Emotions are responsible for organizing the attachment behavioral system which orients and motivates responses, and communicates our needs and longings to others. The Christian view of emotions is that they are often a faithful reflection of what people believe and value. Emotions are part of the created image of God.
Emotions represent the reality of people’s faith, and God has promised in the Bible that those who believe in Him will receive a new heart (mind), as stated in Jeremiah 31:3. The goal of a faithful Christian is to conform his/her emotions to the truth, and to have the mind of Christ.
Having the mind of Christ means having the emotions of Christ. Romans 12:1-2 speaks of renewing the mind. This renewing of the mind implies, among other things, a regulation of the emotions to avoid an amygdala hijacking.
How do we learn to regulate our emotions? In this post, I will teach you five things you should do in order to regulate your emotions effectively, and develop emotional intelligence.
First, as we have learned in our latest post, we need to practice self-awareness, especially in five key different areas. The following is a five-step program to regulate your emotions, and develop Emotional Intelligence. This is an adaptation of Mark Goulston’s formula to teach an amygdala to dance.
- Trigger Awareness: Pause immediately after something upsetting has occurred and write down: “What has just happened that is upsetting me?________________________________.”
- Emotional Awareness: Attach a word to what you are emotionally feeling, and say to yourself or write down: “I am emotionally feeling angry, anxious, frustrated, afraid, scared, upset, overwhelmed”, or what and how intensely (mild, moderate, very).
- Awareness about the consequences: Think of what would happen if you act upon that impulse and write down: “If I act on that impulse, the immediate consequence will be____________________, the consequence tomorrow will be_______________ and the consequence one week henceforth will be___________________________.
- Reality Check Awareness: Think if there is some other explanation for what happened to you. Remember that how you interpret your event/situation will influence your emotional response. Write down: “an alternate possible explanation for what just upset me is________________.”
- Solution Awareness: Pause and think of a different solution you might try besides your original impulse. Ask, “What would Jesus do in my situation?” and write down: “A better way to respond to this would be___________”.
Today, I challenge you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you regulate your emotions, so you can reflect the mind of Christ. It is not easy to have self-control, especially when someone has done something that upsets you. However, with Christ you could do anything because He gives you the power to regulate your emotions (Phil. 4:13).