Meditation: Emotion

Emotion is a very complex feeling. It is something that has been hard to define. Looking at various dictionaries here are some of the attempts. Merriam-Webster defines emotion as a conscious mental reaction subjectively experienced as a strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body. Freedictionary. com states that emotion is an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness. Volitional means making a conscious choice, rather than an emotional choice. The Cambridge Dictionary simply states that it is a strong feeling like love or anger or any strong feeling in general. In most circles being “emotional” is considered a bad trait. People have a tendency to think that feelings and emotions are the same, but basically it is emotions, that lead to feelings. Emotions and feelings arise in different parts of the brain. Another way of putting it is that emotions are aroused before feelings. You could write a blog, or even a book on just trying to define and explain emotions. What is more interesting is how people and mental health experts feel about emotions.

There is a general consensus that we should try, and hide are emotions, most of the time. Crying, particularly by men, and even more so if the man is a leader, is considered a sign of weakness by some. Is there somewhere that we could see, where some part of our society has become more emotional over the last 20 to 30 years, and the effects that that may have had. You do not have to look very far to find that that has happened in the world of sports. Players today, show more emotion, than any time in history. It used to be, that teams and players would only show a lot of emotion when they scored a touchdown or even waited until the game was over. Now players are fist pumping, bat flipping, dancing, and going through extreme gyrations, just when they make a good play. It doesn’t seem to make any difference, when it takes place during the game, or what the score is, players will show their emotions when they make a good or great play. Even coaches on the sidelines are getting into the act by running up and down the field, clapping, fist pumping, exhorting the crowd, and showing every level of emotion during the game. The stoic, stone-faced coach is a dying breed. Has showing all this emotion been bad or good for all of these sports. You can find opinions on both sides of the question, on how all this emotional behavior has affected sports. If you google “being emotional” you will find sites that take a positive spin on being emotional and some trying to give advice on how to stop being so emotional. When people talk about the positive things of being so emotional, they feel that being emotional can help you be more aware of your own and other people’s feelings. The negative spin of being emotional, is that most of time, the emotional person becomes a big pain in the ass. There is no question in my mind, that people are showing more emotion in public, than they have in the past. I think it goes a long with people’s desire to discuss their dirty past, so to speak, in a public forum. Quite frankly I don’t see any good coming from that. Is there a best way of dealing with our emotions?

There is no question that emotions need to be acknowledged and treated kindly. Emotions should not be judged, or need to be justified. The feelings these emotions create need to be examined, and an attempt made to see what their root cause is. Emotions are just another sign, that the inward journey is the most important one you can take. Certain overwhelming, catastrophic, and unexpected events, may cause emotions that cannot or should not be repressed. In the normal, day to day events in life, we need to find a way to deal with the emotions, that could be detrimental to ourselves, and those around us. Relaxed deep breathing is an excellent method to deal with unwanted or detrimental emotions. This can allow you to get over the situation that is causing these emotions, and then you can express these emotions when you are alone, or with one other person. Expressing emotions when you are by yourself, should be just as effective and more positive, than expressing them in a situation where harm may be done. Caring and being emotional can seem to go hand in hand. Many times, the thing that you care about can be harmed if you become emotional in certain situations. You have to take the emotion out of the situation, if you want to make clear and precise decisions. Emotions never should be repressed. You must know when the proper time is to show them and express them. The inward journey can help.

Meditation: Frustration

Frustration is defined as the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something. That definition is pretty tame, when you consider the emotions that frustration can bring on. I put this topic under meditation but it could apply to any of the subjects I write about, which will be covered in future blogs. Frustration has been divided into two types. Internal frustration is where an individual faces challenges in fulfilling personal goals, desires, instinctual drives  and needs, or dealing with perceived deficiencies, such as a lack of confidence or fear  of social situations. External frustration  involves conditions outside an individual’s control, such as a physical roadblock, a difficult task, or the perception of wasting time. We all seem to go through periods of frustration, at some time in our lives and some individuals seem to be frustrated all the time. We are always frustrated with a lack of success. I am always fascinated by fan’s frustration over the performance of the their sports teams. People will get frustrated over what another person is doing or not doing. How many times have you heard some say, I can’t believe he, she, or they did that. Frustration is an emotion, that can lead directly to other emotions, that some people feel can be good and then, there are some not so good.

If you are getting frustrated with some aspect of you life, you can always do something about it. I do mean always. Many people look at a situation and do not see a solution. There is a solution to every problem or desire. The trick is in finding it. That doesn’t mean that you won’t still feel frustration over a situation. Once a solution is found, the next step is to execute it. Sometimes, that can be harder to do than anticipated. If you fail to execute the solution, then that can lead, right back to frustration. The external frustrations can even be more of a problem. Frustrations with other people, companies, government policies, retail services, and certain situations, can evoke strong emotions, that often times lead to no good. There is the added “benefit” of taking out your frustrations on someone or something else, rather than being frustrated with your self. This is where frustration will lead to anger and even violence. A lot of little frustrations, can lead to one major blow up. If you allow frustration to get the best of you, it will lead to regret and remorse. Is it better, to somehow, not ever get frustrated, or do you have to find a better way to handle the frustration, you are feeling?

It may seem unrealistic, to keep from getting frustrated. I can see getting frustrated over getting frustrated. However, despite what people say about frustration leading to some positive emotions, like trying to do better, and having more resolve, for the most part, frustration is simply not a good thing. The easy frustration to avoid, is external frustration. I am literally having external frustration, as I write this blog, because I can not get through to a restaurant, that I am trying to make a Friday night reservation. I am not feeling any frustration at all. Remember, I golf, so I really know what frustration feels like. My only feeling, right at the moment, is that if I never get through, this restaurant is not going to get my business. For external frustrations, you can always have alternative good thoughts. If you are stuck in traffic, because of an accident, be grateful you are not in the accident. If you think you are not being treated fairly, and even have suffered some financial loss, you will know not to do business, with that individual, again. Take legal action if the money loss is severe. Never get frustrated with an individual you know. Accept whatever they are doing, or don’t have the relationship. Remember, when it comes to interactions, never do anything you really don’t want to do. Trying to avoid being frustrated with yourself, is much harder to do, but it can be done. Frustration is usually brought about by failure. Failure to lose weight, failure to perform up to your expectation, and failure to achieve, are just some to the things that can lead to internal frustration. I am not one to say that failure is to be embraced, but realize that the only way not to fail, is not to do. If you fail, accept it and move on. Look for the solution, and try again. Frustration is not to be handled, it is to be avoided at all cost. By the way, I made my reservation.

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