Easing the Effects of Heart-Stopping, Stomach-Dropping Emotions

It’s been an emotional week. Between difficult decisions at work, unsettling phone conversations with far-away offspring, and exhilarating weekend worship and leisure activities, my psyche feels drained and my head feels a little heavy.

Some weeks provide more of an even keel than others. But it seems we can ride the wave of the easy-going life for just so long before the roller coaster takes a dip and we find our stomach dropping and our inner child screaming. It can be a bit disconcerting. It can be wearing, wearying, and just plain weakening.

We have been created by God to be emotional beings. We laugh, cry, empathize, sympathize, worry, weep, and rejoice. It makes life interesting. It makes life invigorating, breathtaking, and spine-tingling. And sometimes it makes for fireworks when our emotions intersect with someone else’s.

One comforting feature of Christianity is that the God who created us as emotional beings sent His Son into the flesh to sinlessly live an emotion-laden life. He knows what it’s like to laugh, cry, empathize, sympathize, weep, and rejoice. It is He who now sits at the right hand of the Father and reigns over the world and over our lives with care and compassion, grace and forgiveness.

In the midst of this emotional week I found myself using several different coping strategies to smooth out the twists and turns, dives and drops of my roller coaster emotions:

  1. Prayer. As I lay in bed rehashing the events of each day I reminded myself to place it all before the One who knew every detail of every decision, every conversation, and every emotion. It brought peace that put me to sleep.
  2. Conversation with people I trust. Emotions are emotions, which means that they are sometimes irrational. Getting an outside perspective helps bring a rational outlook and tempers the extremes of emotion.
  3. Exercise. I find that exercise either gets my mind off of my emotional state or provides an opportunity to process the things that are driving my emotions. I always feel better after a heart-pounding mountain bike ride or a slow jog around the neighborhood.
  4. Reading. I’m currently in the middle of a couple of books that fascinate me, stretch my mind, and challenge my thinking. It’s not just a diversion, it’s a productive way to reign in emotion.
  5. Writing. Writing is my hobby, an avocation, a form of art. I agree with uber-blogger Michael Hyatt when he says that writing his blog is, for him, like a painter working on a painting. There is something therapeutic about it. Thus, this post. It has helped me work through the emotions of this week.

Notice that the only one of the three “R’s” I didn’t mention here is ‘rithmetic. Math would only add to my stress. Sorry all you “math geeks.” Math never was one of my gifts.

How do you ease the effects of heart-stopping, stomach-dropping emotions?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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