An Emotion is a response to any physical event around you or a mental stimulus triggering your brain. It is a state of mind that helps you react to the real as well as imaginary scenarios. Hence, emotions are the most important aspects of your overall well-being.
“I Feel, therefore I am” should be an updated version of the famous quote by Descartes (I Think, therefore I am). Emotions can make you feel things and those feelings will ultimately make you more humane. No wonder why most of the great philosophers have theories regarding emotions.
If you like someone, you would love to spend time with them. Why? Because they can make you feel happy. Happiness is the key emotion that’s guiding you here. By approaching someone you like, you’re acting out of an emotion, which is happiness.
Similarly, if you get into a fight with someone, you’d probably want to punch them right in their face. Here, anger is right on a steering wheel. You can either let it take control and punch that person or you can take back the control and calm down to avoid any further consequences.
A psychologist Daniel Kahneman explained in his famous book, “Thinking, fast and slow”, that there are two systems in your brain. System 1 is primitive but fast, while System 2 is slow but smart. An instant automated reaction to anything is an outcome of your System 1, whereas a counter-thinking which offers more reliable reaction is done by your slower System 2.
An urge to punch someone while fighting is an instant reaction you’re hardwired to perform. However, keeping calm and thinking about consequences before acting out of emotions will take practice and experience. This is exactly why you need to control your emotions before they control you.
In order to control your emotions, you will first have to understand them. Before understanding the emotions, let us look at how emotions work to get a better insight. In case chemistry scares you, feel free to jump down to the next section.
Chemistry of Emotions
There are billions of neurons in your brain that are transmitting the information to the body. In order to bridge the gap between those neurons, the chemical signals are required. Those chemicals which are responsible to do the same are called neurotransmitters and the chemical signals are called hormones.
Your emotions depend on the levels of neurotransmitters in your head. Fluctuations in the levels of hormones result in the fluctuation of neurotransmitters. This results in the activation of different parts of your brain that are responsible for different feelings and emotions. Below are some hormones along with the Emotions they trigger in your brain.
- Adrenaline: Adrenaline is a fight or flight hormone which dilates your pupil, increases the blood flow, and raises your heartbeats. Adrenaline is produced in exciting and stressful situations. It is triggered by emotions involving love, anger, or resentment.
- Dopamine: It is a pleasure hormone and an addiction that your brain craves. Dopamine allows you to seek pleasure in listening to music, drinking, sex etc. It is triggered by emotions like lust or motivation.
- Oxytocin: Also known as “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin releases when you’re close to someone. It is produced when you are making new social bonds or if you believe in someone. Oxytocin is triggered by emotions including trust, happiness, and love.
- Serotonin: It is a mood-balancing hormone that also regulates your digestion and sleep cycle. It is associated with your well-being and happiness. It is triggered by happiness and nausea.
- GABA: Being a calming neurotransmitter, it can calm you down by reducing the rate in which neurons fire. GABA is produced to control emotions like fear and anxiety.
- Endorphins: It is a euphoria hormone. It is produced during exercise or when you’re hurt in order to reduce pain. It is also responsible for excitement during intimacy. The emotions that usually trigger endorphins are pain and stress.
Understanding Your Emotions
A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that there are total of 27 human emotions. These emotions decide how you react to any person or a situation. Your mood at any given time can be depicted as either one of these emotions or their combination.
You do not have to control all your emotions. Since happiness is the most common emotions of all, it doesn’t require any control. Fortunately, being happy can’t harm you. Similarly, being surprised is an emotion you can’t control. You can pretend not to be surprised by something, but if you’re surprised, you just can’t help it.
Let us look at a list of emotions that may harm you and need to be controlled.
- Anger: A strong feeling towards something or someone you think has done you wrong. It shows your boundaries and passions.
- Disappointment: It occurs when something doesn’t happen the way you were hoping or expecting it to be. It shows that you still care.
- Anxiety: As per the book named “Emotional Equations” by Chip Conley, anxiety is the product of uncertainty and powerlessness. It shows you’re a realist.
- Regret: It happens when you feel disappointed for something as you lost some opportunity. It shows you’ve taken the ownership.
- Resentment: Resentment is a feeling of bitterness for not being treated equally. It shows you’re a rebel and not allowing life to be as it is.
- Sadness: It is the most basic emotion. Sadness is unhappiness because of anything bad. It shows the depth of your personality and empathy for others.
- Guilt: It is an acceptance of doing something you shouldn’t have done. It shows you what you do not want to be.
- Shame: It is a negative evaluation of self, caused by the consciousness of guilt. Shame is a moral or social emotion that shows you need to listen to yourself.
Master Your Emotions
Whether it’s your career, relationships, or any other day-to-day activity, they’re all affected by your emotions. The way you interact or react depends on how you feel.
Emotions are powerful. They can make you do things you never intended to do. It has been observed over the years that the majority of homicides are part of the crime of passion. They were not premeditated. Same is the case with divorces, suicides, or even rapes. That is why it is important to control your emotions before they control you.
Here are some effective ways that will help you control your emotions and master them.
- Decode your emotion: Rather than acting out of it, take some time to truly understand the cause of the emotion. Once you figure it out, you’ll be able to picture the outcome that you want out of the situation. This will help you act smarty instead of being an emotional fool.
- Do not hold it: Though it is important to think before you act, you need to ACT. If you keep hiding your emotions, you’ll do nothing but let them over-power you to react at the worst time.
- Acknowledge your emotion: Remember that emotion can’t be wrong, however, your reaction to that situation could be. Considering it wrong will prevent you from having an honest conversation with yourself.
- Use affirmations: Whenever I feel I’m about to react in a way I shouldn’t, I repeat to myself, “I can easily handle it, I’m stronger than this!” And it helps me think rationally instead of acting out of emotion. Create your affirmations to develop control.
- Meditate: I know it’s pretty common advice and you must have heard it already, but it is one of the most efficient ways to control your emotions. Meditation helps you focus by reducing stress and increasing patience.
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