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6/6 Healthy Ways to Handle Emotions for Total Wholeness

So far we have been looking at the usual ways people handle their emotions, the unhealthy ways we try and ignore or force emotions ways from us.  Everyone has emotions.  Remember you really don’t have a choice in which emotions you feel.  Any emotion is neither good nor bad in itself.  Part of your journey to Healthy Emotions for Total Wholeness is to really be honest with yourself about what you are feeling

As an adult, you are now responsible for your own life.  True circumstanc3es of your past have contributed to the way you are today ….. but you now have a choice.  You are no longer that little boy or little girl caught in a situation you cannot change.  It’s your choice as an adult what you do with your life now.  Are you going to continue to be a victim or a survivor of what you went through as a child.

Now, the journey becomes: how do I handle my feelings in a healthy way?

A.  There are 4 main steps to restoring emotions back to health:

1.  The first step is to LISTEN to and be aware of your emotions.

This means to recognize your emotional reactions.  I know this seems like simple advice but many people haven’t been aware that they are experiencing an emotion.

Some people may have physical and mental sensations that show the presence of an emotion.  This might include sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, an upset stomach, tension headache etc.  Learn to see the signs that ‘an emotion’ is happening.

It can also be hard to concentrate when strong emotion is present.  Becoming aware of your feelings may take some practice.  For example, could you list 4 emotions you are feeling right now?

2.  The second step is to ACKNOWLEDGE and recognize the emotions you are feeling.

 Learn to identify them and put correct labels on them including their intensity. Our next two posts will help in this process.  ‘How do I handle my Emotions?’ Also the ‘Feeling Words’  post will benefit seeing what levels of emotions you are facing.

3.  The third step is to ADMIT and ACCEPT the emotions you feel. 

This may mean some practice to break off old habit patterns that you developed to deal with them.

4. Lastly DECIDE what to do with your emotions.

Begin to look for ‘whys’ and take responsibility for what’s going on inside or your.  Learn to confess, release, ventilate and express emotions in healthier ways.

B.  We must learn to Express our Feelings

1.  Sharing our feelings gives us a release

As soon as I share with someone that I am ‘annoyed’, I will be feeling less annoyed, especially if they can just listen without defence or attack.  This is called ‘catharsis’. 

The only way to deal with emotions in healthy ways (once we have produced them), is to share them, speak them out aloud.  This is not gossip, it is essential mental health.  Of course, I need to choose someone I can depend on will keep confidences.  We weren’t born knowing this, we have to learn and practice it.

There are only two ways of dealing with emotions in healthy ways.  First is to verbalise our feelings (short term management).  Second is to change our thinking (renew the mind, Rom. 12:2), thus causing our emotions to change (long term ‘fix’).

In a sense, God is ‘familiar’ to us.  We can understand some of His reactions to events (such as being upset with disobedient Israel).  This is because we have a soul area that includes intellect, memory, imagination, creativity and emotion – just like God.

2.  We can learn to be ‘Assertive’ with each other

Secular psychologists have repackaged these truths by what they call ‘assertiveness’.

Following is an assertive statement.  It comes in three parts.

a)  “I feel ……”, (simple statement of feelings)

b)  “because you ……”, (statement of complaint)

c)  “would you please …….”. (request for resolution)

If you wish to learn more about this topic of Assertiveness, catch my other blog where we are talking about Communication skills:   www.conflictsolutions.mentorsnotebook.com/blog

3.  It takes time to get in touch with your emotions

Listening to, exploring and ‘ventilating’ our emotions takes practice and wisdom.  For those of us who are not used to listening to our emotions, it may be a painful experience.  Approach the experience in a non-judgemental way, without self-condemnation, or being over-sensitive.  Hear what these emotional ‘life helpers’ are saying to you.

2.  Learn to give your Emotions to the Lordship of Jesus

The first step is to recognise and admit (meaning “to confess and repent”) the condition of our emotions. The way we handle our emotions can draw us closer to God.  On the other hand, our emotions can push us further and further away from Him – in a living hell of our own emotional cycles and reactions.

C.  Conclusions:

As we can see, our feelings are designed to be our ‘tools’, or servants to help clarify what is happening to us moment by moment.  They are ‘sounding devices’ to help stop really serious psychological problems from developing; valuable allies as we learn how God intended them to work.

In our next post, we shall present a Personal Exercise for you on ‘How well do I Handle my Emotions’.  May this help you in your journey to find Total Wholeness!

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author

www.totalwholeness.mentorsnotebook.com/blog

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