An emotion represents the response of our body to a given event. Something happens, our brain records it, interprets it, and our body responds with physiological modifications that prepare us for a congruent reaction.
Everything happens in a few milliseconds, it is not possible to break the path already started and prevent the “feeling” of emotion. So let us put the soul in peace: emotions are there and they are felt in all their bullying.
But this does not mean that you cannot do something about it. Taking note of the inevitability of emotions, we have to ask ourselves: is it possible to live the emotions without being overwhelmed by these?
But let’s start from the beginning, from where everything comes in some way: our brain.
Emotions and brain
The sequence described above is of a unique complexity and magnificence, as are all the expressions of our organism, which is a wonderful “machine” and unparalleled in its efficiency and rapidity.
Mechanisms related to the expression of emotions have an ancient origin, so that responsible brain circuits reside in the most primitive brain parts. Always to simplify: the ones that we share with animals. Precisely for this “instinctive”, fast and automatic character, it is by no means easy to control these processes. In fact, to say it all is practically impossible.
But for a long time, human beings have developed new and unique brain areas that go beyond the oldest circuits and allow us to experience emotions in a more complex way by recognizing, labeling and, to some extent, even inhibit emotional reactions.
Ultimately, therefore, we are not completely slaves of our emotions, even though the archaic mechanisms that are at its core escaping from any of our attempts to control. But if we cannot control the emergence of emotions, what can we do to manage them?
Attack and escape
By summing up, the first mechanism that is triggered is an automatic sequence that is outside our range of action: the brain interprets events and prepares the body to react.
Take for example one of the most basic emotions: fear. When we are afraid is because there is something happening (or we think it is going to happen) and it is a threat to our person. The possible answers to our instincts are two: either we attack or flee.
If there is a weeping, clearly angry and threatening mastin in front of us, we will surely be afraid, but before we realize it, we are likely to have gone out of the way (the “attack” does not speak right). Here we see the power of our automatic system of emotional reaction and reaction: we do not need to think about what to do. A little more time to think about the situation and the cunt could easily make us small.
In these cases, managing emotion would not make much sense. But if the dog is not there? That is, if the danger was not real, but only imagined?
Danger in preview
We can say that, for the sake of security, sometimes our brain tends to overestimate the danger. It is, for example, what happens when we experience anxiety. Anxiety, always simplifying, is the result of an exaggeration of the likelihood that there may be a danger, or an event that is against us.
Fear is having a threatening dog in front; anxiety is foretelling the possibility of finding it ahead. And here things get complicated. If we think we are in front of the dreaded Cerberus on the way to go, we will clearly experience anxiety in making that way. How do we react then? Quite simply, let’s avoid that path.
So far nothing bad. We set the mental navigator to take an alternative route and everything will be fine. Maybe we stretch a bit, but at least we’ll be safe. However, it is not always possible to go another way. And what if we were not an animal (that is, something tangible, concrete), but something more abstract, such as the fear of feeling bad? How do you get away from it?
Our brain, though bound to some rigid mechanisms, is actually very, very creative. Being a “physical” or “mental” danger will always find ways to avoid it. You can find out and learn, for example, that if you are afraid to feel bad; having a person who can help us when needed can make us feel safer.
Solutions like this though, though genial and helpful in the immediate aftermath, can have important side effects. Often, even worse than the danger initially feared. Those who seek psychological help for anxiety issues often do so because the solutions implemented so far have gone out of control.
Of course, the person is aware that the underlying cause of all is the fear behind certain behaviors, but he would not ask for help if the solution found worked really well. The problem then is that the strategies implemented are no longer functional.