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Mastering Your Emotions - Feelings the Truth

By Vladimir C. Murray Published 08/14/2007 | Self Improvement

The word emotion is derived from the Latin word meaning to move out or to excite and Psychologist define emotions as physiological changes and conscious feelings of pleasantness or unpleasantness aroused by external and internal stimuli that leads to behavioural reactions (Davis and Palladino: Psychology 2nd ed.). Simply put your emotions are what you are feeling at any given moment no matter what is happening to you and it makes you react and behaviour in certain appropriate ways.

Many persons feel that their emotions are not in their control. They believe that they are slaves to their emotions and that they are just reacting to the events of their lives. There are even those who fear their emotions as if it is some great big tyrant. In an effort to avoid feeling certain emotions many people do things like turn to drugs, alcohol, overeating, sex and even get into a paralyzing depression.

Most of us handle emotions in four common ways:

Denial. <br>
We all use this strategy at some point. It generally it occurs when we try to disassociate from our feelings by saying things like it really doesnt hurt that bad Yet we keep holding on to how terrible things are, or how no matter what we do and how perfect we do them things will always turn out wrong, and why does this always happen to us. If you have done this, what you are doing is focusing on the wrong thing by the disempowering questions you keep asking yourself. You see when you experience an emotion and then try to pretend its not there you create more pain for yourself. So by ignoring the signals your emotions are trying to send you, you will never be able to make things better. If you ignore these signals the emotions will only just increase their intensity and will keep intensifying until you finally decide to attend to it.

Avoidance <br>
This is another approach we all use as we try to avoid those painful emotions we experience. As we do this we also tend to avoid any situation that may lead to the emotions we that fear. So if you far being criticized, then you would try to avoid any situations that would lead to you being criticized. You will shy away from certain relationships or even from applying for certain challenging jobs. When you deal with emotion in this manner you are setting yourself up for a big trap, because although avoiding negative situation may protect you in the short-term, it keeps you from feeling the sense of achievement, being praised, the approval and success you desire most. Ultimately what youll learn is that you cant avoid feeling.

Indulgence <br>
Many of us tend to get to a point where we stop fighting our painful emotions and decide to just totally indulge in them. We submerge ourselves in them so deep that instead of learning the positive messages our emotions are trying to give us we make it so intense that we end up making it worse. We then begin to say things like if you think things are hard for you, let me tell you how hard it is for me Its as if the emotion become an integral part of who we are and what makes us unique. We then begin to take pride in being worse off than anyone else. This approach tends to end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy with the person having a vested interest in feeling bad all the time and thats when they are truly trapped.

Making emotions work for us<br>
If you want you life to work its imperative that you make your emotions work for you. Do not run or hide from them, do not fool yourself about them or what they mean and never allow them to run or control your life. Your emotions whether positive or negative are like a map with directions pointing you towards the actions you need to take to get to your desired goal.

You must comprehend the truism that your emotions are there to serve you and until you see that you can never effectively use your emotions. To create the results you desire for a higher quality of life you must learn from your emotions and in turn use them to that end. Your negative emotions therefore are really a call to action, a signal that something needs to be done. The moment you begin to be familiar with signals your emotions are sending you and the messages there in, your emotions will also begin to aid you. You will be guided through highs and lows of this life and once you learn to use these signals youll begin to have the confidence to experience all the wealth you are capable of. It is therefore necessary to master your emotions and use them to your advantage

How to Master Your Emotions. <br>
The first thing you need to do when mastering your emotions is to know your true feelings. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you dont even know what youre truly feeling? All you know is that negative emotions and feelings seem to be swarming through you. Interrupt this pattern by stepping back for a moment and just ask yourself What am I truly feeling at this moment? if your fist thought is that Im frustrated ask yourself right away Am I truly frustrated or is it something else? Could it be that what I am feeling is disappointment? By simply taking a moment to figure out what you are truly feeling and questioning and challenging your emotions you will be able to lessen the intensity of the emotion youre experiencing and hence be able to deal with the situation much quicker. Youll also find it easier to learn from the emotion.

Next you must admit and give value to your emotions, because they anchor you. Many of us have had those moments when we make our emotions wrong. This is something you should never do, as it is a sure way of blocking true communication with your inner self and even with other persons. What you must do is be grateful and thankful that your brain is sending you signals of support urging you to take action to change your perceptions or something in your life even you present actions. By trusting your emotions even when you dont understand them and knowing that they are there to support you in making positive changes, you will begin to end the internal wars you have with yourself. Youll then begin to seek out and move towards the simpler solutions.

You then have to be eager to learn what your emotions are saying to you. Do not just accept your emotions on face value for sometimes what you presently feel is really about something else. When you become eager to learn what your emotions are saying to you, you will begin to master them, which in turn assists you in solving the challenge and prevent the said problem from reoccurring. So if you find yourself feeling rejected, for example, ask yourself could I be misinterpreting the situation to mean Im not good enough when in reality I am using one instance to make my determination? What if I approached other persons who may be accepting of me? Is my feeling rejected a message that I need to take action to change how I present myself? Ask yourself the following four questions when questioning what your emotions are saying to you: <br>
1. What is it that I truly want to feel?<br>
2. To feel the way I have been feeling what would I have to believe?<br>
3. To create a solution and handle this right now what am I willing to do?<br>
4. Is there anything I can learn from this?<br>
5. What actions can I take now?<br>
You answers to these questions will help you to learn about your emotions and their uniqueness each time they occur.

Its very important that you believe you can do it, that you can deal with this emotion right now. The simplest, most powerful and quickest way to handle an emotion is to recall an instance in the past when you felt a similar emotion and recognize that you had successfully handled it before. If you dealt with it in the past then it is possible that you can deal with it again right now. Think about how you dealt with your emotions in the past and use this as your guide for what you can do right now to change how you feel. What was your process back then? Did you change your perception, what you focused on, and the questions you asked yourself? Do the same things right now believing that it will work just as it did before. So if youre feeling lonely, for example, and you were able to turn it around in the past, ask yourself What did I do back then? Did you take action by calling up some of your friends and staying in touch with them thereafter? Did you visit your friend at their home? Whatever you did in the past try them out right now and you will likely get similar results.

Next you have to be sure you can handle the emotion in the future. To do this you need a great plan to do so. One method you can use is to remember the way you have handled it in the past and rehearse handling those situations where this negative emotion would come up in the future. You will have to use visualization to hear, feel and see yourself handling the situation with ease. By doing this over and over again with some emotional intensity will cause your behaviour to be set in such a way you will easily deal with the challenge. You can also write down a couple of other ways (at least four of them) you can change your perceptions when negative emotions arises. Do this also for ways you can change how you communicate your feelings and your needs and also for ways you could change the actions you were taking in this particular situation.

The next step is to take action. It makes no sense to go through the first five steps and not take immediate action, you would have wasted your time and nothing would have changed. So once you believe you can handle an emotion take action immediately to prove to yourself that you can handle it.

These six steps can help you master any emotion that may arise in your day-to-day life. Practice using these steps as often as you can it may seem hard at first but the more you do them the better and simpler it will become for you. It is important that you realize that the best time to deal with an emotion is when you first start feeling it. So dont delay in applying the six steps and save yourself the distress.