success.
When anger gets out of hand, it can push one to set an entire mansion ablaze within a second or do something that in the end, you’ll regret. As Laurence J. Peter writes, “speak when you’re angry and you’ll end up giving the best speech you ever regret.” Also, when fear gets out of hand, it can cost you a lifetime opportunity by caging your mind from seeing what lies ahead.
Same thing goes with sadness, bitterness and guilt. So, in as much as emotions colors and spices up life, they can as well destroy and cripple functional areas of life if not controlled. Simply put: just as dogs can go wild and destroy if not properly tamed or controlled, emotions can destroy and paralyze an entire being if not properly tamed or controlled at regular intervals.
What Fuels Emotions?
There’s a pot of water on fire. It’s boiling hot with steams oozing out from it, turn down the flame a bit for 10 minutes after which, turn it off completely and leave the water to cool; what do you notice? Many things I guess but here’s the point: you’ll notice that before the flame is set in, the water was normal, you can deep your hand inside it unhurt but the things changed the moment the water began to boil—steams start oozing out and the atmosphere changed. When you reduced the flame, the steam reduced and when you turned it off completely, the water returns to its normal temperature of warmth and comfort.
The water here depicts the human mind and the steams coming out of it is our streams of emotions. What triggers off the steam? Fire. The more intense the flame, the faster the steams oozing out. That fire is your thought process. Like flames and the steam, thoughts triggers off emotions.
In simpler words, if you don’t think, you won’t feel. If there’s no thought raging in your mind, you will not experience any form of emotions, but this is not possible because your heart still pumps blood, and because the heart pumps blood, the brain’s billions of neurons still perform their function of conveying information to and fro the body, the place of thought cannot be undermined and for these reasons, man continues to experience different emotional state. Each of these thoughts fights to gain your attention. The particular one you entertain at that point in time determines the emotion you will feel.
If you harbor an energizing thought, you’ll feel happy, enthusiastic and on top of your game. If you harbor a limiting thought, you’ll feel unworthy, incapable and low.
How Emotions Can be Tamed
If you want to control the steam, you must learn to tame the fire producing it. Same way, to control your emotions so they don’t get out of your control, you need to learn to tame your thoughts. If you can control what goes on in your mind—the kind of thought entertained—you will definitely have a healthy emotional life.
How is it done?
Learn how to always think about what, it is, you’re thinking about. I like to prescribe this technique, it work for me: for every 20 to 30 seconds, stop and ask yourself “What is going on in my mind right now?” Be calm until you figure it out.
Another way to figure out your current thought or a persistent thought pattern is to listen to the words you speak. “Out of the fullness of heart, the mouth speaks,” according to the Proverbs. Your words conveys your thought. So, watch what you say as that will give a clue to the nature of thoughts raging in your mind.
In nutshell, if you want a healthy emotional life, you must learn to entertain only healthy and empowering thoughts. To feel alive, you should think alive.
Author: Beatrice Mokwunye
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