4 May – Check your emotions

Most of us carry around emotional baggage that causes us to react to people and circumstances.  A famous quote is that “a man with a toothache cannot be in love,” meaning that the toothache doesn’t allow him to notice anything other than his pain.  You’ll also find that when someone has an issue or strong opinion they want to vent about they will undoubtedly drown out the sound of anyone else in their venting.

With that in mind it is sound wisdom that tells us that anytime we become highly emotional when listening or conversing with another person we need to step back and check our emotions.  This becomes even more important when we find ourselves reacting more strongly than the situation warrants.

Too often an unsuspecting person can become the recipient of our emotional outburst because our reaction is due to an event or hurt from the past.

Neuroscience has discovered that when information enters the brain during conversation, or situations we find ourselves in, a signal that creates major activity deep down in our brains is released. The brain goes into a state of expectation as preparation to build with the new incoming information.

Part of this activity is the movement of thoughts (existing memories), which are linked in some way to the incoming information. These thoughts move through our brains like a wind through a forest,  and as the thoughts sweep through, research reveals they will activate four to seven memories which will then move into our consciousness, allowing us to become aware of them. 

Why is all this neuroscience significant? Because when we think, we also feel. Our thoughts in addition to information, have an emotional component to them. That means when we are consciously aware of a thought, it also brings with it an attached emotion. If we don’t deal with the baggage attached to our memories we are going to react emotionally.  When someone says or does something it triggers existing thoughts and memories which have an emotional component.

This is a very good reason to sit regularly down with Jesus and examine our thoughts, memories and why we may have reacted to a person, situation, or comment. Many of our reactions have nothing to do with the situation at hand, but rather previous events.

Today take some time to write down one event or conversation in the last week, and what your thoughts and emotional reaction were. Then examine what that event triggered in your memories. Seek God honestly as to whether you are carrying emotional and memory baggage and ask for His healing and renewing as you spend time with Him. The people in our life deserve our best, so don’t let any baggage from the past continue to dictate how you live out today. It is affecting us more than we often think!

“Search me, Of God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.…”(Psalm 139:23)

Prayer: Lord help me to understand my emotions and reactions more honestly and clearly. I want to live my best life now, and not be hampered by past events or memories. In Jesus name Amen

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