The art of managing human #emotions: 5 things that work for me!

Last year as I was flying Business Class from Los Angeles to Chicago quite enjoying the experience of luxury travel sipping coffee from fine China and staring at the breathtaking cloud formations outside, I was suddenly startled to hear a fellow passenger get into an argument with the flight steward. Apparently she had some food allergies and the flight attendants could not cater to her special food needs despite the fact that she was flying business class. It took a long time for the steward to pacify her feelings and by the end of it, I thought she had missed out on a lovely flight experience, all because of not being able to control some impulsive negative emotions!

More and more I have begun to realize the importance of mastering this delicate art of managing human emotions. Through my own experiences, I am learning that If I don't keep my emotional reactions in check, not only do I loose my own peace and sanity but also end up hurting people unintentionally. It seems like every day presents a new challenge for me to not get mixed up in unscripted difficult situations with others and unless I have been very consciously practicing some basic principles of right behavior, I can very easily let my emotions go haywire to the point that I may loose perspective of what is right.

To see myself through in trying situations, I have organized a list of basic dos and donts for me on right behavior that I would like to share with you. Ok, so here is what I think:

1. Refrain!

Cats know what it is to refrain! My friend's cat captured on camera by her. Image©Dora

Cats know what it is to refrain! My friend's cat captured on camera by her. Image©Dora

This is the first rule! When the mind is feeling strong negative emotions, the first thing to do is to refrain from sending out rude text messages or get into ugly confrontations with others! Such hateful behavior only causes more bitterness and we become victims of our own bad behavior. When calmness returns, one usually always feels bad for having reacted under the influence of emotion.

2. Retreat

A statue of Buddha. Image©gunjanvirk

A statue of Buddha. Image©gunjanvirk

The second best thing to do when the mind is burning with negative feelings, is to retreat into your inner self and watch the negative emotion as if it belongs to someone else, so that you are no longer involved in it but become only a witness of what is happening.

3. Recycle

A recycle trash can from a hotel stay!  Image©gunjanvirk

A recycle trash can from a hotel stay!  Image©gunjanvirk

This is something I practiced the other day. I had gotten into an unpleasant situation with a friend and as my heart started beating fast and my emotions started reacting in a negative way, the first thing I did was to refrain from saying anything, the second thing I did was to become a witness to my own negative emotions and the third thing I did was to recycle my negative thoughts about this friend I was involved with, into positive ones by starting to give her a benefit of doubt. The effect was immediate, my heart quietened and a feeling of peace came over me and I was indeed able to resolve the situation amicably. :)

4. Relax!

My coffee mug! Image©gunjanvirk

My coffee mug! Image©gunjanvirk

When you have done all of the above, relax and let go...! Go for a long walk or get yourself a cup of coffee or drown the negativity in the pool, whatever works for you! Relaxation helps in a dynamic shift of the consciousness and brings you to a state where you can evaluate things including your own behavior with even-mindedness.

5. Refocus :)

Somebody had put these flowers on the railing outside my room when I was on retreat once! I find it a brilliant illustration on getting the right perspective and prioritizing. :) Ofcourse, I quickly snapped a picture! Image©gunjanvirk

Somebody had put these flowers on the railing outside my room when I was on retreat once! I find it a brilliant illustration on getting the right perspective and prioritizing. :) Ofcourse, I quickly snapped a picture! Image©gunjanvirk

When the mind is calm again, think about what happened and how important it is in the bigger picture. Refocus your priorities--the only thing of substance that we can take home from any given situation is whether we have learnt our lesson through it and grown in character; the situation itself is irrelevant because we will soon forget what happened but if we didn't learn our lesson, it will come back to us till, for the sake of our own happiness, we will have to learn from it and grow. :)

P.S: I am a student of meditation and have been following the Self Realization teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda (author of the acclaimed spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi) for several years now.