5 Ways to Manage Emotions that Distort Perception

Emotion distorts the way you see yourself, others, opportunities, and the world. You manage emotions; you don’t control them. (Excluding emotional outburst which should be controlled.)

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” attributed to Anais Nin.

You manage emotions indirectly. Image of a curvy road.

Emotions distort perception:

Emotions predict the future. Sad people see a sad future. Discouraged people see problems. Fearful people see threats around every corner.

Disappointment with one thing colors many things. An argument at home leads to withdrawal at work.

You feel competent when you’re happy and incompetent when you’re sad. Happy people try things; sad people don’t.

You feel like you can charge hell with a squirt gun when you’re exhilarated, even though it’s not a good idea.

Feelings follow actons. Image of a group of wooden pawns with one out in front.

5 ways to manage emotions:

#1. You feel what you focus on. You feel stress when you focus on stress. (But don’t hide like a child playing peekaboo either.)

#2. You manage emotions with acceptance. Don’t fight painful emotions. Accept them. Acceptance takes power from painful emotion and gives it to you.

#3. You manage emotions indirectly. Stress goes up when confronted directly. Stress goes up when you tell someone not to stress about it. You manage stress by first noticing it and then by doing something else. Many choose deep breathing. Others walk or listen to music. Some engage in self-defeating behaviors like alcohol and drugs.

Tip: Lower stress by focusing only on things within your control.

#4. You manage emotions with rest. Tired people lean toward painful emotions. It’s hard to feel powerful after disappointment.

#5. You manage emotions with action. Act your way into feelings. Don’t feel your way into action.

You are an emotional person; you deal with emotional people. Emotions aren’t something to be cured, but don’t let them steer the ship either.

What suggestions do you have for managing emotions?

Go deeper:

The Secret to Managing How you Feel

Emotion Management Strategies: 6 Methods to Try