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Managing emotions is a conscious process through which we control the responses we have in different situations when we feel emotions. Sometimes managing emotions can be done through unconscious coping mechanisms that have negative effects on long term.
Today we discuss the benefits managing emotions has in our lives and relationships. We will see that mastering emotions is an important process for our well-being. Our physical health can benefit tremendously from emotion control, and I’ll detail below how and why.
There are many benefits associated with managing our emotions. My experience thought me that it can help build a mental and emotional balance but also a relationship balance.
Negative emotions themselves do not cause illness, they are just emotions. The way we process them or not (aka coping mechanisms) is the reason we may experience difficulties.
There are studies that show that inappropriate management of emotions such as suppression, can produce the necessary conditions for the emergence and development of diseases in the body.
Also, if we choose to give power to our emotions and act impulsively, we can make hasty decisions and our relationships can suffer.
What are the benefits for managing emotions?
Managing emotions in a healthy way is, from my point of view, working with the emotion. When I say work with the emotion I mean discovering it, becoming aware of it, name it, process the thoughts behind it, accept it, feel it and finally, let it go. Managing emotions is a skill that anyone can learn. Anyone who doesn’t know it can learn it.
There is nothing shameful if we don’t already know how to efficiently manage our emotions. This is not something taught in school. It’s something we may or may not discover on our own. It is normal to assume that emotions sometimes are so intense that we feel out of control. I am sure it happens to any of us to feel we are not in control, whether we are suffering from a mood disorder or personality disorder that can make it difficult to manage emotional reactions.
Always keep in mind that despite all aspects, we are in control. That we are responsible for what we say and do. And we can learn new ways to respond and make the most appropriate decisions we feel emotions.
As I said before, managing our negative emotions come with great benefits, such as:
Your relationships become harmonious
Emotions can overwhelm us at some point and we can do or say things that hurt other people. If we learn to make space between feeling and saying or doing, we have already gained control over our emotions.
The next step is to decide whether we want to manifest our emotion in our behavior or not.
It’s so simple.
How can we respond and not react to the situation so that we maintain a balance between us and others? By choosing how to answer, we can create and maintain harmonious relationships. We can repair the relationships that hurt, of course, as much as we can and if it is possible.
You prevent unnecessary arguments
If you have a habit of arguing with your partner and realizing that you are actually arguing about nothing, you are not alone. Many couples have this problem, where a simple thing can lead to a complex conflict.
In fact, the reasons for these types of quarrels are much deeper than the superficial reason (which determined them) and may relate to the unfulfilled needs of the two.
In conflicting situations in the couple, the benefits of managing emotions are enormous. We can prevent conflicts if we manage how and what we feel.
This way we focus on communication and finding solutions. And escaping the spiral of reproaches or accusations is a natural effect.
The risk for heart disease is reduced
If you learn how to properly manage your emotions, you can reduce the effect on your heart. It is known that stress, anger and depression have a significant impact on the development of heart rhythm disorders.
If heart disease already exists in a person, negative emotions like anger can lead to worsening of heart disease. Inappropriate management of anger has also been linked to hypertension, heart disease and digestive problems.
You improve your well-being
Usually, after managing emotions, an inner state of calm follows. Because emotions come and go, if we know how to guide them, we can feel better.
We are calmer when we no longer feel angry or when sadness was integrated as part of a painful experience. Thus the overall well-being can improve.
You create healthy habits
We all have unhealthy habits. That is true for everyone. But when the suppressed / repressed / denied emotions are at their core, these habits can become problems that threaten our balance on multiple levels in our life.
Inappropriate management of emotions is one of the factors that can lead to different compulsive or addictive behaviors.
For example, problems of eating behavior, alcohol and / or drug abuse, compulsive shopping or other compulsive or addictive behaviors. These behaviors are often called dysfunctional coping mechanisms.
These dysfunctional coping mechanisms manifest as an attempt of solving something or making us feel better. But they are never the solution to anything. They may be ways to “self-medicate” that create more harm than good.
How do these compulsive or addictive behaviors affect or health?
First of all, our emotional health suffers because we avoid contact with what we feel. Unless we deal with it, emotional suffering does not disappear over time. It remains within us, can grow in intensity and cause the development of disorders such as depression.
In my perspective time does not heal anything. It is what we do with the time that can help us heal our pain.
As an example, eating behavior problems such as emotional eating can lead to difficulties related to weight, causing the risk of obesity and illness associated with it.
Alcohol and drugs abuse has obvious negative health effects.
Other dysfunctional coping mechanism is inflicting self harm which can lead to infections or other health problems.
Therefore, by solving certain problems that cause suffering and managing the emotions we feel, we can make a substantial contribution to creating new and healthy habits.
Your immune system is stronger
We know now that stress has a direct influence on our immune system. When we are stuck in our negative emotions and we don’t know how to deal with them, or if we have stress, cortisol is secreted.
The presence over a longer period of time of stress, due to cortisol, can cause inflammation in the body and affect our resistance to illness.
Therefore, when stress is reduced by managing emotions, stress hormones are regulated. This leads to less inflammation in the body and a strong immune system.
- Stress-induced cardiac arrhythmias: The heart–brain interaction
- Jainish Patel, Prittesh Patel (2019) Consequences of Repression of Emotion: Physical Health, Mental Health and General Well Being. International Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research – 1(3):16-21.
- Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Glaser, R. (1993). Mind and immunity. In: D. Goleman & J. Gurin, (Eds.) Mind/Body Medicine (pp. 39-59). New York: Consumer Reports.