Dr Mazvita Machinga
FROM time to time, I have heard people saying that “there is nothing to be sad about”.
Why are you anxious, this will mean you are not strong? Is this so that when people express emotions they need to be discouraged?
In fact, emotions are an important part of who we are as human beings and it is okay to express and regulate them in positive ways. Unfortunately, for many of us we enter the workforce knowing how to read and write, but too often, we lack the skills to manage and regulate our emotions.
Children are taught how to read and write in schools, but no time is spend helping them understand their emotions and how to handle them, even at home. Yet, as we move through our daily routines, whether working, spending time with family and friends, eating, relaxing, worshipping even sleeping, we are subject to constant stream of emotions that need to be controlled or regulated.
Emotions are a gift from God.
We need to learn how to control them. Processing and experiencing your feelings are part of having a full life. There is need to be careful since if we allow our emotions to dictate how we live our lives, they can lead us to serious problems such as anxiety, depression etc.
Every-one needs the capacity to understand and manage emotions.
Emotional intelligence — is the key to both personal and professional success. We all need emotional intelligence to be able to control, and express our emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships carefully and compassionately.
What can you say about your emotional intelligence? What can you say about the way you handle your emotions?
Many people have gotten into trouble by not being able to control their emotions. With education and sensitisation, people may be able to handle strong emotions.
The following four are essential to emotional healthy, self-awareness, self-regulation or management, social awareness and relationship management. In this article, I will focus on self- awareness and its importance in mental health.
Self-awareness is the ability to label, recognise, and understand your own emotions. It is your ability to say aware of your emotions and manage your behaviour and tendencies.
Simply speaking self-awareness is knowing yourself as you really are, your strengths, limitations, interests, and preferences.
If left unchecked or challenged, emotions can be harmful to yourself and to all others around you.
People who are high in their self-awareness are remarkably clear in their understanding of what they do well, what motivates them, what situations or people push their buttons.
Self- awareness is so important for productivity and performance. Studies have shown that 83 percent of people high in self-awareness are top performers, while two percent of bottom performers are high in self-awareness.
Which category do you see yourself in? If you are within the 83 percent then there is need to get help. The following are some of the ways you can improve your self-awareness.
Make time for honest self-reflection
Know your strengths and limitations. Knowing your strengths and coping with your weaknesses, will help you improve self-awareness.
Name your emotions and be true to yourself. Get to know yourself under stress. . .
Feel your emotions in your body and watch the effects in your body e.g. heart palpitations, hypertensive, shortness of breath etc. during challenging moments.
Notice the build-up of emotions and take necessary measures e.g. walking away or postponing issues to later times.
Recognise recurring patterns and get help, stop and ask yourself why do you do what you do?
Ask for feedback listen, keep an open-mind.
Know your emotional triggers.
Set boundaries and practice self-discipline.
Actively prevent fatigue by taking rest.
Remember self-awareness gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes as well as from your successes. It is not the absence of mistakes but the ability to self-correct.
It enables you to keep growing. So as we approach festive season, always reflect your actions, emotions and attitudes. Do not put yourself into trouble by not regulating and managing your emotions. Professional help is always available for all those who struggle with their emotions.
Dr Mazvita Machinga Ph.D is a qualified psychotherapist based in Mutare. For psychotherapy and counseling you can call 0778 83 8410 / 0771 754 519 email [email protected]