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The Crux To Managing Your Emotional Health


Divya Thampi

In a campaign to help create awareness about Emotional Intelligence, Fayz invited people to post questions on the topic and I was invited to answer them. Some really interesting questions were posed, however one of them caught my attention because it is a question that comes up often and is posed by diverse individuals. I decided, that it would be a good idea to share this question, as well as my answer, with more people.

Emotion is something that makes one who he/she is, how can we alter the very base thing?

Emotions are energy in motion and they do drive our motivations but we are not the same as our emotions. Emotions are a result of thoughts, beliefs and assumptions. Let’s take an example - if you are driving a car and someone behind you is constantly honking and trying to overtake you from the wrong side, you may feel angry. The thought that could be causing the anger, may be ‘How dare he break the rules’ or ‘He’s unfairly trying to overtake me at the risk of an accident’ or ‘What a jerk! All he is concerned about is getting ahead!’

Now let’s say that he manages to overtake you and as the car flashes by, you notice that in the passenger seat there’s a woman with her hand on her profusely bleeding head and it seems like the driver is trying to rush this person to the hospital. What do you feel now? Do you think your feelings towards the driver will change?

I am guessing that it would. That example is meant to demonstrate how our emotions are often driven by our thoughts, beliefs and assumptions; by the stories we narrate to ourselves about an event, rather than automatic them being automatic responses to external circumstances. Emotional intelligence is about building awareness about one’s own feelings and regulating them, so that we can live our life purposefully.


The moment we choose to objectively inspect the thoughts, assumptions and beliefs that drive our feelings, we take over the driver’s seat of our emotional life; our emotions can no longer be at the mercy of other people, circumstances or events.

This is not to say that it’s going to be easy. Just like good physical health requires daily workouts, emotional health also requires consistent investment of time and effort. Investing in practices of meditation, mindfulness and self-reflection, on a daily basis empower us to pause, when in the eye of an emotional storm. The “pause” is a critical act that provides us with a window of opportunity to get off the speeding emotional train and watch it from the outside; to notice that we are more than our emotions; that we don’t have to ride this train; that we have a choice to re-evaluate the story we are telling ourselves. This pause can make the difference between living the life of an emotional slave, being pushed and shoved in and out of tumultuous feelings OR living life on our own terms with the key to mental peace, firmly in our hands.

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