- 🧠💪 Emotionally stable people are sceptical of their emotions and don’t give them excessive importance.
- 😢💔 They are willing to be vulnerable and to openly acknowledge and express their emotions.
- 🌊🔥 They focus on managing their stressors rather than just trying to manage their stress.
- 🚧🚧 They know how to set healthy boundaries to protect their well-being and manage external stressors.
What contributes to an individual’s emotional stability, you may wonder? Well, we all go through occasional shifts in mood from time to time. However, there are certain individuals who exhibit remarkable confidence and resilience in the face of challenging emotions and mood swings.
1. They approach their emotions with scepticism
A major reason why people become overwhelmed by their emotions is that they give them excessive significance.
Consider this scenario:
- You’re preparing to deliver a presentation to your team at work. Unexpectedly, anxiety creeps in, and you find yourself contemplating: “I’ve never felt anxious before prior to these presentations… Why am I feeling anxious now? What’s the matter?”
- Now, in addition to the initial anxiety, you start feeling anxious about feeling anxious! This amplifies your overall anxiety to a much higher level than it would have been.
- Consequently, due to this heightened anxiety, you begin worrying whether others in the room can perceive your anxiety, thus adding a third layer of anxiety!
- By this point, you are truly overwhelmed and extremely anxious. Your anxiety becomes so intense that you start perspiring and feel your heart pounding. At this stage, you even begin to worry if there might be some physical issue with you. As a result, your anxiety escalates even further.
This creates a vicious cycle! And it all originates from the initial assumption that your emotional state held significant importance… which triggered worry… which ultimately intensified anxiety.
Let’s be honest, feeling a little anxious before a meeting is no big deal! Anxiety doesn’t always carry profound meaning. However, assuming that it does and attaching undue significance to it leads to worry, which in turn intensifies anxiety.
To presume that emotions are always meaningful and important sets the stage for suffering and emotional instability.
Emotionally stable individuals are just as likely to regard their emotions as random or insignificant as they are to consider them as signs or subjects requiring deep analysis and comprehension.
Our culture often romanticises and glorifies emotions as mystical experiences laden with profound meaning and significance. Yet, in reality, emotions are merely one of the many functions of our bodies—sometimes distressing, sometimes pleasurable; sometimes beneficial, sometimes not.
Just because emotions can be meaningful on certain occasions does not warrant the assumption that they always are.
Stay mindful of your emotions. Acknowledge them. Validate them. And if the situation demands it, contemplate it or take appropriate action.
But never blindly trust them.
“Feelings are something you possess, not something you are.”
― Shannon L. Alder
2. They embrace vulnerability
Let’s face it, being emotionally vulnerable can be daunting…
- It’s embarrassing to confide in your spouse about your fear of potential job loss.
- It feels uncomfortable to admit that you’re still grieving and feeling sadness when you’re expected to be the “strong” one within your family.
- It’s challenging to acknowledge your mistakes and confront feelings of guilt and shame.
However, many things in life are arduous:
- Choosing to go to the gym instead of lounging on the couch and indulging in Netflix.
- Returning to school to complete your degree.
- practising scales on the piano.
- Weeding the garden.
- Offering constructive criticism to your partner.
- Saving money instead of indulging in impulsive spending.
Life presents us with numerous challenges that compel us to step out of our comfort zones, regardless of the discomfort they may elicit. The underlying rationale is simple: Enduring present difficulties often leads to future rewards.
Likewise, this principle applies to our emotions. If you aspire to experience long-term emotional well-being, you must be willing to tolerate short-term emotional discomfort.
Emotional stability arises from emotional confidence—a conviction that experiencing unpleasant emotions does not imply their inherent negativity or necessitate immediate eradication.
So, how does one cultivate emotional confidence?
By embracing emotional vulnerability—acknowledging, experiencing, and openly expressing emotions rather than attempting to suppress or distract oneself from them.
A simple technique to initiate this journey towards emotional vulnerability (and eventually enhanced emotional confidence and stability) is to practice using I Feel Statements to articulate your emotional state:
- Replace “I’m stressed” with “I feel afraid.”
- Substitute “I’m pissed off” with “I feel angry that you did that.”
- Transform “I’m just a little off today” into “I feel sad because I miss my kids.”
Summon the courage to embrace vulnerability in your emotional expression, and the confidence to navigate your emotions will naturally follow suit.
“Anything you wholeheartedly accept will guide you towards peace. That is the miracle of surrender.”
― Eckhart Tolle
3. They manage their stressors, not just their stress
Allow me to share an obvious yet often overlooked realization:
Handling difficult emotions becomes significantly more challenging when you are under stress.
Reading this statement in plain terms may seem blatantly obvious. However, I frequently encounter individuals who struggle to manage their emotions effectively, attributing their difficulties solely to their perceived inadequacies in handling such emotions.
In reality, the underlying issue lies in their difficulty managing emotions while grappling with an overwhelming amount of stress—an experience common to every individual on this planet!
On the other hand, you would be astounded by your innate capacity to navigate challenging emotions successfully when stress levels are kept in check.
Consequently, a key secret of emotionally stable individuals lies in their ability to effectively control stress levels.
But how do they accomplish this? Are they experts in stress management? Not quite. In fact, they steer clear of stress management because they intuitively comprehend one crucial distinction:
It is better to proactively manage stressors before they escalate into stress.
Once you are overwhelmed by stress, eliminating it becomes an arduous task. Despite employing an array of coping mechanisms and relaxation strategies, the stress often persists until it naturally subsides.
If you continuously fixate on managing stress itself, you will inevitably allocate less time and energy towards understanding the origins and causes of your stress—the stressors.
Emotional stability arises from effective stress management. However, the most effective form of stress management entails prioritizing the management of stressors rather than fixating on stress itself.
Imagine having a bullet lodged in your chest. No matter how many bandages you apply throughout the night, the bleeding will persist until you address the underlying cause—the foreign object piercing your body and puncturing a blood vessel.
Treat the cause, not just the symptom. Manage your stressors, not merely your stress.
How, then, does effective stressor management manifest?
A valid question indeed, and one that we shall explore in our final point below 👇
4. They possess the art of setting healthy boundaries
In essence, managing your stressors revolves around establishing healthy boundaries.
Consider the following scenario:
- Suppose one of the most significant sources of stress in your life is a coworker who frequently “drops by” your office to engage in idle conversation.
- This not only proves to be exasperating but also severely hampers your productivity and focus at work. As a result, you find yourself having to work late hours and sacrifice your weekends to catch up.
- Regrettably, due to your desire to avoid hurting your coworker’s feelings or appearing impolite, you allow this behavior to persist.
- Consequently, the stress stemming from the inability to accomplish sufficient work and having to work from home manifests as irritability and impatience towards colleagues and loved ones. Effectively managing this irritability becomes a formidable challenge.
If we trace this predicament back to its roots:
- You struggle to regulate your emotions.
- This is due to constantly being under stress.
- The stress stems from failing to manage your stressors.
- And why do you fail to manage your stressors? Because you are reluctant to establish boundaries.
So, what would it look like to set healthy boundaries in this case?
Well, it would likely involve putting a stop to your distracting coworker consuming a significant portion of your time!
Easier said than done, right? Undoubtedly. Nevertheless, it remains an imperative course of action.
In my experience, two fundamental concepts prove vital in the pursuit of setting healthy boundaries:
- Assertive communication: Initially, many individuals struggle with setting boundaries because they fear being perceived as rude or mean. However, assertiveness enables you to effectively communicate your wants and needs while still demonstrating respect for others. It is perhaps the most underestimated skill in the realm of emotional well-being.
- Boundary enforcement: While setting boundaries may present challenges, enforcing them often proves to be the most difficult part. After all, as much as we would prefer to reside in a world where our boundaries are respected at all times, such a utopia remains a fantasy. People will inevitably violate your healthy boundaries. The pertinent question then becomes: What will you do when that occurs? Unfortunately, most individuals do nothing, exacerbating the problem by inadvertently conveying a lack of seriousness regarding their boundaries. Thus, before establishing a boundary, it is imperative to consider the potential consequences if that boundary were to be violated. It is better to refrain from setting a boundary at all than to establish one that you are unwilling to enforce.
Ultimately, your ability to manage difficult moods and emotions extends beyond internal contemplation—external influences shape our emotional experiences.
Consequently, if you aspire to bolster your emotional stability, it is crucial to acquire effective skills in managing the stressors and individuals within your environment. In most cases, this entails establishing and upholding healthy boundaries.
“If people persistently trample upon you, don a pointed hat.”
― Joyce Rachelle
The Key Takeaways
To cultivate greater emotional stability, consider integrating the following habits into your life:
- Foster skepticism towards your emotions.
- Embrace emotional vulnerability.
- Focus on managing your stressors, not just your stress.
- Develop the art of setting healthy boundaries.
In conclusion, emotional stability is attainable by cultivating a few key habits. Firstly, being skeptical of our emotions can prevent us from getting overwhelmed by them. Recognizing that emotions are not always indicative of something significant allows us to maintain a more balanced perspective. Secondly, embracing vulnerability with our emotions is essential for developing emotional confidence. Rather than trying to avoid or suppress negative emotions, it is important to acknowledge and express them in a healthy way. Thirdly, focusing on managing stressors rather than stress itself can lead to greater emotional stability. By addressing the root causes of stress, we can prevent it from escalating and affecting our emotional well-being. Lastly, setting healthy boundaries is crucial for maintaining emotional stability. Learning to communicate assertively and enforcing boundaries when they are violated promotes self-respect and reduces emotional stress. By incorporating these habits into our lives, we can enhance our emotional strength and resilience, leading to greater stability and well-being.