The Art Of Rationality: Managing Emotions For Better Balance
LOGIC Vs. Emotion
You’re tied with the other basketball team. There are 3 seconds left in the fourth quarter and you have a choice: you can give it your all or you can let the other team stop you from scoring the winning shot. You decide that you came here to win. You drive through, fake a shot and pass the ball. Unfortunately, you painfully realize you have passed the ball to the opposing team. This my friends, is how emotions take over.
Do Your Emotions Always Win?
Our minds and our emotions are always playing against each other and unfortunately for many of us, our minds unknowingly pass the ball to our emotions and they win us over every time. The problem with letting our emotions win is that our rationality and logic become irrelevant and without it, our lives become very chaotic very quickly.
Logical and Emotional Balance are Key
This is not to say that our feelings shouldn’t be taken into account, they absolutely should. Our emotions are how we feel about certain things and situations we encounter and allow us to be empathetic. I’m an emotional person, but I realized that I needed to balance this with logic. With everything in life, there has to be a balance. This is where emotional intelligence comes in.
The biggest thing that aided me in developing emotional intelligence is slowing down. For example, if someone says something to me over an email that I think is disrespectful or rude, I would have a burning knot in the pit of my stomach. Then, my emotions fully activate and I churn out a rude email back. Now, I give myself time before responding. Sometimes, going back and reading it later let me see the person’s real intent, or have a moment to say, ‘oh yeah, so and so’s mother just passed’ or did they just have that break up, I should probably grant some grace. I therefore let empathy guide me into a better state of mind.
Emotions can blur our visibility in many situations. Slowing down, walking away from the situation, and giving yourself a moment for your mind to work in conjunction with your emotion will help you overcome many of the stressors and problems that we often create by letting our emotions get the best of us.
Here are a few quick tips on gaining control of our emotions:
Meditate and practice mindfulness techniques to prepare you for each day. Allow your brain time to process all of the feelings and thoughts. You don’t have to meditate for hours. Start small, meditating for just a few minutes at first.
Remember that you’re not the only one who is struggling with their emotions, try to see things from different perspectives. Really try to walk in the other parties shoes and figure out ways to understand and empathize with the people around you.
Be Logical and Strategic
If you’re faced with a problem that gets the best of you, step away. Clear your head and return to the problem ready to create a plan to solve it logically and strategically without letting your feelings take over.
Write Your Thoughts Down
Write down how you feel, and why you feel that way. If it’s an uncomfortable feeling to have, can you overcome these negative emotions? Also document how often you have these emotions. When we write these things down, we are able to notice a pattern to see if it’s a fleeting emotion or if its something that you may need help with.
Talk to Someone
Talk it out with a close friend, relative, or therapist. Hashing out your emotions can not only make us feel better, but give us alternative perspectives. These conversations give us control over our emotions and help us rationalize how we feel.
Learn About the Brain
Reading about neuroscience and delving in deeper into how our brains function, has helped me manage my emotions. Knowing that our brains are made to interact and react to the world outside of us for survival has aided me in rationalizing why we function in irrational ways sometimes. The book, The Brain: The Story of You by David Eagleman is a great start.
Are emotions getting the best of you? Let’s discuss below.