Do you manage your emotions or do your emotions manage you?
Oftentimes when people find themselves reacting to situations in ways they regret, it is because they are acting based on off of how they feel. Put another way, their emotions are in control. Have you ever texted your ex when you were feeling lonely only to immediately regret it? Have you ever eaten your favorite dessert when you were feeling depressed only to later wish you hadn’t? Without even realizing it, you may have been in what is sometimes referred to as “emotion mind”. Emotion mind is a state of mind where you are making decisions re-actively and only based on your emotional state without much consideration for logic or reason. Put simply, your emotions are in control and you are not.
Another state of mind that people sometimes find themselves in is Rational Mind. When you are in Rational Mind, you are thinking logically and task focused, using facts and research to influence your decisions. In my opinion, Rational Mind isn’t the ideal place to find yourself either. Life is more complicated and complex than simple logic and reason. Emotions tell us important things about ourselves, our surroundings and our lives. One could even argue that they serve an evolutionary purpose. For example, when cavemen saw a lion, they felt fear. As a result, they ran away. If they didn’t have that emotion of fear and the fight or flight response, they all would have gotten eaten and humanity wouldn’t exist today. I always liken this state of mind to the character of Sheldon from the television show “The Big Bang Theory”. Sheldon is hyper literal. If he were to ask you how you were doing and you responded with “I’m cool” he would then proceed to hand you a coat. The reason this character is so funny on the show is due to how his hyper-rationality limits him functionally as a person.
The final and ideal state of mind to be in is referred to as Wise Mind. Wise mind is a place mentally where you are in tune with your emotional state as well as aware of logic and reason. However, neither your emotions or your rationality are in control. You are. The Venn Diagram below illustrates how Wise Mind is meant to be a combination of Rational Mind and Emotion Mind.
By learning to notice when you are in Emotion Mind, you can empower yourself to react to situations in a different way. You can make the choice to try to find Wise Mind. You can start to manage your emotions rather than have your emotions manage you.
Having trouble finding Wise Mind? Noticing your emotions are more in control of you than you would like? Email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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