Emotional Matters

When something negative happens in our lives, naturally we have some kind of reaction. It's normal to be stressed during the "crunch times" at work. It's normal to be depressed after losing a loved one.

What becomes problematic for us is locking onto a negative emotion and defaulting to it every time we become disturbed. Especially when find ourselves reaching for that negative emotional response, during routine days in our lives.

There are three major kinds of negative emotions that we can latch onto: Anger, Anxiety, and Depression. Often a little bit of time spent with a Pastor, who is gifted in counseling can help you get a handle on this.

As with many things, recognition is the first step in the right direction. When you begin to realize that you are pulling up your negative emotion of choice unnecessarily, you are on your way to seeing yourself more clearly.

Here are a few BASIC tips.

Self awareness is important. When you begin each day or prepare to go into a situation, "check in with yourself." Often, what we really need to do is slow down a bit and get in the groove with what is happening right now. Literally stop, and take a few deep breaths. Too often we focus on events that happened in the past, or things that might happen in the future.

Next, if something disturbing occurs, the question to ask yourself is: Is it rational for me to feel this {angry . . . anxious. . . depressed} under these circumstances. Granted the circumstances may be unpleasant. But, when we say "I can't handle this," we are wrong because if we truly couldn't handle it, we'd be dead. Give yourself a brutally honest reality check. Even ask a trusted friend, "Am I overreacting?"

In cases with people who are normally emotionally healthy, sometimes "living in the moment" (being aware and focused on what is happening right now) helps us catch ourselves before we go from 0 to 60 with our over reactive emotions.

We all have an interior monologue; a conversation inside our heads. If we are constantly "telling ourselves" negative things, we are going to start to believe those warped thoughts.

I don't mean to be light hearted about any of this. Some folks do indeed need professional help to get over things like, Depression, Anxiety & Anger. If you find that you are in an ongoing struggle, please get help!

Over the years, I've seen way too many people wait too long, before they asked for help, and the crisis becomes bigger than it needs to be.

If a negative emotion lingers with you, I would strongly encourage you to find a pastor or counselor. Also, check with your doctor. There could be a medical reason for the way you feel. For example, I once met with a person who was suffering from an unexplainable depression. It turned to be a side effect of blood pressure medication. I also know that some people can't handle antihistamine medications.

The BIG thing I would offer is DO NOT suffer in silence. There are plenty of places to find professionals to talk to. Unfortunately, too many people wait to long to seek help.