Now you know that anxiety management depends on your ability to control yourself. In this post, we will look closely at emotions and how they play into self-control. Here are the four topics we will look at regarding emotions:
- The Four Emotions
- The Purpose of Emotions
- Stress Management Tools
The Four Emotions
Researchers Darwin Nelson and Gary Low, in their book Emotional Intelligence: Achieving Academic and Career Excellence, identify the four emotions as happy, sad, angry and scared. These emotions are recognized by people all over the world. Nelson and Low feel that it is important for all of us to learn how to understand our emotions and experience them in the present, not in the past. Sometimes we allow emotions, especially emotions that were experienced in the past, to overrule activities occurring in the present. If emotions are labeled quickly and accurately in the present, we can choose appropriate actions. The ability to label quickly and correctly an emotionally-charged situation allows an individual to choose how to act. This choice of action is what we call self-control – the ability to carefully and accurately choose your actions.
The Purpose of Emotions
Emotions are an important part of the human experience. Emotions guide you when dealing with everyday situations such as facing danger, persisting in achieving a goal, and even selecting a career. Each emotion tells you to act. Long ago, human ancestors learned the importance of quickly analyzing potentially dangerous situations and deciding whether it was worthwhile to stay and fight -(aggression) or to run away and flee to a safer place (deference). This ancient fight versus flight behavior served to keep them alive. The same ancient fight or flight instinct is a real problem in today’s society. In today’s world, stressful situations demand that you learn a better, more practical way of dealing with them. This better way of acting is called assertion.
Fear, anxiety, worry, and anger are all common emotions related to self-control. What do all of these emotions have in common? They are all triggered by stress. Whenever you experience a lot of stress, these emotions begin to haunt you and take away from your ability to control yourself.
What is stress? Stress is an unwanted psychological or physical reaction triggered by your mind’s inability to deal appropriately with a challenge. The important thing to remember about stress is that it is a choice. You choose how to act in stressful situations. Did you ever notice that sometimes situations are stressful to you, but they are not stressful to your friends? Why is this? The answer is simple: Stress is nothing more than your own reaction to a situation.
Stress Management Tools
Because unwanted stress reactions involve both your mind and body, a successful strategy for defeating stress must address both physical and mental aspects of the problem. The best approaches to dealing with stress require using the following tools:
Replacing a destructive thought with an affirmative one takes dedication, persistence, and patience. In order to unlearn a destructive assumption and replace it with an affirmative one, you must be willing to work toward a specific goal every day for several weeks. Once you make this commitment, your chances of success increase dramatically.
Many of the unwanted stress reactions you experience are the result of your inability to take control. Either you feel you must control events, situations, and people in your life in order to succeed, or you believe that you have absolutely no control over the course of your own life. The truth is that there are some things that you can control and others you cannot. The most important thing to remember is that you cannot control others; you can only control yourself.
Relaxation is a crucial part of stress management. It is an effective way to stop the cycle of stress build up in your work and personal life. The stress-reducing effect of relaxation improves your outlook and makes it easier to practice affirmative thoughts and positive self-talk. More importantly, it gives you the clarity of thought and strength you need to perform effectively. Relaxation encompasses many types of activities.
Taking Care of Your Body
No matter what your age or level of fitness, you can benefit from committing yourself to a regular fitness program. Before doing so, you should consult with a physician to determine the level and type of activities you can do safely. It is crucial to manage your time so you can exercise on a regular basis. Most experts recommend at least three hours of exercise each week. By adopting this habit, you will see improvement in your ability to handle stressful situations.
Thanks for tuning into our post in this series on Anxiety Management and Self-Control. If you’d like to learn more about how The Anxiety Management Program works, download our PDF brochure here.