By: Roz Jones
Emotions by themselves are neither good nor bad. They just are. It is how you allow your emotions to influence your thoughts and actions that is important. Awareness and understanding of your feelings can help ensure that you control your feelings and that they aren’t controlling you. Knowing what you are feeling, what made you think that way, and how those feelings are affecting your behaviors and thoughts is a crucial life skill.
You can’t stop yourself from feeling emotions. But you can become more aware of how those responses change your perceptions and could be influencing your behavior in negative ways. If you aren’t sure if you control your emotions or your emotions control you, here are five warning signs that your feelings may control your life.
#1. Your reactions are instinctive, not thought out.
If you are a slave to your emotions, then you may often find yourself reacting to life’s circumstances with little thought or reflection. When you allow your emotional responses to control your decision-making, you respond to things at once and never take the time to calm down and let cooler thoughts to prevail. When you are emotionally charged, your amygdala has taken over your brain’s ability to think clearly. So, waiting until that immediate response is over means you see the situation differently. But, when you fly off the handle right away in a situation, you resign yourself to a purely emotional response.
#2. You often regret your behavior.
Does this ever happen to you? When something happens that upsets you, do you feel good about your response at the moment but feel sorry about what you did or said later? If so, this is a sign you allow your emotions to guide your behavior. Living with lots of regret about how you treated someone else, responded to a situation, or behaved in front of other people means that you are making poor choices in emotional moments instead of learning to control your responses to your feelings.
#3. You hurt yourself and other people.
When you are under the control of your emotions, you may end up hurting other people or yourself. Allowing your emotions to control you means that you are always on edge, always ready to shift moods and become engulfed in the next emotional episode. Others may have difficulty knowing how to respond to you, and you may not know what to expect from yourself. If you spend your life being emotionally charged, you allow your feelings to control your decisions, which can lead to risky or careless decisions.
#4. Your thoughts are keeping you up at night.
When you have excessive anxiety, when you are living with regret over your emotional behavior, or when you don’t know who to handle yourself anymore, you can lose sleep at night. If you find yourself laying in bed wondering how your life got so out of control, you may be a slave to your emotions.
#5. You give up on your dreams.
When you live in a constantly emotional state, it can feel like you won’t ever be able to accomplish what you want in life, which can lead to frustration and cause you to quit pursuing your goals in life. Your dreams are important to you, but when you allow your emotions to control your life, they take center stage over everything else that is important.
Does any of this sound like you? Are you living a life enslaved by your emotions? Now that you know what is happening, you are ready to start learning to control how you allow your emotions to rule your life so that you can finally live out your destiny.