Risk Management Strategy: Curb Your Emotional Reactions
06 Feb 2015
I was going through the journal of clinical Investigations when I came across the subject of cardiovascular reactions to emotional stimuli. According to an article written in 1947 by scholars John Hickam, Walter Cargill and Abner Golden, people who find themselves in a hazardous state such as a state of anxiety, anger, and resentment are at risk of excessive changes in the heart rate otherwise known as increased cardiac output.
The medical profession recognizes that an emotional outburst of anger can cause blood pressure to jump sixty points almost instantaneously. This is evidence of the insurmountable strain that uncontrolled emotions can have on the heart. This reminds of the words of Dr N.V Peale who wrote in the power of positive thinking that if you can’t control your emotions you are basically putting your life at the mercy of anybody who can annoy you. Basically the way we are designed as human beings is such that chemical reactions occur in the body as a result of emotional outbursts. In some cases they result in physical ailments such as ulcers, headaches, depression. Some physicians even suggest that there is a form of nausea which is caused by anxiety. Accelerated aging may also occur as a result of emotional imbalance.
It can be argued therefore that failing to curb your emotional reactions is in itself a major risk to your livelihood that you would do well to manage. I believe that every individual is a risk manager. I consider life to be one big project in which many risks may be encountered but the people who do well are those who implement the right strategies to manage the risks they come across. What we are considering here is the risk of ill-health as a result of our emotional reactions.
I have outlined below 4 strategies which can be implemented in order to minimise or potentially avoid the risk caused by our own emotional reactions:
Practice Deep Breathing
An emotionally charged person will usually be so fired up they will begin to hyperventilate as the emotions take charge. You will generally be breathing too quickly and this creates excessive hyperventilation. Hyperventilation is when you breathe out too much carbon dioxide and breathe in too much oxygen because of improper breathing fueled by your emotional state at the time. You can try to manage this by learning to slow down your breathing. Normally we breathe 15 times a minute, but when we are able to rhythmically slow down the breath to only 4 breaths per minute, we have indirect control over our minds. This control eliminates obnoxious behavior, promoting a calm mind regardless of the state of affairs. Slowing down your breathing will help you to regain the carbon dioxide you lost when you were hyperventilating and it will improve the blood flow to your brain.
There is a negative correlation between exercise and anxiety. Those that don’t exercise are generally more prone to experience anxiety. It is not healthy to hold on to unused energy because it has a tendency to become anxiety or create anxious thoughts which lead to improper emotional reactions. Ryan Rivera’s calmclinic.com website has information that supports this assertion and I found it quite profound that it is a necessity for the sake of my health to expend all the energy that I generate. According to calmclinic.com as unused muscles become tense they cause more anxiety symptoms and these become the fuel for emotional problems. So there we have it exercise for your health and for the sake of balancing your emotions and minimize the probability of emotional outbursts and thus reduce the likelihood of such ailments as heart diseases, high blood pressure, depression etc.
I came across this idea of journaling a few years ago and ever since I discovered it I carry around a journal and just write down whatever my mind throws at me when I experience emotional turmoil. I have experienced the amazing and incredibly therapeutic effect of journaling.
So keep a notebook with you always and start writing out the thoughts that come into your head. I recommend that you actually physically write as opposed to typing. I have found that writing helps to clarify your thoughts. I found that there’s a certain rawness and authenticity that comes when you actually ascribe to a piece of paper with your pen as opposed to keying away on a keyboard. This activity will help to put your thoughts on paper so that your mind doesn’t feel it needs to focus on them anymore. This is a strategy that is considered to reduce any emotional tension you may be feeling and thereby contribute to minimizing any risk of cardiovascular problems caused by emotional reactions.
Meditation as a long term solution
There have been times in my life when I have been worried and upset and no knowing what to do. Such times when I felt like screaming, yelling and misbehaving. Full of fear and with emotions strewn around like the case of a train wreck. It was during one such time that I came across the practice of meditation. For me it was a major paradigm shift. The whole idea of focusing entirely on achieving calm, serenity and peace was very unusual but immensely transforming. I realized that when your emotions are allowed to calm down and all of your issues set aside for a while, you get your perspective back. After stumbling through and learning slowly I realized that the ability of daily challenges to cause me stress or affect my happiness was greatly reduced. One piece of advice I would give those of a religious disposition is that you should try to combine meditation with your religious beliefs. For example a 10 minute meditation can be transformed into a deep 10 minute prayer session where you meditate with the main focus of your mind being what God can do to help you calm down and achieve peace and serenity. Instead of repeating mantras one can repeat bible verses. When the practice is customized like this is becomes even more powerful as your mind becomes more receptive.
You can start to feel more in control of your life by beginning to meditate as it helps to set aside feelings of fear, doubt and worry. I believe this is a very powerful personal risk management strategy and a great way to curb emotional reactions
What I have written here are not magic pills that will provide instant relief from causes of emotional outbursts, they simply serve as suggested strategies that one can implement which I have seen to work in my own life as well in the lives of many people that I have encountered. I have no doubt that some people will be able to manage their emotions better after trying out these strategies and thus do a better job of being the risk managers in their own lives. They have certainly worked for me and may