Emotions And Feelings (Cont.4)

1. Too much uncertainty (can cause stress, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, worry, avoidance, dread, fear, vulnerability)

    a) stress, ie occurs when excessive demands on your ability to cope successfully; the body responds by increasing its heart rate and cortisol; linked with unpredictability, uncontrollability and feeling overloaded; can cause both physiological (body) and psychological ( mind and emotion) reactions
"...our emotional reaction is more tied to our cognitive assessment of whether we can cope with the situation than to how our body is reacting..."
Brené Brown, 2021

"...high levels of perceived stress have been shown to correlate with more rapid ageing, increased immune function, greater inflammatory processes, less sleep, and poorer health behaviours..."
Brené Brown, 2021

    b) feeling overwhelmed, ie extreme level of stress causes an emotional and/or cognitive intensity to the point of feeling unable to function; it is like

"...our lives are somehow unfolding faster than the human nervous system and psyche are able to manage..."
Jon Kabat-Zinn as quoted by
Brené Brown, 2021

To constructively manage this situation you need to take a break, ie have some 'non-doing time'.

When overwhelmed, you are ineffective in processing and/or understanding any emotional information; this can result in poor decision-making.

    c) anxiety is an escalating loss of control; it can be both a state and a trait (see above for definition); anxiety goes on for months, and can cause restlessness, fatigue, concentration issues, irritability, increased muscle tension, trouble sleeping, etc; anxiety reactions need recognise and understood; need to develop techniques for working through these feelings: like reduce caffeine consumption, get enough sleep, regularly exercise, etc; uncertainty can have a powerful negative impact on anxiety; However, some ineffectual coping mechanisms include 'worry' or 'avoidance' (see below).

Anxiety and excitement can feel the same. However, it is how you interpret and label them that can determine how you experience them, ie anxiety sensations are labelled negatively, while excitement is perceived as positive.

"...The labels are important because they help us know what to do next..."
Brené Brown, 2021

While perfectionism can be considered admirable, it can cause anxiety as it is mostly not possible to achieve.

    d) worry is the thinking part of anxiety; involves a chain of negative thoughts about bad things that might happen in the future; there are misconceptions that worrying is helpful for coping, it is uncontrollable and the need to suppress worrying thoughts (the last actually strengthens and reinforces worry); can learn how to control it by understanding what is driving thinking

    e) avoidance is another coping strategy for handing anxiety (many people want to feel comfortable, so they keep away from anything that will evoke fear or other difficult emotions, ie

"...Avoidance can make you feel less vulnerable in the short term, but it will never make you less afraid..."
Brené Brown, 2021

    f) dread is a response to high-probability, negative future event(s); its magnitude increases as the event draws nearer; sometimes we feel it is better to get the unpleasant events done earlier rather than later; as for anxiety, the threat is in the future.

    g) fear is a negative, short-lasting, high-alert emotion response to a perceived threat now; it can be a state or a trait (see definition above); some people have a higher propensity to experience fear than others; a response to a physical or psychological danger that is present and imminent; Your response can be automated like fight, flight or freeze; a dominant fear is social rejection; you experience social and physical pain in the same part of your brain

"...fear can signal being asked to act, or alternatively, to resist the impulse to act. It can help us make wise, self-protective choices in and out of relationships where we might otherwise sail mindlessly along, ignoring signs of trouble..."
Harriet Lerner as quoted by Brené Brown, 2021

"...throughout evolutionary history, anxiety and fear have helped every species to be wary and to survive..."
Harriet Lerner
as quoted by Brené Brown, 2021

    h) vulnerability is linked with times of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure; there is a common misunderstanding that being vulnerable is being weak

"...There is no courage without vulnerability. Courage requires the willingness to lead into uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.....The ability to embrace vulnerability emerged as a prerequisite for all of the daring leadership behaviours......Where perfectionism is pleasing, and proving a use to armour up and protect their egos and their feelings, it takes a lot of courage to show up and be involved when you can't control the outcome. It also takes discipline and self-awareness to understand what to share and with whom..."

Brené Brown, 2021


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