Emotions are part of life. They arise from intense reactions to situations or people and can overtake an individual. They can be good and bad depending on how the person harnesses them. Individuals who are able to balance their emotional reactions with their intellect and reason are better able to cope with issues and utilize the emotion in a positive way.
Stoic traditions tried to suppress the idea of emotion and worship reason. Star Trek’s Mr. Spock and Mr. Data both were characters that forever immortalized the idea of emotion and reason. The Vulcan, Mr Spock trying to suppress his emotion and enhance logic at all cost. The character saw emotion as something detrimental to the pursuit of logical exploration of situations. As the character evolved, the good of emotion was viewed when used in proper balance. Mr. Data, an android, pursued emotion and wished to experience it. His character eventually was able to experience emotion through an “emotion chip” that allowed him to feel anger, frustration and fear. He had to learn to channel these emotions with his reason.
In both cases, the value of emotion is expressed as something important to the human condition. Emotion can be detrimental to logic, it can cause havoc, but when utilized in balance with reason and logic it is a very important part of human existence.
Sadness, anger, love and other feelings are all critical to humanity. Humanity cannot exist without these emotions.
Sadness is a key emotion that lets others know when something is not right with someone. It is a reaction to loss and is experienced through grief and mourning. It is forever tied to the emotion of love. Love is an important emotion because it expresses attachment and need. As social beings, attachments are key. Every relationship has attachment and mutual need. When this attachment is broken, grief results. So as one can see grief and love are tied together in this fallen world.
Anger is an emotion that reacts to injustice or at least perceived injustice. It is critical in balancing right and wrong and protecting others. It is again important to relationships and maintaining them. Of love and sadness, anger receives more negative press because it is the emotion that is most misused. It leads to fighting, violence and war when not properly balanced yet its importance to awaken an individual to awareness of something wrong or harmful to a situation is critical in human evolution.
These three emotions are all important to maintaining and keeping relationships and understanding their role in society. Without them, attachments and relationships are merely cold calculations. There are no true enduring connections. However, when these emotions are not balanced with reason, they can cause despair, lust, and rage. Hence balance is the key to emotions and reason in everyday life.
Learning to balance emotions are no easy task. Mr Data in Star Trek had to learn this. He once told Captain Picard that he wished he could turn off the emotion chip and marveled how human beings were able to act with emotions such as anger and fear and still perform their duties. It is the essence of being human to be able to balance emotional reaction with reason and intellect and avoid the extremes of emotion that lead to devastation. Emotions are hence great assets but also when misused great detriments.
Emotions can be controlled through a variety of practices in life. The virtue of temperance looks to balance the passions. In many religious traditions, the passions are seen as out of control. These traditions teach the inability to control one’s passions is due to sin. Other traditions see the disconnect from the ultimate reality that causes this imbalance. Whether imbalance or sin, humanity looks for many ways to control emotion. Temperance is one such virtue that balances the desires. Balance is the key word. It does not look to eliminate the passions or emotions or desires, but control them within the acceptable extreme.
Meditation, Stress Management, Anger Management are all paths to learn to better control external pressures with internal guides. Meditation naturally calms the mind and body and teaches it how to relax. Stress Management teaches individuals how to respond to stressful stimuli in a beneficial way. Anger Management teaches individuals how to identify triggers that lead to anger.
There are many individual strategies within this fields and it is important to train the mind, body and soul to use them in productive ways to learn to control emotion. Various breathing techniques as well as cognitive strategies to train the mind in how it reacts to bad situations are extremely useful in dealing with emotional outbursts. It is good to be mindful of emotions and what triggers them in private. Cooling down sometimes involves walking away and expressing emotions in a less destructive method that harms no-one. The ability to do so takes conscious effort. It takes willingness to identify triggers, study one’s past and natural inclinations and be steadfast in correcting bad habits.
If one does not take steps to control emotions, then life will be far more difficult. Emotions while good can also destroy one’s life with broken relationships, abuse, assaults and eventually jail. Even simple outbursts that carry no true legal issues can be detrimental to work, school and family life. Controlling emotions within a safe and acceptable norm is crucial to emotional development.
If you would like to learn more about controlling emotion or are a professional seeking certification to enhance one’s knowledge on these subjects, then please review AIHCP’s programs on Meditation Instructor, Anger Management and Stress Management Consultants. The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking four year certifications.
To learn more, please review
AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program, please click here
AIHCP’s video on Anger, please click here
Healthline’s Article on “How to Control Anger: 25 Tips to Help You Stay Calm”, please click here
Healthline’s Article on “16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress”, please click here