According to psychological experts, you can’t control your feelings but you can control how you react to your feelings.
If this is true, then it has to be one of the hardest things for any person, especially if you’ve never been taught how to do that.
Along with the good, bad things in life happen all the time – and that’s another thing we have no control over.
We don’t like it, and we never really anticipate them – but ever so often, they do come along and sometimes rock us to our core.
How we deal with whatever comes along can sometimes make or break us. A single reaction can make it better or 1 000 times worse.
Whenever unexpected/unplanned events in life happen, emotions can get overwhelming and can affect our ability to think and act rationally.
We sometimes go straight into panic mode and end up ultimately making things worse for ourselves by making the wrong decisions. That’s where our emotional intelligence really gets put to the test.
I have learned from experience that when emotions are high, it’s never a safe time to make potentially everlasting decisions.
Even when I think it’s safe to do so at the moment, in hindsight, it never is because I almost always regret making any sort of decision during moments like that.
When these moments occur (and they will), it’s best to take a minute and pause to find your calm.
Once I’m calm, I start thinking clearer – and when I think clearly, I make the best decisions for my life.
Emotions can and most probably will cloud your judgement, so always watch yourself in these emotionally-charged moments.
A trick I have learned is to take as much time as I need from the situation to reflect, process my feelings, clear my head of all the noise and calm my emotions.
I take as much time as I need to get to a point where I feel I can make a clear decision that is not informed solely by one emotion.
The time with my own thoughts allows me to reflect.
I then evaluate and scrutinise my options – and yes, we always have options. We may sometimes be too stuck on the problem to see the options available to us, but we always have options.
Allowing ourselves to feel our emotions the way we’re naturally meant to helps with this process; yet, we run from it, denying the chance to really get to the core of an issue and learning valuable lessons on the way.
Unless you are well and truly in tune with yourself, reacting without having at least one conversation with yourself, even a quick short one, can be dangerous.
There’s a difference between reflecting and ruminating.
Don’t use the moment to talk yourself down even more; that won’t help you.
Reflection is purposefully processing (thinking about) our experiences with the intent of learning something.
Rumination is when we think over and over about something in the past or future with negative emotions directly linked to the thought. Focus on solutions here!
Bad days will come along when things just keep going wrong. When you do find yourself in one of these moments again, pause, reflect and then move.
• Paula Christoph’s column concentrates on positive and inspirational write-ups every second Friday in the New Era newspaper.