Faith

3 Ways To Take Control of Your Emotions During Difficult Times

emotions

Which comes first – thoughts or feelings?  Does the heart or the mind dominate our ability to live well?

Medical and psychological research continually investigates the link between the head and heart, now utilizing detailed scans that give windows into brain operations and how information travels throughout the body. Both thoughts and feelings are keys to physical and mental health.

In Hebrews 10:16, the writer reminds us of the original plan by God for His people, “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”   Our Creator God knows both heart and mind need to be engaged for a full commitment, a deeper understanding.

Can’t Stop This Feeling…

Bob Newhart has a silly video about a counseling method that takes less than five minutes. He doesn’t want to hear about the past trauma or fantasies or nightmares associated with the problem. When the client is finished describing the complaint, her anxious thoughts and painful feelings, Newhart says he will supply two words that will cure the client. She takes out her pad and pencil with anticipation.

Then he shouts at the client, “Stop it!”

The directive to just stop thinking or feeling is too simplistic for many issues and will not lead to healing and freedom without additional support. I discuss with my counseling and coaching clients the role of feelings and thoughts in the context of suffering and change. Together we look for the strategy to help clients stop the unhelpful patterns and habits. I wish shouting at them aggressively would magically work.

Here are 3 ways we can take control of our emotions:

1.Red Light – Green Light

How should we handle emotions? I like to use a traffic light analogy with my clients, thinking of their emotional responses as signals:

If you feel angry or upset, that is like a red light, telling you something needs to change or stop. You cannot continue this way without dangerous consequences.

If you are confused, mildly irritated, discouraged, or suspicious, that is a yellow warning signal to slow down and look at the situation carefully.

If you sense peace, delight, or joy, the light is green and you can proceed.

We must pay attention to these signals, but not make hasty decisions based on the emotional responses alone. Take time to reflect and analyze the details surrounding these emotional reactions, composing a clear-headed solution. We need to engage both the emotional information and the data our minds have collected over the years to help us make sense of our world and personal events.

2. Scripture Therapy Manual

Two particular verses in the Bible are excellent counseling instructions that can alter a person’s negative perspective which ultimately brings positive changes in his/her life. The determination to harness thinking can bring emotions into proper alignment and allow our behaviors to produce good results.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

The Apostle Paul is teaching in these verses how the full concentration of our mind on the truth found in God’s Word and the life of Christ, forms the healthy foundation for living. We can’t deny our feelings, they often bubble up to the surface uninvited and unannounced. Feelings change due to circumstance, hormones, weather, natural events, physical ailments, and people’s behaviors around us. How we respond to these emotional signals should be based on something more concrete, less fluid, a sure foundation.

3. Just Fake It

Can we try to fake it till we make it with our emotions? Should we just pretend to be happy or content or relaxed until this becomes reality?

This phrase more generally applies to acting confident while learning to be the skilled worker boasted about on a resume. Trying to feign a genuine emotion long term would be an exhausting endeavor, although the impersonation might produce reliable information. Perhaps the charade might enhance a person’s belief that such a feeling was actually possible.

For lasting change, I am more inclined to probe for the underlying self-talk, labels rooted into a client’s belief system. I agree with many of the self-help books written by trusted Christian mental health professionals and teachers that we need to assess our personal truths, what we have come to believe about ourselves, and compare them to God’s truth, what He says about us in His Word. When there is misalignment between the two sets of truth, we need to cast ours down in favor of God’s since He is the One who made us, knows us best, and planned our destiny for His glory and our good.

God Will Show Us the Way

When we get a proper understanding in our minds about who we are in God’s family, how much He loves us, and how He wired our emotions and personality, we can move toward controlling our feelings.

We can read our emotional traffic signals and think about what we should do.  Eventually, we can tell ourselves, “Stop it!” when we are not responding correctly or in a healthy manner. This will not be a five minute cure and we will need guidance from a trusted counselor or able friend, but we can do it, with God’s help.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Luniliye Queen Kag

    June 16, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Yes…He brought me this far not to leave me nor forsake me that is why I will never give up in any situation i might face.

  2. Terry Daley

    June 16, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Thank you Jesus glory be to your marvelous name Lord Amen

  3. Lyn Arostique

    June 16, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Amen

  4. Brenda Hearn

    June 16, 2017 at 3:50 am

    Kali Ann McKnight

  5. Irma Cortez

    June 16, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Amen

  6. Beulah Robinson

    June 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Amen because I feel to give up many times especially this morning I cry a cry just tired of stress but I ask God to take it he knows my heart the pain I feel inside especially fighting the battle with anxiety a depression it’s hard especially when it’s you alone no family’s remember to help you fight this feeling but take me through it thanks be to him

  7. Joevicenta Garcia

    June 15, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Sandra Munoz Teng

  8. Lupe Martinez

    June 15, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Amen

  9. Janice Hall

    June 15, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Amen

  10. Ntolo Nthoroane

    June 15, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Thank you God for loving me. God is good all the time

  11. Ntolo Nthoroane

    June 15, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Thank you God for loving me. God is good all the time

  12. Madeleine Feruzi

    June 15, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Amen

  13. Garmei Kennedy

    June 15, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Amen

  14. Sonya Mcneill

    June 15, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Amen Yes Lord Yes

  15. Brina Doc

    June 15, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️

  16. Kaliva Sarah

    June 15, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Ts rite

  17. Karen Taylor

    June 15, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Jesus will stay close if you draw neigh to him

  18. Hitimana Clemence

    June 15, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    God is God
    he is present
    and he has his own plan over us . thx Lord

  19. Daria Farac

    June 15, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Georgette Harb

  20. Carol Molieri

    June 15, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Thank God, I think You can make it again for me.

  21. Omarsha Munroe

    June 15, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Amen

  22. Charlotte Petersen

    June 15, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Amen dont make god small god can and will do it again halleluja

  23. Peggy Baloyi

    June 15, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Yes powerful, Amen to that

  24. Brenda B Harris

    June 15, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Amen! Won’t he do it! Yes he will!………..

  25. Michelle Marie Garcia

    June 15, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Cousin Tammy Maldonado Parra xoxo!

  26. Phummy Ndlovu

    June 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Amen and am at the yellow signal.

  27. Bobbie Deal

    June 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Amen it’s good to remember David did and won the victory over the giant

  28. Malekhotla Rantsane-rammupudu

    June 15, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Amen

  29. Nobuhle Buhle Nyathi

    June 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I ws feelin’like that in the morning&Tnx God He Has Nver Failed Me

  30. Nikki Aye

    June 15, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Franchesca Golson

  31. Nikki Aye

    June 15, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Taneka Spruill

  32. Dorcié Kémmy

    June 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Amen

  33. Riziki Eveline

    June 15, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Amen,true.

  34. Legaspi Des

    June 15, 2017 at 11:48 am

    How long

  35. Fredricka Wright

    June 15, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Amen. God is , God can, God will.

  36. Meriam Tingang

    June 15, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Amen… He is always present

  37. Pamela L Shepard

    June 15, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Remember me, Lord? Thank-you

  38. Lucy Taderera

    June 15, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Amen he’s been there for me thru thick and thin

  39. Vongani Sharon

    June 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Amen help me Lord

  40. Timothy Chinenye

    June 15, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Oh yesss,He has been kind & merciful to me & my household

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