We all have emotions. Happy, sad, angry, miffed, excited…all emotions. We feel emotions in different situations, around different people and in different ways. Sometimes it purely depends on the situation as to how you will react emotion wise, other times it depends on the day. Example: That movie or commercial that always pulls at your heart-strings–sometimes when you watch it you feel that emotional connection and respond by really thinking about the theme and acknowledging it, other times you see it and end up bawling for 15 minutes (and no, not the cute cry…the ugly cry, snot and all). How we chose to process those emotions is where things sometimes get a little tricky.
The following is an emotion wheel that I thought would be fun to use pictures of our dog Doc showing some of the different emotions. Pets are always great at helping people regulate their own emotions and studies have shown that pets are also great therapy.
When something happens in your life that does strike an emotional chord, learning how to react can be a real challenge, we have to learn how to play those emotional chords. Yesterday a friend of mines young son was at school and injured himself during gym by running into the corner of a wall. Joe’s injury required that he get 5 stitches in his temple area. Joe did not cry, nor did his mother, yet when she contacted me about his injury she explained how hard it was for her to stay strong and not to cry so that Joe would be able to stay brave. It is hard seeing someone you love hurt or in pain and in some situations the best thing that you can do is play your own emotional chords very softly so that the other person’s emotions do not escalate. My friend did a perfect job keeping her own emotions in-check because they helped her son stay calm. Later in the evening when Joe’s father arrived at home Joe showed that he had a great sense of humor about the injury by jokingly telling his dad that “he took on the whole class” and that the cut was all he got out of it 🙂
Part of our way of dealing with our own emotions depends on how we chose to look at life. If you look at life and think that the world is out to get you and that life in general sucks, you emotions will also portray that. If you try to stay upbeat and positive, even when life hands you the occasional lemon, your emotions will portray that.
Our emotions and moods also rub off on those around us…or other people’s emotions can rub off on us, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. I have one friend that stands out as always being happy (well, 98% of the time at least). He has a great sense of humor and loves to make other people laugh and have fun. If you are in a funk of a mood that day, within just a few minutes around him your entire day will brighten and your emotions will be uplifted. A smile and a laugh really help in keeping emotions in-check. On the other hand I have a friend who is always a “Debbie-Downer” she is either mad, angry, ticked-off or irritated all of the time…gosh, imagine how much stress that puts on your body to be feeling those emotions all of the time.!? Even when something super positive happens in her life, rather than being happy and excited that it will happen, she choses to look at it and say “well, it wont last.” Your life and emotions all come down to your own choices. Chose to be happy, chose to be sad…it is all up to you. Yes, sometimes people are actually not able to control their own emotions which can lead to depression and other health issues, but counseling & some medications (depending on each individual situation) can really help balance out the different emotions.
Years ago I had a friend that would call me in tears at least three times a week and tell me the horrible things her then boyfriend (now husband) would say to her when they were fighting or arguing. After a few months of this I finally stopped her in the middle of one of her venting sessions and told her that the next time she called me she needed to tell me at least 3 positive things that he said or done for her before she started telling me about all of the negative things. This made her stop and actually look at all of the positive things that he said and did, which helped her not focus on the negative things as much. A few months later their arguing and fighting had lessened and their communication had opened. After one of their arguments where he had said something horrible to her she finally asked him why he says such mean things to her when they fight and his answer was “you hurt my feelings so I just wanted to say the meanest thing I could think of so your feelings would hurt too.” This made her realize that there were two sets of emotions in the relationship, and when she only focused on hers and he only focused on his their relationship sucked, but when they took the little time to focus on each others emotions their relationship became much stronger.
This leads me to think of a variety of questions, that hopefully also make you think:
Have you ever said something to just purposely hurt someone elses feelings?
How often do you stop to think about how your emotions affect the people around you?
Do you let other people’s emotions rub off on you?
How do you stay positive in a negative situation?
How do you stay strong when your emotions are tested?
How often do you just stop to think about other people’s emotions?
On days when you are sad have you found anything that helps make you feel emotionally better? An emotional outlet that works for you? Reading, baking, exercise, pet therapy?
How do you choose to play your emotions songs?
Do you find that little things often times “get” to you? If so, how do you deal with them?
If you could choose three negative emotions to work on how you react to them, what would they be?
If you could choose three positive emotions to use more and make stronger in your daily life, what would they be?
Have you ever been so emotional that you have said or done something you later regret?
Have you ever transferred your emotions about a situation or about yourself onto someone else? Example: You are mad because you got in a car accident and you yell at the other driver, a few days later you realize that it was your own actions that caused the accident, so really the person you were mad at was yourself, yet you took it out on the other driver.
Have you ever let your own emotions hold you back in life?
Do you help others when they are on an emotional low?
Are their people in your life that you can look at and say “Susie is always happy” or “Jake is just a downer”? How do you let their examples mold the emotions in your life?
As you have aged have you become better at controlling your own emotions?
Do you think that television is affecting the emotions of generations of young people? Does seeing people get angry, scream, swear and turn a table over teach young people negative emotions or negative ways of dealing with their emotions?
Who are the three people in your life that you admire the most for their emotions and emotional support?