This is a continuation of Seeking Balance in Managing Our Emotions.
Accept responsibility for your emotions. Only then will you learn to face the reasons they were triggered and manage your responses to others. They may be influenced by hereditary factors and family dynamics or experiences beyond your control. Only you, however, can take responsibility for your ability to strategize and make changes in how you cope with your own emotional reactions.
“But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.” Gal.6:4-5
Reflect on I John 1:6-10; Revelation 3:19-20; Psalm 51
Consider biological factors. Hereditary and hormonal differences exist in our lives, and different stages of life can bring about biochemical changes in our bodies that may require medical attention. If natural coping strategies do not work such as those taught by a psychologist or pastor, consider alternative medical approaches, and certainly get a medical exam and blood work to rule out problems such as diabetes, thyroid problems, or many other medical conditions that can affect your emotional well-being.
Reflect on Genesis 1:29-30; Psalm 147:3; Proverbs 17:22; Jeremiah 8:22; Matthew 9:12; Colossians 4:14
Respond, don’t react. This will be hard. Reactions are automatic; responses require thought. Think over the big picture and evaluate your best response. This gives time for your limbic system and it’s “fight or flight response” to settle down. It also engages the cortex of your brain, and you will be a better parent, spouse, or friend as a result. You will be able to refrain from saying things you would regret later. In other words, do not correct others or discuss important things while angry.
“A fool’s anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor.” Proverbs 12:16
Reflect on: James 1:19-20; Romans 12:2; 15:1,18; 21:23-24; Eph. 4:26
Set a positive emotional goal. Select the opposite emotion to what you feel, then contemplate what may help you move in that direction. For example, if angry, how can you move toward peace? Perhaps you take a break to contemplate a relaxing fishing trip. Or when depressed and you want to experience more joy, contact with a distant family member or friend. Simply remembering the blessing of some key people in your life’s journey can redirect depression.
Reflect on Galatians 5:22-26; Philippians 4:4-9; John 14:27-28
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:13-14
Next week we will finish with part 3 of Seeking Balance in Managing Our Emotions.
Modified from article originally written for the Hammonton Gazette, October 2018.