On this post, we continue to dive into how to manage our emotions effectively. Click here for Part 1.

Focus on goals.  Making choices to behave in the right manner, independent of your mood or feelings, is important in many situations.  Besides parenting, work settings which focus on customer service provide many examples, such as a waitress who refrains from throwing the soup on an irritating customer.  

Reflect on:  Proverbs 22:6; Rom. 12:1-2; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; I John 4:11-21

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; Romans 15:13-14

Study role models.  Find people you admire, particularly the way they generally handle their emotions.  Comparison can be a trap that brings you down, but learning from a role model and growing to imitate them is what children, apprentices and disciples have done for millennia.  

Reflect on:  I Corinthians 4:15-17; 11:1; Philippians 3:17; II Thessalonians 3:7-9;Matthew 28:19-20 

Learn assertive communication.  You may choose to remain silent, but acknowledging and expressing your feelings in an appropriate manner is an important part of emotional health.  Remember, assertion is not aggression or arrogance.  It is simply confident and straightforward communication.

Reflect on: Jeremiah 1:6-9; Ephesians 4:15; Acts 4:13; 18:26-28; Titus 2:1-10

Distract yourself.  When you find yourself ruminating about something upsetting, a distraction technique can help.  You can redirect your mind to something more positive and rewarding. An example might be learning to give thanks or to focus on what you are grateful for in general.  

Reflect on:  Philippians 4:8; Hebrews 11:32-12:4;  II Corinthians 10:3-5; Psalm 19:1

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

Value love.  Whether friendship or marriage, parent or child, an unselfish love is to be valued highly for the sake of one’s emotional health.  Paradoxically, it is by tuning into others, not ourselves, that our own need for love becomes fulfilled.  Love will motivate the repair of broken relationships and unity with others.  It will also bring emotional balance to your life with the fruit of having other positive emotional experiences.

Reflect on:  I Corinthians 13:1-13; I John 4:7-21, Heb. 10:24-25; Eph.3:14-19, 4:11-16; John 13:34-35; Romans 13:8-10

Ronald S. Newman, Ph.D. is a psychologist in Mays Landing on Route 50 who can be reached at: write2balance@gmail.com, or 609-567-9022.   

This article was originally published on the Hammonton Gazette, October 2018 and has been modified into a new format.

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