How to Manage Your Feelings

Are you managing your feelings or are your feelings managing you?

This is a profoundly important question to ask yourself.

You see, in today’s world, emotions are running extremely high.

Fear, greed, anxiety, distrust, sadness, gratitude, depression.

At any moment of any day, the people around you (and quite possibly you yourself) are experiencing many (often conflicting) emotions.

I go back to my original question.

Are you managing your emotions or are your emotions managing you?

You want to make logical-type decisions with logic.

You want to make emotional-type decisions with emotions.

What you absolutely do not want to do is to use emotion to solve logical problems or use logic to solve emotional problems.

Yet this is exactly what the vast majority of people are doing right now.

This is why, in times of crisis, people often make poor decisions.

Let me give you an example.

2 + 2 always equals 4. It doesn’t matter if you’re scared, depressed, or grieving, 2 + 2 will still equal 4.

That’s because math problems require logic to solve. What your gut, intuition, or feelings have to say about such a problem is completely irrelevant.

Some decisions are inherently logical ones.

Now, let’s look at a different situation.

Do you feel scared?

The emotion of fear relates to one’s sense of safety.

If you’re walking down a dark alley at night and someone starts to follow you, do you feel safe?

Fear originated as a way to help human beings survive. It’s a very useful emotion in specific situations (like that dark alley).

Now, if you’re feeling fearful about not having enough money, it’s important to notice the feeling.

Note: I said notice the feeling. I didn’t say act on the feeling.

When you notice the feeling, you want to explore it further. That’s all feelings are — a prompt to explore something in more detail before deciding on what action to take.

If you’re worried about being homeless but you have $1 million in cash in the bank with very low expenses, you can conclude that you don’t have a financial problem. You have an emotional problem. You’re having negative feelings about a situation that’s not objectively negative.

However, if you’re scared of being homeless and your bank account shows that your account is overdrawn and negative, you don’t have a problem with emotions running wild, you have a true financial problem.

You solve these two scenarios entirely differently.

In the former, you might seek emotional support from a friend or therapist.

In the latter, you might seek help from a financial planner or a resume writer.

Notice that the feelings in both situations are identical, but what you do about the feeling is the polar opposite.

It is the ability to recognize, correctly interpret, and make emotionally well-informed decisions that leads to making smarter decisions in times of crisis.

The ability to do this fluently is known as emotional intelligence.

It’s an important skill when times are good. It’s an essential skill when times are challenging and all kinds of conflicting emotions are running high.

If you want to improve your emotional intelligence, I invite you to join the notification list for my program How to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to Advance Your Career. It will be released for a short time in May. To be notified when it's available, submit the form below.

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