Your Feelings and Emotions Do Not Have To Control You
As we wrote in the previous blog post on How Emotional Stress Impacts the Perceptions of Leaders, your moods impact the way you perceive and value the inputs of the people you are dealing with.
Emotions are powerful. They dictate your moods and, if left unchecked, compel you to react instead of responding to situations, events, and people. Gaining control over your emotions will enable you to become mentally stronger and empower you to respond to situations, events, and people instead of automatically and emotionally reacting to them.
Fortunately, regulating one’s emotions is a skill and, like any skill, can be practiced, enhanced, and improved through effort, patience, and persistence.
Regulating, or managing, your emotions does not mean suppressing them. Especially if they are intensively and deeply felt emotions. Sure, if something is just a little upsetting, you can choose to ignore such a feeling and move on. But if you attempt to suppress strongly felt emotions on the pretense that you do not want to offend somebody, then you are the one most likely to end up hurt and wounded.
Unaddressed negative emotions do not get solved by themselves. The saying that “time heals all wounds” is definitely not true. Time may heal some wounds. But in most instances the passage of the time merely takes the edge and sharpness off acute pain. In fact, suppressed feelings and emotions usually lead to negative coping strategies, such as excessive food intake, alcohol, or drugs. None of these are good decision-making or rational thinking strategies. All three of them lead to greater emotional stress in one’s life.
While it is important to recognize and acknowledge your feelings and emotions, it is more important to recognize, acknowledge, and deeply understand that your feelings and emotions do not have to control you.
One of the best ways to prevent stress, especially emotional stress, from impacting decision making and thinking is to regularly stop and ask yourself this one simple question:
In what situations and interpersonal interactions do I regularly find my emotions and reactions working against me and my best interests?
Truly understanding the answer to this question — and then taking proactive steps to prevent emotional hijacking in such situations and interactions — is a sure-fire route to better decisions, better thinking, and better outcomes.
This article is partially excerpted from my award-winning book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes: How to go from Mind Full to Mindful Leadership, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. The book is the recipient of a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association for bringing “a comprehensive plan of action for improving life through recognizing decision-making patterns that don’t serve us well, don’t enrich our lives, and don’t bring us to our goals and dreams.”