Habits: Emotional Necessities

Although emotional discipline is more of a problem for females than males, controlling and properly utilizing one’s emotions is an issue that should be targeted by everyone. Emotional habits assist with channeling one’s excess energy, both positive and negative, into productive means.

I’ve known many people (including myself) who have so much excess emotional energy that they resolve to rid themselves of all of it– for their own good. While this might be an acceptable path, and is by its very nature “reasonable” (emotional is killed off in favor of logic), is imbalanced, and leads to several negative side-effects, such as anti-social behavior, detachment, apathy, dysfunctional families, co-dependency, nihilism, and existentialism tendencies. In my opinion, that’s not a life worth living.

I have bipolar disorder, and so I understand very well what it means to have to cope with excess emotional energy, both positive (mania) and negative (depression), regularly.

These habits not only help control bipolar (effectively curing it, without medication), but also sublimate (e.g. “transfer”) that excess energy into a productive lifestyle– making that otherwise troublesome energy an investment, instead of a liability.

Note: These Habits overlap with the Mental sense, because they heavily rely on mental self-affirmations.

1. As covered in Mental Necessities, “monitor your own filtering system”, in this case to keep track of emotional anomalies. That is, emotions that deviate from what is considered “normal” should be monitored, analyzed, and responded to proactively.

There are two primary attributes of emotional anomalies: intensity and abnormality.

Intensity: Refers to the strength of the given emotion. If the emotions you feel are more intense, the effects of it will have a greater impact on your behavior.

Abnormality: The level of deviation from the norm; that is, the extent to which the emotion felt is an anomaly.

In other words, Abnormality refers to how much of a problem a particularly emotion will cause, and and Intensity refers to the net impact of those problems will have.

To ensure that your emotions are “kept in check”, It’s important that you understand how you feel, and the intensity of those feelings; this knowledge will help you to be able to expect what to feel, and know how to properly react to those feelings before they become a problem. In doing so, you will effectively be turning “abnormality” into “normality”.

2. Create a psychological failsafe:

There are always circumstances that we all must deal with eventually, which are often unexpected, dramatic, and…well, new. It might be something painful and tragic, or it might something exciting and pleasurable.

But either way, some situations cannot be planned for, and there should be a catch-all failsafe that prevents you from doing something…stupid.

It could be that the million dollars you just won is a scam. It’s not worth getting revenge on the person who killed your soul mate by killing them– at least not in the long run.

But when you are pumped with unexpected emotions, you don’t have the self-control to break them down and analyze them as instructed in #1– your instincts are controlling your body at that point– not you!

So you need to create your own instincts, so that “when the time comes”, you can head off primal instincts with your own failsafe instincts. Engrave it in your mind:

No matter what happens, don’t kill people unless your life depends on it”

Something like that.

This type of habit is a moral code of sorts, and so in that sense overlaps with Social Habits, although that won’t be covered for a while.

3. Proactive empathy: Not everyone has the intuitive ability to feel other people’s emotions– I know I don’t. But regardless of whether you do, it’s always better to consciously make a habit of being empathetic– after all, just as emotions are unreliable, intuition is too. When intuition is cast aside, empathy can be considered the process and skill of sharing, discerning, analyzing, and responding to other’s emotions.

So to acquire reliable empathy, you should make a habit of consciously studying the emotional self (both your emotions and those of others), being open about your emotional self, connecting with others emotionally (by sharing feelings), and most importantly, responding to other’s feelings.

What I’ve found (through a lot of unfortunate experiences) is that you can have “empathy” in the eyes of others, but only if you’re willing to bullshit people into believing that you actually “feel for them” even if you don’t. But this aspect of empathy will be more appropriately covered in Social Necessities.

4. Moderation: If there is too much of any good thing, surely that axiom applies to emotion.

Regardless of whether you enjoy what you are feeling, it’s important that you control those emotions as much as possible, so as to maintain emotional Balance and stability.

This especially applies to people with Bipolar– those who’s lack of emotional stability has led to emotional immaturity. By moderating your emotions, both expressively and mentally, you will gain a greater level of emotional discipline and self-control over time.

By limiting your emotions, you may stifle some of your happiness, but over time, you will gain patience and a sense of security and self-empowerment that leads to a far greater happiness than you could have otherwise attained.

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About Justin Benjamin

Justin Benjamin is a prolific blogger, poet, and novelist. As a philosophy and psychology enthusiast, most of his journalism is concerned with social dynamics, reality hacking, metaphysics, positive psychology, cognitive bias, psychoanalysis, and experimental psychology. His fictional writing takes a slightly darker tone, serving as a outlet to express existential angst, suppression of freewill, melancholy, and an extreme dissatisfaction with reality.
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2 Responses to Habits: Emotional Necessities

  1. A Reader of th3g1vr since 20 Dec 06 says:

    I like this continued movement for self-improvement.

  2. Pingback: Coping With Bipolar « NspyraishN

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