By Nina Lei
Have you ever been so emotional that it prevented you from thinking clearly? I’m going to take a guess and say probably yes.
No matter the emotion – anger, sadness, happiness, etc. – when it’s powerful and overtakes you, it can prevent you from having a rational view of situations. This is probably most obvious when people are very angry. They forget what they’re angry about or what the situation is, but they’ll stay angry and keep acting in angry ways. Even if the situation around them starts to become resolved, it might take some time for people to calm down. They remember primarily that they’re very upset, so quickly trying to make themselves not upset is not an option, since something did happen to make them upset and therefore they rightfully are and should be upset.
I’m sure this has happened to many (most) of us. After describing this example, it doesn’t seem very rational. So how can people prevent themselves from getting overly emotional and having to suffer the consequences of their reactions?
One way is to reframe your thoughts about the situation. A healthier substitute for anger is frustration. It’s normal to be frustrated when situations are unfair or don’t turn out the way you thought they would. Remind yourself that anger is an intense emotion that is likely to leave you feeling badly for some time. Frustration on the other hand is less intense and is something that you’ll probably get over more quickly. Repeat to yourself that the situation is frustrating but not the end of the world; that it’s something that bothers you at the moment but will likely pass over time or you’ll at least find a way to deal with it over time. Eventually, with practice, you’ll start to have less intensive emotional reactions to situations that would have previously made you very angry.
Of course, you need to believe these new thoughts in order for them to actually be helpful to you in the future. A therapist can help you with identifying your irrational thoughts and changing them into rational, more constructive ways of thinking. Take a look at our website, www.mytherapist.info, and feel free to contact us for more information!