We have a lot of emotions, both positive and negative. Negative ones include jealousy, hatred, anger, self-defeat, etc. Positive ones include passion, love, compassion, mercy, contentment, patience, etc. Learning to manage your emotions is a key productivity technique in order to ensure that you make the best of the positive emotions and overcome the negative ones which sit as an obstacle in your path to leading a productive life.
Your goal may be to make yourself aware of the negative emotions you have and overcome them, or your goal may be to bring in more positive emotions to your life; or to take your current positive emotions to a whole new level. Stop for a moment, set your intention on what you want to achieve, and read on.
Emotional mastery can be divided into 3 basic components:
Ability to handle thoughts
Your life going forward
Cleaning the wounds or things that happened in your past, that caused the current emotion
Each of these has sub-categories that dictate how we can handle each of them. With this article series, I intend to share some basic concepts you can apply this Ramadan, inshaAllah.
The Quran considers handling our emotions in a very high regard: “Those who restrain their anger and pardon men; for Allah loves the doers of good (to others)” [3:134].
Here is how this series of articles will be divided:
Part 1, which is the current part, will discuss the Science of Emotions and importance of Emotional Mastery in Islam as we learn about pattern interruption.
Part 2 is where we will identify the kinds of thoughts that affect our emotions and pattern interruption strategy to overcome certain emotions.
Part 3 is where I will take up one major emotion – forgiveness. This Ramadan, when we look forward to forgiveness from Allah, we can see how we can forgive everyone who came in to our life and may have caused us pain. I teach you a strategy you can apply to forgive everyone, and you can come out of this Ramadan with amazing mind and spirit, inshaAllah.
Your Emotion = Behavior + Intention
An emotion is a ‘behavior’ which is triggered by an internal intention or trigger point. Similar outside behaviors could have different sources and trigger points, which vary from person to person.
The solution to an emotional problem is similar to a physician treating a headache. The cause could be stress-related; or maybe you missed your morning coffee; or you didn’t get enough sleep last night; or there may be a symptom of another physical illness. A good doctor first identifies the root cause of the headache and then works on the change.
Emotion works the same way. Two individuals can have a habit of getting angry, while the cause of anger may differ. We can see the external result (anger, loneliness, mind wandering, anxiety, addictions, etc.) as “behaviors” triggered by an internal trigger – i.e., “intention.”
Science of Mind and Emotional Mastery
If you are having a particular emotion, there is a precise cause for it. While the cause will vary from person to person, there is always an underlying cause: it involves brain, mind, heart and body. Mind and Emotion is a science and it deals with real issues inside our minds/bodies.
3 Levels of Emotional State:
At any given time, a person can be in either of these 3 levels:
Level 1: You are on the floor. Life has just knocked you down and you are on the ground. Maybe you are going through a divorce, or you have some personal traumatic experience that is going on. For this level, the goal is to give yourself a hand so that you can stand up, and then work to empower your emotional state.
Level 2: Here you live a regular life, at least in front of society. However, you feel deep inside that something is missing. You are married, but there is no passion between you and your spouse. You have a business, though you are not fully committed. You started a study course, though you feel you don’t have the initial motivation. Maybe you just have a feeling inside that there is something going on that you need to explore. For this level, the goal is to look at your internal thoughts and emotions, and identify what is going on.
Level 3: You are fully passionate, fully charged, and just awesome. And you want to take your life to a whole new level. For this level, the goal is to super-charge your already exciting life to a fully new level. Also see if you have any elements of Level 2 hidden inside, and remove them as well.
So ask yourself: which level are you in right now?
In the next part we will discuss ANT (Automatic Negative Thoughts), and pattern interruption strategies to handle them.