An emotion is a “stirred up reaction” such as love, hate, fear, anger or grief. An emotion is aroused when a person views something as either good or bad. However, an emotion does not always have an external cause; it can also be created internally, that is, by a person’s thoughts. We are the source of all our emotions. Therefore, feeling good is a decision!
We all have emotions, and those of us who do not hide our emotions are referred to as emotional. I believe that we are born without emotions and that we learn our emotions the same way we learn to read and write. Our parents even teach us how to react emotionally to certain circumstances.
There are only two types of emotions: negative emotions and positive emotions. Negative emotions, including anger, fear and despair, make us feel unhappy or dissatisfied. Positive emotions, including love, joy and hope, are aroused by something that appeals to us.
Emotions come in varying degrees of strength. For example, we could call a very happy person overjoyed. Unfortunately, happiness is only possible if we learn to cope with our negative emotions.
Emotions can be very helpful. For example, in fear, the adrenal gland empties a hormone called adrenaline into the bloodstream, increasing the heart rate and raising the blood pressure. Much blood shifts from our digestive organs to the brain and skeletal muscles. The breathing rate increases as large amounts of sugar are dumped into the bloodstream. These emergency measures give the body added energy to face the crisis at hand.
While the hormone adrenaline causes the face to go pale and the mouth to go dry when we experience fear, the hormone called noradrenalin, causes our face to become flushed when we are angry.
If changes in our body continue for a prolonged period of time, tissue damage can result. For example, constant worry and fear can produce stomach ulcers. Strong emotions can make it hard to think, concentrate and solve problems. Worry will drain valuable mental energy needed to function creatively.
Emotional overload occurs when pent-up emotions become too great to bear and must be released, often through uncontrollable weeping. This explains why a person in emotional overload may weep at times without apparent reason.
I experienced the fear-adrenaline cycle in a terrifying way when burnout struck with gale force. As I felt the waves of anxiety roll over me, the adrenaline rushed into my system, causing even greater fear and anxiety, probably because I was unaware of exactly what was happening. I thought I was “going nuts.” Eventually, I learned to simply relax; I began to be thankful that God was in control of His entire creation, instead of trying to fight those awful feelings. As my mind was put to rest because of putting my faith in God, peace would begin to flood my whole being.
At times in our lives, we all feel negative emotions – depression or worry or anger or hurt or guilt or frustration, or loneliness, to name a few. The first step to taking control of our emotions is to identify what we are really feeling inside. Secondly, we must accept the fact that our emotions are calling us to action. Thirdly, we need to realize that we have the power to change direction and take action.