by Alberta Parish
I would like to know how many of you allow your emotions to control you. The emotional state of a man usually determines how well he can handle the adversities that enter his life. Your emotions consist of the inner feelings of happiness, sorrow, love, hate, fear, anger, desire and guilt, all of which must be controlled in order to positively affect change in your life and environment. Therefore, controlling your emotions is the key to overcoming any challenge that threatens your state of mind.
Since positive emotions have a great influence on society, negative emotions have an equal impact on the public. American film critic, Roger Ebert once said, “Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.” We have seen firsthand how uncontrolled human emotions have transformed nations in regard to sectarian violence in the Middle East, the subjugation of Iraq and Syria by ISIL, and the Nazi extermination of Jews and Europeans during World War II. Even as the current conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is over a thousand years old, much of the violence we see is not all together politically motivated but instead is based on emotional reactions.
David Lacey wrote that “after the Nazi Holocaust, the threat of extermination for many Jews takes on enormous emotional and psychological significance, and they have the threat of annihilation built into their psyche. (Shalit, 1994). The three major wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973 were fought primarily because neighboring states refused to recognize their right to exist and threatened to wipe them out, reminding them of the precariousness of their situation. What may appear to some as overblown rhetoric, the threat to “push Israel into the sea” reawakens annihilation anxiety, and brings to the fore the determination not to be passive in the face of the enemy” (Lacey 81).
Controlling one’s emotional responses—especially when threatened—is never easy. When faced with a real or perceived threat, our natural instinct for self-preservation becomes activated. Therefore, such emotions as stress and fear are effective whenever one encounters a dangerous situation, or even a toxic relationship. However, when stress and fear continues long after a negative event has taken place, it is usually a sign of an underlying psychological issue that, when left ignored and untreated, can produce frequent panic attacks, heart disease, neurological disorders, and behavioral problems. Unfortunately, emotional responses to traumatizing events like witnessing a loved one’s murder, neighborhood violence, and childhood abuse are factors contributing to juvenile delinquency as well as the number of homeless youth in America.
Controlling one’s emotions could mean the difference between committing a violent act, and living a happy life. Since the heart is the seat of our emotions, it is imperative that we guard it from emotional corruption such as hatred, anger and unforgiveness. Relinquishing anger and forgiving others also releases negative energy from the body in the form of psychosomatic illnesses like depression, suicidal thoughts, memory loss, and sleep deprivation. In addition, Dr. Cynthia Thaik, a Harvard-trained cardiologist stated that “prolonged bouts of anger can take the toll on the body in the form of high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, headaches and poor circulation. Research also shows that even one five-minute episode of anger is so stressful that it can impair your immune system for more than six hours” (Thaik 1).
In conclusion, I challenge everyone to gain rulership of your emotions and not allow your emotions to dominate you. Uncontrolled emotions have long-term consequences that often destroy relationships with significant others and family members. Since positive emotional reactions determine how well one handles the adversities that enter his life, negative emotional reactions equally threaten the quality of one’s life. Therefore, controlling your emotions is greatly essential to your physical and mental health.