You are an emotional being.
We all are.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of, emotions are simply how your brain speaks to you in times of stress, for good and for bad.
Your emotions are an incredibly simple system that all animals share. They have kept us alive for thousands of years. There are no long winded sentences or punctuation to slow everything down, there are simply feelings like Fear, Hate, Anger, Pain, Love, Wonder, Curiosity, or Compassion that drive us to take immediate action.
It is why I become overjoyed [an emotion] when something that I have been speaking about for years is finally proved true by hardbound “research” rather than watching the natural world that is all around us and following one’s “gut”.
Today emotions are not the wonder they were 40,000 years ago. They are still just your brain trying to speak to you, and unfortunately if you do not learn to manage them they can quickly manage your life in the wrong direction. Take a moment to think back at all the ways your emotions have steered your life in the wrong direction again and again and again.
I have been telling my students and clients that your emotions are neither good nor bad; they are simply your brain’s way of telling you that something in your world is about to effect your life. Anxiety is your brain’s way of saying, “we have been down this path before, so beware because the last time it didn’t turn out so well.” Physical pain is your brain’s way of telling you that something is wrong and you need to attend to it quickly. Anguish is your brain’s way of telling you that there is a loss in your life that you need to fill. Love is your brains way of saying something wonderful is about to happen if you just follow that trail, that person, or that animal to wherever it leads.
Back when your ancestors lived a constant fight, flight or fornicate mode, the emotional system was a great solution to staying alive. In today’s world, however, there you have time to step back and consider your actions before you commit yourself by running after your emotions – an act that often gets you into more trouble than whatever it was you were facing.
To do this you need to be awake to what is going on around you so that you can recognize the reality of your situation. Acting on your emotions is a choice and you can prevent yourself from taking the wrong path of following your auto-response with a breath so that you no longer feel trapped by the need to pursue whatever it is you are feeling without thinking.
Psychology Today recently published a new study about how your emotions drive most of your decisions without your even being aware that they are.
It is why I have always said that learning how to not respond to your emotions is the best step you can take to living a more meditative and mindful life to find the calm you want in your life.
Anxiety is not something to lose yourself to, it is simply your brain’s way of warning you to be cautious and to watch out. In many ways the anxiety you feel is your brain telling you hat you have faced a similar situation in the past and that it did not end up so well. Perhaps the person that you are haggling with over the cost of something reminds your brain of a person who cheated you in the past. You may not remember the person or the situation that your brain does, or perhaps it remembers something it saw on television and does not remember that that movie is not the real world. After all, why would you get so emotional about a movie or TV show if it wasn’t real? And since your brain recognizes it as real, the person in front of you with the same tic as the person in the movie is just as bad.
Your brain can’t always tell the difference between reality and make believe, so are you going to blindly follow your brain, even though the person in front of you is being fair and honest, but shares the same tic as a villain in a film?
It is important to remember that emotions are not the problem. It is how you deal with them that is. If you lose yourself to your emotions, then they become your master – and that is never a good thing.
Don’t give up, we can help on this front. The next time you feel an emotion rising. Love or Hate, Anxiety or Comfort, Lust or Disgust, do not respond to it immediately. Train yourself to stop, breathe, separate yourself from whatever it is that is triggering your emotion and relax.
Take a moment to really look at your situation so that you can ask yourself “is this emotion really right for what is going on?” Contemplate what you are feeling and try to remember the last time you felt this emotion. Acknowledge it, label it, contemplate it, and then ask yourself if responding in such a way is really what you want to do. Or would you be better off by simply letting it go?
Remember, your emotion is not the issue. It is simply your brain trying to talk to you using an antiquated system. Your brain is simply trying to tell you that something out there is about to effect you in here. It is up to you to decide how you want to respond.
Living in a meditative manner is the difference between joy and pain, love or anguish. After all, it is your life, it’s time to decide how you live it.
Be well and I hope this helps.