By Lisa Cypers Kamen.
Have you noticed the bad rap that emotion has been getting lately? Every time you flip on the TV, watch a movie or turn the page in a book, it seems like the emotional character is labeled as the irrational one who’s not strong enough to think things through.
In your day-to-day life, anytime you reveal how you really feel, there’s always someone who feels instantly uncomfortable around you. It’s even true with the people you’re closest with: How many times has your anger or disappointment led a loved one to flee the room or prematurely end a discussion?
So where does this bad rap come from? Fear. Emotions can be scary, and of all the emotions out there, the most intimidating ones for most people are the negative ones: Anger, annoyance, disappointment. The intimidation factor changes how other people react to our emotions, but it also changes how we show emotions ourselves: How often do we feel the need to hide our anger or tone it down so that we don’t push away other people? Avoiding our frustration might make the situation easier for a few minutes, but denying our feelings can do major damage down the road. It’s the last thing we should be doing!
If a situation has made you angry, the healthiest response is to let yourself feel pissed off! Stomp your feet, cry, talk a million miles a minute or do whatever it takes for you to vent. Sure, being pissed off might intimidate a few people around us, but the result is guaranteed to be much scarier if you choose to harbor your ill feelings. Countless studies have shown that people who suppress painful or undesirable emotions end up experiencing physical consequences – and, ironically, larger doses of those painful emotions they were trying to avoid in the first place!
By letting ourselves be angry, frustrated or pissed off, we begin the crucial process of acknowledging and working through our feelings. And that’s a big step toward improving our emotional health and overall happiness.
So the next time you find yourself overcome with anger or negative emotions, don’t censor them. Tell the people around you why you feel the way you do, and then begin to work through those feelings. The people around you might be intimidated at first, but imagine how scary the situation could end up if you suppress your feelings instead of rationalizing them. When you look at emotion as something worth embracing, there’s a positive side to each and every one of them – even being angry or pissed off!
Happiness is an inside job. ®
In order to control your emotions, you’ve first got to acknowledge them. This exercise should help you get in touch with your feelings. Start by finding a quiet place devoid of distractions like TV or the radio. Then, let the events of your day replay as if your life is the subject of a TV show.
Pay attention to how your mind and body feel when you recount particular events. If your breathing gets shallower or your back stiffens when you’re thinking about a certain part of your day, make a mental note. Conversely, if you feel warm and at ease while thinking of one particular moment, make a note of that, as well.
Now, think of the emotions that were connected to these changes in your body. By practicing this exercise, you will begin to build up an emotional awareness that will enable you to show your emotions in a healthy way.