Last update: June 26, 2016
Emotions are the interaction of thoughts with physical sensations; for many people, they are synonymous with fear, as they do not know how to manage them and opt for strategies, such as engaging in other activities, to avoid facing the problem.
Emotions are courageous, as they offer a reward, but only if we are able to deal with them effectively; thanks to them, we can learn a lot about ourselves and our needs, because they help us to get in tune with others and to obtain great successes; for example, knowing how to control stress greatly improves your quality of life, because you will have a healthy immune system, you do not get sick so often and you will have much healthier relationships.
How to identify emotions
To identify emotions, the first thing to do is to know what you are feeling and to choose between four basic feelings: anger, sadness, happiness and anxiety.
If you have thoughts about the future and what can go wrong, with negative physical sensations like accelerated heartbeat, tight muscles and jaw, you need to ask yourself what you are afraid of. It is an emotion related to anxiety.
If you have negative thoughts about the past and a feeling of tiredness and heaviness, you want to cry and have difficulty concentrating, you have to ask yourself what you have lost. It is an emotion related to sadness.
If you have thoughts that focus on how you or your values have been undermined, if you have physical sensations similar to anxiety, speeding of the heart and tightness in the chest, ask yourself how you and your values have been attacked. It is an emotion related to anger.
If you have thoughts that focus on what you have gained and you are pervaded by a feeling of calm, maybe just laugh, ask yourself what you have achieved. It is an emotion related to happiness.
How to manage emotions
Once you recognize and understand your emotions, as well as those of those around you, you need to keep the following aspects in mind, in order to learn how to manage them:
Try to determine and understand the origin of these feelings, in your answers or those of those in front of you.
Talk about your feelings and those of those in front of you; don't try to deny or repress them, talk directly about what you are feeling in that moment.
Express your feelings in a non-confrontational way, through the use of messages such as "I am angry because ...", instead of "You made me angry because ..."; explain your feelings without accusing anyone, because if you choose the second message, you will center the blame on who is in front of you, leading them to give a defensive or hostile response.
Recognize the feelings of those in front of you as legitimate, as they are as real and valid as yours; furthermore, it is a way of releasing these feelings and dealing with the matter thoroughly.
Don't react to emotional outbursts, try to control your feelings; you must listen and understand the strength of the feelings of the speaker, but do not react emotionally to yours, as it is likely that there will be an escalation of emotions and, consequently, a conflict of the whole.
Try to stay calm and, if necessary, temporarily leave the room you are in, to think and calm down and thus plan an effective response instead of reacting automatically, which can make the situation worse.
Use symbolic gestures, such as excuses, and even handshakes, as they can be very helpful in expressing respect and turning off negative emotions.
In highly emotional conflicts, choose a conflict resolution mechanism that deals directly with emotions, like dialogue processes.
Images courtesy of danielito311