I read a lot of articles that offer “tricks” to living a better life, but the reality is that there are no shortcuts to living a better life. There are no instruction manuals or reset buttons, either. That being said, there are things in our lives that we can always be better at.
One thing that I’ve struggled with in the past, and I know other have as well, is emotional balance.
Sometimes when we are faced with emotions we do one of two things: we shut them out, or we let them overwhelm us. Maintaining a balance between the two is obviously ideal. It is also much easier said than done. There are days when it seems like we are bombarded by our emotions to the point where we shut them out. There are other days when the littlest thing can set us off on an emotional rollercoaster. Trust me, I know.
The problem with existing on one end of the spectrum or another is the same problem as existing on the extreme ends of any spectrum. When we shut our emotions out, we don’t deal with them effectively. Emotions like anger or sadness can actually manifest themselves as physical pain. Our subconscious minds are weird little creatures, and when you have pent up emotions, are brain chemistry actually changes. That feeling of “being in a funk” is a real thing.
On the other end of the spectrum, feeling every little emotion in life with the intensity of a direct ray of sunlight isn’t functional either. If a Hallmark commercial on TV reduces you to a crying mess, it makes life a little hard to navigate. The same goes for anger. If the littlest indiscretions around you send you off into a rage-fit, you’re probably not living a pleasurable existence.
The real key to emotional balance, like many other things in life, is consciousness.
Being able to identify what emotions you are feeling, and why, is what determines emotional balance. It’s a matter of self-study sometimes because we often feel emotions that we can’t quite explain. Understanding our emotions is the only way to keep them in check.
Now when I say “identify” your emotions, I mean: be specific. It’s not the same to just say, “I am upset” as it is to say “I am sad”, or “I am angry”. Making your emotions tangible by identifying them is like a personal emotional triage. Without identifying your emotions effectively, you’re essentially at the mercy of whatever it is that you are feeling.
Taking the time to do something as simple as a couple of minutes of meditation and self-reflection can go a long way to maintaining a healthy emotional balance.
If you’re anything like me, you know that all of these practices are easier said than done. But just like anything else in life, the more you do it – the better you get at it. You’ll start to find that spending a little time inside your own head can go a long way towards truly addressing how you feel, why you feel that way, and what you need to do to change it.