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Work with emotions instead of against them

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Nick Wignall, a behavioral health researcher in New Mexico, publishes readable posts on the challenges the human mind and emotions can create in day-to-day life, as well as an interesting podcast called Minds and Mics.


One of his recent posts covers the paradox of emotions: They are part of us but we cannot control them. Even the smartest people can be derailed by emotions. We can learn to work with emotions instead of working against them.

Contemplating on Nick's writing led to to the below summary of his analysis of common mistakes with emotions into a guide on why and how emotions derail progress and what one should do to avoid it.


The seven common mistakes with emotions:

  1. Trying to control emotions

  2. Believing your thoughts

  3. Blanking things on how you feel

  4. Fearing your emotions

  5. Trusting your emotions

  6. Judging your emotions

  7. Coping with your emotions

Emotion Mistakes and What to Do About Them
Emotion Mistakes and What to Do About Them

Working with emotions instead of against them means to recognize an emotion when you feel it, label it, interpret the cause, effect and benefit of the emotion. In contrast, not working with emotions means letting emotions take control of behaviors. After interpreting the emotion, be your own check on the impulsive response by considering the best of all possible responses. This is cognitive mediation.


Working with emotions applies to any setting or relationship, personal or work.


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