Emotion Management

Before you can understand effective ways to deal with emotions, you need to understand how you experience emotions. Emotions are experienced as sensations within the body. Our mind and body are intimately connected and are designed to communicate information to each other. Often we are not aware of the messages each is relaying to the other. For example, when someone asks you “how are you feeling?”, and your response is “angry”, you do not necessarily note the physical sensations within your body (for example, tense muscles, flushed face, racing heart). Enhancing your awareness of such will assist the level of understanding you have of yourself. You can use this insight to help you identify 1) triggers for unpleasant emotions, and 2) times when you can use particular strategies to prevent unpleasant emotions becoming overwhelming.

Experiencing emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant, makes us human. Oftentimes clients say they want to experience the pleasant emotions, but not the unpleasant emotions. Unfortunately our body and mind are not designed to accommodate this. Dealing with experiencing unpleasant emotions in a way that prevents you feeling them, will lead you to not be able to feel the full effects of pleasant emotions, and can lead to other problems that you may not recognize as being associated with repressing these.

In now understanding the above, you may be able to appreciate that a more realistic goal associated with emotion management is to develop techniques that reduce the frequency and intensity with which you experience unpleasant emotions, without having a range of side effects from repressing them. There are various strategies that can be used to assist with this. The next blog entry will introduce these. A psychologist can assist you to further develop your emotion management strategies.