If you are keen to live longer, or at the very least to age gracefully, then one of the major areas you will want to focus on is your emotions. Now, you can’t simply control your emotions, or stop one that is arising from taking place. But what you can do is learn how to deal with negative emotions in such a way that they are less likely to crop up again in the future. And as it turns out, this might be central to ensuring that you can live a fuller and longer life. Let’s take a look at this in detail.
The Trouble With Negative Emotions
Emotions in themselves are not necessarily a problem. But if you are full of anger or hatred all the time, for instance, then this is going to be having a serious knock-on effect. And it is an effect that will influence not only your physical health, but your mental wellbeing too. The trouble with negative emotions is that they can cause a spike in cortisol, and if that happens too often, it can lead to a stressed body which is more prone to illness and disease. And that’s without even mentioning the negative impact it can have on your social and work lives.
Understanding Your Feelings
Clearly, it’s important to try and regain some control over your feelings, and the first step is to simply try to understand them a little better. The better you understand your feelings – what they are about, where they come from and why – the more of a say you have over whether they happen at all. Certain conditions can make them more likely, as with autism and anger, as can negative life experiences and bad genes. The more you know about your own troublesome emotions, the more empowered you are to deal with them.
Very often, there is a useful irony that we can make use of if we want to deal with our emotions better: rather than trying to control them, we can simply sit back and watch them. The ability to do this is what is often referred to as mindfulness, and the truth is that it is a very simple and effective method for calming your emotions as they arise. Developing the ability to watch your emotions without ‘serving them tea’ can be all you need to do to ensure that you can cope with them better.
Building Up New Habits Of Mind
Once you have done that, you should start to be in a position to build up new habits of mind which will be more useful for you in the long run. This includes purposefully developing positive feelings in yourself until they are the status quo. If you can do this, you should find that it makes your life a lot easier in so many ways, and a lot more enjoyable for you as well, so it is absolutely worth doing. Build up those new habits in whatever way you can, and you should find it really helps.