09/07/2014

My Secret to Emotional Control*

Posted in Encouragement, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:13 pm by The Water Bearer

shhh

I used to believe that I was dead right about the way I assessed my emotions. I used them as platforms from which to bounce. I saw good emotions as reasons to smile, laugh and brag, and I saw negative emotions as an unacceptable state that I wanted to give away to anyone who would listen. I wanted to avoid and control negative feelings. I believed I was addressing everything and never “swept it under a rug”. I told myself this was healthy.

Realistically I was catapulting from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, and stability was so rare I could barely recognise it enough to know I needed it. Truth be told, I used emotions as an excuse to be reckless in my pursuit of happiness. I thought life owed me happiness, I knew no different. I believed my pain wouldn’t stop unless I focused on it, gave it credit and tried to find a way to stop it. Little did I know, I was adding fuel to the unstable emotional fire.

It was very difficult to firstly accept this mindset and then change it.

It is important to understand that emotions are powerful catalysts to another dimension. A dimension where an alien can easily take control of our ship if we fail to handle these inner enemies with caution.

When we become aware of the destructive nature of emotional instability, we are on our way to laying a new foundation from which to bounce through life.

Try looking at emotions as an ocean, high waves and low, ripples that can carry on for miles, sometimes intense and sometimes peaceful but always temporary.

Acknowledge how you feel, and why, recall the evidence of past destructive tendencies, and remind yourself, “I am not to be trusted to make good choices right now”. Just like standing under an impending wave, keep your head down (lay low, try to engage with the world as little as possible), allow the waves to crash or wash over you and give it as much time is needed until the wave has passed. You may actually be surprised how much more quickly the emotions lose intensity once you learn to ride them out this way. Once it is safe to lift your head you will see how much more clearly you can think. A clear head space is vital for preventing the mess that is often left in the wake of uncontrolled emotions.

We can’t control emotions by stopping them or avoiding them, but we can control how much damage they cause us by controlling ourselves during those waves. Thanks be to God, I have noticed that I can manage the lows much better than I used to, and find long-lasting peace in the present, without all the emotions that only seemed to create temporary happiness.

Surfer ducks under wave as hurricane approaches

16/06/2014

Toxic Emotional Choices*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:26 am by The Water Bearer

decision ahead

There is no denying it, strong emotions easily influence our decisions, and not usually in a good way.

We’ve all experienced overwhelming emotions in varying degrees in our lives. Times when clarity evades us under a dark cloud of confusing heartache, desperation, anguish, guilt, fear….

Even enjoyable emotions can negatively influence our decisions, especially in relationships. We feel so strongly, emotionally excited, that we let our pursuit of those feelings misguide our ability to be logical and rational regarding the pace we let the relationship develop and how deeply or quickly we invest our trust. Not just in romantic relationships but friendships as well. Our desire to be loved and accepted can smother the logic that recognizes a red flag and should deter us from believing flattery and false promises.

Negative emotions can cause us to make rash reactive decisions, without evaluating at the time, we may not like the long term consequences. We have all made a decision in the heat of the moment only to realize we would have done things differently had we had control of the emotions effecting us at the time.

I suffer from a few psychological issues, mainly anxiety and a manic/depressive mood disorder. Unstable emotions play a huge role in my daily life. I am extremely guilty of letting emotions control my decisions in the past, and truth be told, they still haunt me sometimes.

So what has changed?    ….   Lots!

We may not be able to stop our emotions, but we can prevent them from poisoning our choices. Oh and don’t be confused here: Reactions are not choices. However, using our emotions to excuse our reactions is a choice.

Through many years of therapy and self-awareness I have learned not to trust my emotions. I have learned to accept them as a reactive response but I know if I act too quickly while experiencing the emotion I will regret it later. So I had to set myself some rules.

It is important to develop your own set of rules, by looking back over your life and seeing the patterns. If you know you always find yourself in the same predicaments over and over, seek a Councillor/Psychologist to help you establish some rules that are healthy for you and the decisions you want to make in future.

Look carefully at the people you spend time with. Are they empowering your emotions and encouraging impulsive choices? Or do they display self-control and rational choices? We are all influenced by the  people we associate with on a regular basis, but the beauty is we get to choose not to spend time with those who negatively impact us.

A stable confidant is vital to this transition, to detoxing our decision making.

 

detox

 

When dealing with volatile situations and strong emotions, get some distance from the immediate situation and speak to someone who you know has a calm, unemotional sense of reason before doing anything else.

Remember: A little prayer goes a long way. If you resonate with this post but doubt your ability to overcome your overpowering emotions, ask your Heavenly Father for some help, read His Word. Through Christ’s strength ALL things are possible!

christ

 

28/06/2013

Decisions Decisions! ARGH!*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, General, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:01 am by The Water Bearer

woman-thinking-really-hard-150x150

As a parent there are a lot of tough jobs. They come in waves, ganging up on us, after a while a different range of jobs becomes the focus…… or the torment! 😉

Lately the wave of ‘decision making’ has tumbled me over and over, and then pummeled me into the hard sand below.

I only work part-time, so I am there to pick my girls up from school everyday and share as much of their time as I can. I am with them a lot, so of course they ask me the most questions. I am sure most Mum’s can relate.

Young Girl : Can I have Tuckshop today Please??? I haven’t had it for weeks….

Young Girl: Can my friend sleepover? We promise not to be noisy……

Old Girl: Can I go to this party?

Young Girl : Can I ride my bike on the road? I promise to watch out for cars, My sister used to be allowed….

Young Girl : Can I play on the Wii before bed?? I will sleep straight after, I promise……

Old Girl: Can I go for a drive with my friends?

Young Girl : Can I watch this movie?….It’s only got some mild course language. I will not listen to it or think its funny….

Old Girl: Can I stay out past curfew just this once?

Young Girl : Can I save the rest of my dinner for lunch tomorrow? I am not that hungry and it will be so nice for lunch…..

Young and Old Girl : Can you straighten my hair before school?

Young Girl: Can I have $2 for an ice block?

Old Girl: Can you drive me to the shops?

Young Girl: Can I come in to pay for the fuel? (And ask for half the store while I’m in there)

Old Girl: Can I have $50 for a new skirt and shoes?

And on and on it goes…..

OH.. GOD HELP ME!!!

Coming up with reasonable answers when put on the spot is hard enough, but when those answers are challenged with convincing and logical replies, aimed to change my decision, it can, at times, become unbearable.

I think I am a pretty tough Mum, I stick to my guns more often than not. I give my explanations so they understand why I made that decision.

Now I am wondering if those explanations are the flaw in my plan…

As my children are growing, their voice of reasoning and negotiations skills are developing, and I think perhaps I have taught them too well. They know exactly what to say to make me question if my decision is fair, or right, or reasonable. They know how important I take my role as their Mum, and that I want to make as many right decisions as possible.

With my current condition and medication aggravating my mood disorder, over these past few months I have experienced a few old familiar “episodes”, these are my inner enemies. Some episodes are manic, some depressed and anxious, some irritable and reactive. When the enemy of anxiety rises up, making decisions is almost impossible to do with any certainty. Second guessing yourself is a constant companion. Then again, so is third guessing and fourth guessing and so on….

Unfortunately, the questions don’t stop just because I am mid-episode. Young girl doesn’t read the warning signs and demands more from me when I am fragile, and old girl (who was always the most compliant child) has found her challenging teenage voice. After 3 months on the medication that stirs up inner enemies, I was at breaking point!

Family meeting time!

After taking the time to explain my condition in more detail to my family, I asked for some extra grace through this trying time, and for them to ask themselves if their questions are really that important or urgent. I also explained that when you share a house with anyone, whether it is family, friends, strangers, borders etc, a major part of making it a healthy household is being considerate of each other. If you can tell that someone is having a hard time, a bad day or asking for some space, then the polite and respectful thing to do, is do your best to accommodate them. That way they might return the same grace to you when you need it.

I ended our family meeting with a gentle warning:

If you poke and rabid dog with a stick, no matter how much it loves you, it will eventually turn and bite. And if you ask an anxious Mum too many questions at the wrong time, the answer you get may be unfair, unreasonable and wrong. Yet that is the chance you take when you ignore the signs of your poor worn out Mum, who loves you more than words can say, but won’t like you very much if you wake her from her self-prescribed recovery nap to ask if you can finish the rest of the jelly!

sleep

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