Balancing Control of Your Emotions
During the late 1800s, there was a man. Not just any man, a brilliant one.
Despite his brilliance, he struggled with depression and a sense of meaninglessness.
He left Harvard medical school, much to his father’s dismay, to go on an adventure through the Panama Canal. What he pictured as a fun trip soon turned into a nightmare.
He contracted smallpox on the boat and almost died in the middle of the rainforest.
Somehow he found his way back to Boston with no degree and an angry father. To make matters worse he was almost thirty- no longer a young man.
Every day he contemplated suicide since he didn’t see any point in his life.
One fateful day he decided to conduct an experiment. He would assume total responsibility for his life for one year.
As he put it in his journal, it would be a philosophical experiment.
As a result of his little ‘experiment’ and momentum, he went on to become the father of modern psychology. He did ground breaking research in emotions and started a branch of philosophy known as pragmatism.
The man’s name was William James and he continues to be a legacy in philosophy and psychology.
Garbage In = Garbage Emotions Out
How much time do you spend on Facebook, Reddit, or social media a day?
Chances are a lot.
Now I’m no better than the next guy. I spend too much time swiping right on Tinder and browsing blogs. These things make us feel productive but they’re a form of pollution- information pollution.
Too much traffic and a city becomes shrouded in a layer of smog.
Too much useless information, or too many people’s opinions from sources like social media, and our minds become crowded and confused.
Maintaining control of our thoughts becomes nearly impossible.
Your brain is the source of all emotions – all pleasant ones and all foul ones.
Why do we spend time doing anything but nurturing it?
Now there’s another aspect to life that we weren’t taught in schools. If you had healthy, stable parents, then you may have been lucky enough to learn this half of life.
If you’re like the rest of us, then chances are this area is underdeveloped.
We are talking about the magic of emotions.
Emotions are magical because you can’t hear, taste, touch, or smell them, but they control most of our actions and habits.
Emotions may be invisible but we can still observe them and learn to not be controlled by them.
Humans are wired for negativity
Negativity is an adaptive evolutionary approach to life. At least it was when the world was filled with all sorts of danger, like Saber Tooth Tigers and warring tribes.
Thankfully we now live in one of the safest time periods in human history (although it may not be evident from your Facebook feed, another reason to disconnect from social media).
It’s one of our responsibilities as humans, at least if you want to live a good life, to learn not to be controlled by the whims of our pre historic mind, namely our emotions.
So how do we go about doing this?
If you’re to follow the advice of the Manosphere, or most self-development advice it would be something like this: Just be confident! Tell yourself that you love yourself! Thinking is everything!
Although these niceties sound good in theory, they’re actually way out of touch with reality.
If you’re caught in a riptide when you’re swimming at the beach how do you get out of it? If you struggle against it then you will drown. However, if you go with the tide for a bit, and then paddle parallel to shore to escape the pull, you will escape the deadly riptide.
The same is true for emotions.
Next time you’re feeling depressed, or anxious, give up control accept it.
Accepting it doesn’t mean you don’t take steps to address the problems in your life. It simply means to acknowledge the feeling, and then focus on the task at hand while breathing in a relaxed way.
The breathing part is important.
When the kitchen smells like fish after cooking salmon what do you do? Open a window to air the room out.
The same is true for emotions. When you’re feeling depressed or anxious (about as pleasant as fish smell) air out your emotions by breathing.
They will eventually pass. They always do.
This is a guest post from Ben at daysofharmoney.com
Since leaving an engineering undergrad degree during his senior year of college due to depression, he is slowly building up a full-time income from reselling, and writing.
Ben and I have had some great conversations over Skype. His authenticity is unmatched.
A few posts of Ben’s I recommend checking out include: