Debilitative Emotions Essay

Saying What Matters has had quite a ride this month when it comes to discussing emotions. We’ve looked at how our emotions contribute or take away from effective communication; the Saying What Matters lady has stressed that thoughts shape emotions; we’ve tried to figure out some of the factors that influence our emotions; we debunked more than a few irrational fallacies; we got into mixed emotions, and we looked at various ways we could better express our emotions.

Today I want to wind up the subject of emotions . . . what’s that you say? Right – I stand corrected. We can never wind up the subject of emotions. Let’s just say we’ll move onto other important aspects of effective communication while keeping in mind that our emotions are always part of the equation.

Let’s take a quick look at how certain emotions can wreak havoc with our communication efforts. I’ll call these emotions debilitating because they truly are.

Debilitative emotions prevent us from relating effectively. No big surprise there. Sometimes, it can simply be a matter of the degree of intensity of an emotion that gives it the debilitating label.

For example: healthy anger tells us that we need to pay attention to something important. Rage has never contributed to effective communication.

Duration is another way to distinguish between a helpful emotion and a debilitating one.

For example: it is one thing to feel down in the dumps. It is another to take to your bed for a week or two. Communicating from under the blankets is rarely effective.

How to Minimize Debilitative Emotions

  1. Monitor you emotional reactions – be aware of what you’re feeling – check out how your body is reacting. Name your emotion and rate it on a scale of one to ten.
  2. Take note of the event that is working you up. Once you are aware of what triggers you, you can start to address that issue.
  3. Listen in on your own self-talk. What kind of things do you tell yourself right before your feelings start to climb the intensity meter? How does your self-talk keep you worked up?
  4. Dispute your irrational beliefs. This is key to coming up with positive self-talk to counter the debilitative emotions.

The Saying What Matters lady loves the Rodin sculpture pictured above, but how about we go from Rodin’s debilitation to a more upbeat way of thinking!

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