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.
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.
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?
The Secret to Managing How you Feel
Emotion Management Strategies: 6 Methods to Try
Dan–you provided us with many great suggestions and insights about emotions.
I manage my emotions best when I’m centered and present. Meditation helps.
Thanks for bringing three useful suggestions to the mix. The idea of practicing presence speaks to me in particular.
One of the key concepts of emotional intelligence is that we judge ourselves by intent but others by impact. Since we know what we were trying to do, we assume the best. Since we feel the emotional impact of what others were doing, we assume the worst. I find this especially true with emails: we have an emotional response and we respond in the moment. Mostly because it is email, so we think we have to respond immediately.
I have learned to recognize that kneejerk reaction to emails (especially from certain colleagues who just have that knack). Instead of responding, I close the email and go for a short walk. Even just to the bathroom and back can be enough to clear my mind. I then re-read the email to figure out what the person is asking, not what they said and not what I read into it.
I see both managing and controlling emotions in your insights. It helps to understand the way we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. It’s also useful to separate ourselves from something that triggers emotion before we respond. Thanks for jumping in today.
Thanks for some great wisdom Dan! I have learned that we all differ in our wiring for emotions. For some, emotion is forward, with action or cognition following; others only reach emotion after acting and/or thinking. Self-awareness is vital and you have helped us grow that with this post. One other (somewhat related) thought: comparing ourselves with others often accompanies emotion and is unhelpful unless we have a reading on the differences in emotional wiring between us. For example, if I am more emotion-forward and you are more cognition-forward, I won’t gain from comparing myself to you unless I take those differences into account. I think this overlaps with Jennifer’s observation and your response above.
Thanks for adding your insights today, Mark. You add an important component of managing emotions, self-awareness. It’s pretty hard to manage something you aren’t aware of.
Comparison is a challenge. As you indicate, it can be useful. It can also be incriminating. It seems useful to understand others and one way we do that is comparison. It’s important, as you indicate, not to condemn differences that fall within the realm of non-moral areas.
Love the wisdom in the post, Dan, but also the great insights from your readers!!
Thanks Glen. You encourage me. Cheers!