One of the most important skills we can learn in life is to manage our emotions well. For most of us, this is a lifelong process. Emotional management is a sign of maturity and those who cultivate this ability lead more meaningful lives. They are less reactive in emotionally charged situations, which allows them freedom to think clearly and act in a dignified manner.
It is refreshing to be around people who have a calming influence on others. One such individual who impacted my life for good was Coach LaVell Edwards. During my first few years at BYU, I was privileged to serve as an academic advisor for the football team. Every year there were stressful times when student-athletes struggled to maintain their eligibility. Often times, people began pointing fingers at each other and assigning blame when a star athlete became ineligible. However, I never felt like Coach Edwards blamed me when one of his players had to suffer the consequences of his poor academic decision-making. Instead, Coach Edwards kept his composure which allowed him to solve problems while maintaining effective relationships. It was easy to be loyal to Coach Edwards as he behaved with such integrity.
To a great extent we have the ability to choose our emotional state. We do so through our thoughts and our daily approach to life. Positive thinking can lead to feelings like happiness, confidence, optimism, peace and contentment. We can choose to be grateful for the many blessings we have been given and to express our appreciation to those around us for making a positive contribution in our lives. When faced with emotional challenges we can keep our perspective and demonstrate poise. However, even with our best efforts, there are times when all of us will experience emotional difficulty.
We learn from the scriptures that there must be opposition in all things. Therefore, we all experience moments of sadness, despair, anger, doubt, pressure, and fear. These emotions are part of the human experience and allow us to lead richer and fuller lives. To ultimately taste the sweet we must endure periods of temporary bitterness. Some of my favorite sports memories are of seasons where our teams were resilient, unified, and faithful despite losing more games than anticipated. What made these experiences so memorable was the great finish at the end of the year. What a thrill it is to stay together during adversity until you reap the rewards of your hard work together.
We all have the opportunity to learn from our previous triumphs and setbacks. Think of times when you were proud of yourself for how you chose to respond when emotions were running high. Also, recall those difficult memories when you were less than your best self and regretted something you did or said. These are great learning experiences that can help shape us into the people we want to become in the future. By managing our emotions well, we will enhance our performance and build positive relationships with all people in our lives.
Managing Difficult Emotions
Recognize your emotional state
Accept and normalize your experiences
Remember who you are striving to become
Rekindle hope and optimism for the future
Refocus on what you can do to improve the circumstance
Take action, re-engage in a meaningful way