Stress Management

>> Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When we are under stress, our initial reaction is to feel emotional about the situation. We then develop a feeling of either apathy or aggression or depression. For a start we feel so alarmed and then as we get into it, we get the exhaustion period and then finally we can go over it. However, we can only achieve positive learning when indeed we have reached the final stage where we have learned how to cope, we have confronted the situation well and that we were able to attain our goal, we have won relationship and we were able to go above the situation through courageous effort of solving the problem thereby adjusting to the situation.

Controls of Emotions

Very often, we are accused of acting childishly or failing to control our emotions. We judge people as being emotionally mature or immature by the way they react to situations. We expect older people to attain emotional maturity as they grow in years. How then does one control his emotions?

Outward Manifestations

It is believed that in our effort to control our emotions, we learn to suppress or modify our overt responses. For example, we avoid gritting our teeth, clenching our fist, scowling, or frowning when we are angry. We scold children when they show such signs of anger. We dislike people who are temperamental. We discourage shouting or boisterous laughing and we teach children to control their laughter. From childhood, we teach children to follow conventions, especially those that refer to behavior. People’s actions are governed by social sanctions and taboos.

Emotional Situations

Since most situations trigger emotional responses, we try to avoid or change the situation which would give rise to an undesirable response. For example, when we know that a certain situation will make someone angry, we try to avoid or change the situation. We also learn from experience that a certain situation may provoke extreme anger, so we try to remove ourselves from such occasions to prevent the undesirable response. The educated individual learns to distinguish between an intelligent answer and an emotional one. In a debate for instance, emotional arguments do not score as high as intelligent ones. The educated individual studies a situation carefully before responding to it emotionally.


Some people are more emotional and temperament than others. Such people expend a lot of useless energy because they are highly strung and impatient about things. Their hostility towards others is more manifested than those of emotionally stable individuals. They are impulsive and they tend to make rush decisions. They are less sociable and tend to become frustrated over the reactions of other people. These people are often touchy and easily offended. They are defensive in their reactions and often have a cynical attitude towards others. Obviously, this description of temperamental persons will show that such individuals have very poor control of their emotional behavior. Fortunately, the behavior that is opposite to the one described above is attainable. Emotional control can be attained through patient and persistent effort to overcome the bad habit. One can begin with self-analysis and a genuine desire to improve emotional responses.

Emotional Suppression

Suppressing emotions has both positive and negative effects. Suppressing our anger especially while engaged in an argument may be good, but suppressing anger on all occasions can be disastrous. Psychologists and psychoanalysts hold that repressed feelings are not lost, they merely sink into the subconscious. A person who suppresses all his emotions will not find joy and excitement in life. There are some people who are afraid to release their emotions. In so doing, they get detached from the others and often keep up to themselves. On the other hand, some people may get so involved in their jobs that they feel frustrated when some emotional situations disrupt their entrenchment in their jobs. A healthy balance between emotional release and suppression may sometimes prevent a person from certain undesirable actions as in the case of a spinster who remains single all her life, because she does not want to risk being unhappy in married life. Emotional control can incur calculated risks, but the emotionally healthy individuals should learn to live with such limitations.

Teaching Emotional Control

In teaching children their emotions, two things should be emphasized. First, that they must learn to face reality, and secondly, that emotional problems need time for a solution. When a child feels frustrated, making him cries out his frustrations may help prevent future tantrums, but he may feel he is abandoned in his problems. On the other, when the mother takes her baby in her arms and tries to calm her down, the child feels secure and he will be receptive to explanations later on. Gradually, the child that rules and regulations enforced kindly and consistently can help him with his emotional problems.

Emotional control also calls for awareness of reality. The person who loses a parent should realize that there are some things beyond control. It will be then alright for him to grieve over the loss, but he must not go on brooding. He has to learn to accept reality and the fact that sooner or later he has to adjust to the new situation. This will need time, of course, because emotional control cannot be achieved overnight.

Emotional control may involve choice between alternatives that may not altogether be satisfactory. In some cases, it may involve choice of the less evil. One should learn that in life, we cannot always success. We have to learn to face failures, and we may realize that sometimes, failure can be the stepping stone to success.

Expecting Emotional Situations

As we grow older, we learn to develop emotional responses that are sanctioned by the society. For proper emotional adjustment, we experience these expected emotional situations. For example, we go to a basketball game expecting our team to win, but we are also aware of the fact that our team may lose, so we are prepared for both situations. Culturally, there are emotional expressions expected of them. Part of the emotional control involves a general awareness of the types of emotional problems on has to encounter and what emotional reactions are expected to the individual meeting the problem.

Previous Articles:

Frustrations and Conflicts
Responses to Frustration

Tags: psychology, stress management, emotional situations, handling emotions. 


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