The rambles of traditional medicine sellers through loudspeakers is the hallmark of northern Nigerian markets. We buy a myriad of regimens to strengthen our physical health, but the noun ‘mental health’ sounds unfamiliar to our intellects, even though many people suffer from mental health conditions in northern Nigeria.
To the average northerner, the mentally ill are those communally neglected people that are left to roam the streets with rags, eating insects, worms, and whatever is within their reach in the garbage and dumping sites.
Well, you will no longer look at mental health from this angle after reading this post.
Are We Mentally Healthy?
Mental Health simply means emotional well-being, the ability of a person to cope with the normal stresses of life. Look at its positive side, and do what is beneficial to his/her immediate community.
Research has shown that one out of four people suffers from one mental health condition in northern Nigeria. This means, if there are 8 people in your family, 2 are mentally ill, one might ask: why don’t we see them eating sand or greeting the clouds? It’s because mental illness is wider than what we imagine it to be.
My question goes: are you always able to manage normal stress, see positivity, and do what is beneficial to others? We all are/might be patients at some point in life I suppose.
Time to Change Our Mindset
An average northerner does not count mental disorders among the major causes of physical ailments and morbidity. Also, an average northerner does not believe that western medicine can cure/manage mental disorder patients; hence, we associate mental illnesses with entirely different causes. Take a look at the following instances;
Children with attention deficit disorders who struggle with understanding concepts in school, yet we call them dullards
People with schizophrenia hear, see, and react to hallucinations, they relate to subjects that aren’t real. For that, we blame sorcery, witchcraft, or jinn possession
We believe people with amnesia (memory loss) and dementia (continuous loss of cognitive function) are caused by magical attacks from rivals.
Those suffering from social phobia who find it hard to relate with others and prefer staying in solitude are tagged as arrogant and masu-ji-ji-dakai. If they try socializing, they end up with anger issues due to anxiety disorders and we say they are jarababbu.
Someone afflicted by depression is tagged mai-ƙunci. After enduring and they decide to opt for suicide, they get judged by the community as someone that has no trust in Allah’s plan (maras tawakkali)
Whilst all the above boldly mental health conditions in northern Nigeria and many more could be prevented by family support or managed by doctors, out of unawareness and negligence, we subject the patients to stigma and inhumane treatments.
How Do We Handle the Patients?
Most families regard it as an insult to have a mentally ill individual as their member; others imagine it to be a curse upon the lineage. For that, families and companions relate to the mentally ill in the following inhumanely ways;
Turning deaf ears to the stress, and not giving a damn about the emotional stability of fellows
Restriction of amnesia and dementia patients from meeting friends and guests in a bid to conceal their situation
Chaining schizophreniacs with shackles to restrict movement and ensure the privy of their status
Taking panic attacks and epilepsy (not purely psychiatric) patients to traditional or religious rehabilitation centers, where they get whippings and incantations. A pity!
Giving food leftovers to the mentally ill, abandoning them to sleep on the streets with some even raped in the process.
The Good News Is…
When talking about physical health, we all know that some diseases are curable while others are manageable but none is invincible. The same applies to mental health, by consulting your primary care physician. You can be referred to a mental health specialist for proper treatment of your own or your loved ones’ mental disturbances.
The common signs of mental disorders include:
- Extreme anger and frustration
- Difficulty sleeping, sleeping excessively or other sleeping disorders.
- Excessive fear of events or imaginary situations
- Excessive eating or depressed appetite
- Inattention, depressed mood, and fatigue
- Alternating episodes of fanaticism and depression
- Restlessness for not taking a drug or drink
- Hearing, seeing, believing, or reacting to things or events that are not real.
When you have any of the above signs or notice any of them with a friend or family member, you shouldn’t delay consulting doctors for the condition to be curbed before getting worse. Just like malaria, mental illnesses are trials one should not be ashamed of suffering, seek out proper care. Please.
In addition, you should keep an eye on this space for subsequent posts about mental health awareness and improvements.
Remember; healthy mind, healthy life!
Learning how to control your emotions is an essential skill that can be learned.
Emotions are various forms of feelings, positive or negative, that results in physical or psychological changes which affect our thoughts and actions.
Psychology emotion is often a personality mood. It is our body’s response to the happenings around our environment. Therefore, the ability to control your emotions increases your emotional intelligence and improves your interaction with people.
Our emotions tend to escalate to a point where we find it difficult to control. I remember breaking a mug due to over-excitement because of a gift from my father.
Irrespective of the nature of your emotions, if you cannot learn to regulate them, it may lead to dire consequences.
These methods can help you in your learning.
1. To Control Your Emotions, First Identify How You Feel
Identifying your emotions requires you to do two things:
First, it requires you to monitor your emotions in a given situation. An example of such is how you feel during an argument.
Are you cool-headed or got tempered during an argument? Knowing what emotions you feel during a particular time can help you to control your emotion during that period.
Lastly, this helps you to monitor what emotions you are prone to. Often, we hear people say things like “I easily get angry”, “I am easily irritated”.
Understanding what emotions you’re quick to exhibit is one step in learning how to manage and control your emotions.
2. Question Your Emotion
Taking a moment to question why you are feeling a certain way can help to control your emotions.
A roommate of mine was prone to anger every time he returned from the school market. He’d shout and argue, then throw a tantrum.
To help him manage his emotion, we would first identify his primary emotion – anger. Then we question why he was always angry when he came back from the market. It turned out that his annoyance was a response to the outrageous hike in the prices of goods in the market.
When you’re feeling a surge of emotion, you can take some seconds to question why you’re feeling such a rush. It could be a gift from someone or the death of someone. Whatever is the reason for such emotions, taking a moment to question the perspective of your emotions can help you regulate how you’d act.
3. Intend To Control Your Emotions; Not Repressing Them
You cannot control your emotions by repressing them. We repress emotions because we want to avoid feeling their effects.
Usually, repressed emotions are negative emotions such as pain, sadness, and anger. While repressing such emotions might give you temporary satisfaction, in the long run, it can have dire effects.
Imagine you have a bag and you need to fill it with clothes. The more clothes you fill it with, the less space it has. If you keep stuffing the bag with clothes, it’ll eventually damage the bag.
Our body is like a bag. When we repress our emotions, we’re filling our bodies with negativity. If you do not address these emotions adequately, with time, they can hurt your health.
Rather than repressing your emotions, you should practice expressing your emotions with regulation. When you feel sad, it is okay to cry. When you feel angry, it is okay to punch your pillows.
Whenever you feel the urge to repress your emotions, remember, expression with regulation is what you should rather do.
4. Expression Helps To Control Your Emotions
Our emotions are best expressed through our actions. When you cannot control your emotions, it translates to uncontrolled actions.
The 10 seconds rule state that before we take any action, we should take a deep breath; count to ten, during which we’re analyzing our actions before taking them.
The death of a loved one can cause immense pain and sadness which can lead to the urge to hurt yourself.
To implement the 10 seconds rule, before you carry on the act to hurt yourself, pause for 10 seconds and rethink your actions.
What are the repercussions of my actions? Is it good or bad?
5. Consider Mild Expressions
Since our emotions are expressed through actions, rather than indulge in negative actions, you should consider being kind to yourself.
From the example above, the alternative to hurting yourself includes talking to a loved one, seeing a therapist, or taking a break from social activities.
Another example is how you relate in the workspace environment. You have a colleague who is bad at meeting up with deadlines, leaving you with more work.
While it is natural to get angry and express it through harsh words, there are better alternatives to that. You could find out why such a person is always late on reports, give a friendly reminder in subsequent scenarios or report to HR.
6. Journaling Helps To Control Your Emotional Journey
Keeping a journal to document your moods can help control your emotions.
Journaling involves documenting your emotional experiences as they come, negatively or positively. Just like you’d keep a diary that has a summary of your daily activities, a mood-journal can help keep track of what emotions you frequent and how well you control them.
Writing down your daily experience can help identify your quickest emotions. It also helps in identifying better ways to work through an emotional phase.
For example, if you feel extremely sad about an event, you can write about it. Note why you feel sad about it and three (3) better ways you would think to respond next time.
This way, if such a situation should reoccur, you’re already prepared because you have written alternative actions.
7. Visit A Therapist To Help You Control Your Emotions
Seeking professional help is recommended when you begin to notice a high emotional imbalance.
Our emotions are influenced by our environment. An unhealthy environment cannot foster the development of healthy emotions. In this scenario, no matter how much effort you put into controlling your emotions, you’ll always find yourself responding negatively.
In this case, it is better to see the help of a health therapist. Therapists are professional personnel trained to help people identify health issues and provide support.
Some emotional trauma could stem from family-related issues to financial burdens.
A therapist identifies the root cause of your emotional imbalance and provides support, sometimes medications, to help you manage your emotions.
Although Rome was not built in a day, they’d spent hours of work laying bricks. Thus, to achieve a high level of emotional intelligence, you need to practice the art of controlling your emotions persistently. The keyword is practicing constantly.
Considering that we interact with people every day, we must learn how to manage our emotions.
Building high emotional intelligence improves your self-confidence and how you’re perceived by others. It is one big step into being a better you.
Previously, an intelligence quotient (IQ) was all it required to elevate you up the ladder of success in all endeavours, but that’s becoming insufficient as the spread of civilization sparks creativity in the minds of humans. To seek ways of understanding themselves, others, and their world. Also, learn how to manage their emotions effectively for maximum benefits. Therefore, to augment your IQ, you need to develop your emotional intelligence(EI) which can be learned.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
This is the ability to recognize, understand, use, manage and communicate your emotions positively. Having high emotional intelligence enables you to coordinate yourself, reduce stress, balance your activities, and communicate effectively. Furthermore, understand what others are going through, think through your challenges, make profitable decisions and adjust to evolving environmental changes either at home or work.
What are the Components of Emotional Intelligence?
Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, proposed that there are five components of emotional intelligence.
What is emotional intelligence in terms of self-awareness? This is the consciousness and vivid understanding of what is happening with and around you. A moment of realizing your strengths and weaknesses, also, the effects produced when one is becoming predominant over the other.
Self-awareness paves the way for self-regulation. The ability to subject your emotions under your control. For instance, choosing to stay happy more often than getting angry at every slight provocation.
The zeal to pursue your set goals and objectives notwithstanding the obstacles and oppositions. This aspect of emotional intelligence creates a sense of focus, quality self-standard, and re-examination of our pursuit.
Beyond understanding yourself and managing your emotions. You need to come to the sense of discerning and interpreting how others around you are feeling. This will guide you on how to interact with people and speak to their needs. In essence, it entails that you picture yourself in what others are experiencing and how you can cope with their challenges.
5. Social Skills
A man by nature is a social being. To survive we need one and another. That’s where social skills or awareness comes into the picture. This component will guide you to manage, associate, and interact with people irrespective of their social, cultural, and political background.
Test For Emotional Intelligence
Being familiar with what is emotional intelligence is not enough to turn your life for the better. You need to take a test to know your level of EI and what to do to enhance your EI. Hence, emotional intelligence can be measured based on Daniel Goleman’s four-quadrant competency model 2002. These are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship awareness. Usually, the questions asked are centred on one understanding himself and others.
Let’s see on a scale of 1-10 you scored below 4 in your EI test, which means your EI is low. If it falls within the range of 5-7 it means your EI is on medium level and when your score is 8upwards it shows you have high emotional intelligence. Make sure to test your emotional intelligence.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is seen as the first step to understand your true potential. It helps you stand out amid others, it’s like an aroma of attraction that distinguishes you for greater opportunities. Research has shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, job performance, leadership skills, and healthy relationships. This is made possible because they can maximize their strength over their weak traits.
How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
1. Consciousness of Mood Enhances Emotional Intelligence
Nobody was born with the power to manage anger, stress, fear, and lots of negative emotions. Rather, they commit to learning how to stay on top of their emotions and manipulate it to their benefit. Likewise, your emotional intelligence will rapidly increase when you commit yourself to gain consciousness of your mood.
2. Activating Your Emotional Intelligence Requires a Positive Mindset/Attitude.
Improvise means of staying positive. A positive mindset supplies the body with positive energy to cope with stress and thinks right. It helps you focus more on developing your strength than heeding to your weaknesses. A positive attitude can be gotten from what you feed your minds with, therefore be deliberate about what goes into your mind.
3. Accelerating Your Listening Skills Boost Emotional Intelligence
Effective listening skills are one of the quickest ways to understand others. This is because while humans speak you can sense from their tone and body expression if they are happy, sad, disturb, bored, uncomfortable, the list is endless.
Once you pay more attention to listening, you become familiar with socializing with others in the right way. Myself as an example; I don’t start telling someone about how my day went when tiredness is boldly written on their faces. Rather, I make myself useful, probably fix something for them to eat before they take a nap.
4. Communication as a Vital Ingredient in Boosting Intelligence
The thing is this if you don’t talk more with people you are going to have a hard time managing them with little or no teamwork ability. Experiencing difficulties communicating? Start by applying the 7C’s of communication.
5. Goal Setting Helps to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
Your emotions seem to be gaining control over you because you have failed to organize your life. Learn to loosen your day-to-day schedule with practical steps on accomplishing them. Goal setting keeps you motivated and focused. Also, trash out stress and confusion out of your menu.
Books On Emotional Intelligence
As the title implies Adams teaches that for one to fit into the advancing world certain ideology which is unprofitable must be unlearned. And also embrace mental flexibility to learn other valuable cognitive skills.
This book outlines soft skills needed to increase sales performance. It helps you connect business-to-business, business-to-customers and also create sales culture and teams.
How To Use Emotional Intelligence To Build Strong Relationships And Thrive In Your Career By Mark Craemer. In this book you would learn the power of connection, collaboration for success, and how to build a reputation.
If you are a parent and much interested in building your child’s emotional intelligence to augment their intelligence quotient. I recommend your purchase.
Here Travis unveiled the secrets of what is emotional intelligence and its role in our success. He gave step-by-step methods to increase emotional intelligence via the four main Components of EI discussed earlier.
These two authors are the founder of Talentsmart. In this very book, they explained how you can manage your emotions positively to accomplish goals, decrease stress and increase productivity.
In this book, Daniel steps beyond what is the emotional intelligence to outline the application of EI in our everyday life. Most especially for bosses, CEO, managers, and those in leadership. Interested in increasing your emotional intelligence as a boss or leader?
Emotional Intelligence was never designed for a certain group of persons, but it’s meant for everyone irrespective of your status. Like we have previously seen, to increase your relevance at work, home, and business you need to increase your emotional intelligence to support your intelligent quotient.
Conclusively, share what you think concerning emotional intelligence in the comment section.
I need you to picture yourself arriving late for an appointment. Unfortunately, you lost the contract you’ve worked hard for. Heading back home in disappointment, it begins to rain, while hurrying to take shelter, a reckless driver drove past you and spilt muddy water on your outfit. What would be your mood at that instance? An ample number of persons give in to anger, transfer of aggression, retaliating with harsh words, smashing valuables, oftentimes shedding tears to let the pain out.
However, your body and mood begin to return to normality after you’ve relaxed, perhaps taken a nap. You start seeking encouragement to comfort yourself, while in that process, flashbacks on the damages you did a few hours ago start replaying in your head, and you wonder “how on earth did you do all that”? Most times you feel you’re been manipulated by an unknown force and can’t find an explanation. Well, the resultant effect of your mood at all times is controlled by your emotions. Therefore, it’s necessary to know how to recognize emotions, likewise learn to manage them to prevent hurting yourself and others.
What are Emotions?
Emotions are intense feelings with biological origin resulting from neuropsychological changes in the human body. Connected with one’s temperament, behaviour, personality, thoughts, moods, creativity, and motivation.
Where Does Emotion Come From?
Psychologists believe emotions are the results of changes within the body, derived from the heart. While neurologists proposed that emotions are produced by the brain. The brain coordinates everything within the body including emotions.
The brain contains a limbic system that houses various tissues in charge of controlling emotions, also, emotions are coded into the DNA. These issues include;
The hypothalamus which is in charge of sexual response, hormone release, and temperature regularly
The amygdala regulates responses to things happening around such as fear and pleasure.
The hippocampus is responsible for preserving and retrieving memories.
There limbic cortex controls mode, inspiration, motivation, and judgment.
Why Are Emotions Important?
Humans rarely pay attention to their feelings until it gets out of control. The decisions you make daily are influenced by your emotions. Likewise, Our response to our environment and situation around.
Mastering your emotions prevents hurts and enables you to coordinate yourself. If your emotions control you, definitely your entire life becomes disarranged. How to recognize emotions are necessary to aid you to control them and channel your energy in the right direction.
Categories Of Emotions
1. Negative Emotions
These are sets of feelings, behaviour, and response which inflict discomfort, pain, and damages on the initiator and those around. Once these emotions begin to control a person, his energy is channelled in the wrong direction.
Furthermore, staying on negative emotions for long increases stress hormones and eventually affects your health negatively. How to recognize emotions with negative effects are easy to spot on the surface and is controlled majorly by the amygdala. There are so many types of negative emotions;
A state of displeasure and hostility. Control by the amygdala in the brain. There is a release of a chemical known as catecholamines which leads to an outburst of energy. Signs of anger include;
- Sweaty palms
- Frown looks
- Forming fist
- Increase in heartbeat
- Grinding of teeth
- Clenching jaw
- Shaking and trembling
- Sarcastic responses
- Yelling and shouting
- Absence of humor.
This is a state of being terrified and uncomfortable induced by someone or something. To recognize fear lookout for the following;
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Sweating uncontrollably
- Raised of eyebrows
- Discomfort in the stomach
- Short breath
- Quick short movement.
A mental disorder with a feeling of depression, unhappiness, and worthlessness. Oftentimes, when things don’t go as planned sadness steps in. Likewise, when one experiences a loss. Methods use in recognizing that one is sad includes;
- Lack of focus/concentration
- Moody looks
- Too much sleep or lack of sleep
- Loss of interest
It’s a feeling of resentment, envy, fear, and insecurity towards someone or something. This is caused by low self-esteem. Signs of jealousy include;
- Giving of false compliment
- Quick to criticize
- Unnecessary show-off
- Unhealthy comparison
- Celebrate failure
- Ignore achievement
Research shows that adults above 65 years feel the heat of loneliness more. Loneliness is a feeling of separation and abandonment. How to recognize emotions displaying loneliness include;
- Drawn to possession
- Negative thought system
- Easily gets annoyed
- Frequent illness
- Cut-off from others.
2. Positive Emotions
These are sets of pleasurable sensations that are always desirable. Once activated it brings peace and enthusiasm. It erases a pessimistic attitude, gives your reasons to live, reasons to help others, and guides you to make profitable decisions. Also, it’s a feeling of gratitude, influenced by the amygdala in the limbic system. There are so many types of positive emotions.
I honestly think happiness is being present and finding joy in every momentAimee Marino
Therefore, Happiness is a choice to maintain inner peace despite your current circumstances. How to recognize true happiness entails;
- Worrying less
- Living in the moment
- Celebrate good
- Enjoy nature
- Love/value yourself
- Laughing out loud
A neurological feeling of happiness and satisfaction with one’s current stage of life while hoping for something higher. Signs to note about contentment includes;
- Being true to yourself
- Setting your needs within your financial carrying capacity
- Confidence in one strength And talent
- Cheerful mood
- Been realistic
- Healthy routine
- Lack of envy and greed
It’s an emotional feeling of affection and attraction towards someone or something which propels you to the extent of sacrificing your all to see them happy.
Hence, they are included as one of your priorities. To tell if you’re in love or someone loves you, check out for the following signs;
- Spending time with loved ones
- Constant thought about what you love
- Notice every little change about that person or thing.
- Speak about that person/thing all the time.
- Cherish and values that person/thing.
- Feeling of happiness around that person/things.
- Been caring
It’s the state of dependability and reliability on someone or in your ability. Signs of trust includes;
- Respect boundaries
- Doesn’t compromise
- Forgives easily
5. Positive Anticipation
This is an eager expectation for an upcoming event. Positive anticipation induces emotions to cope with stress and disappointment.
How to recognize positive anticipation emotions is often trickish because not everyone can differentiate between positive or negative anticipation. Signs include;
- Hyper activeness
- Positive thought
- Planning and orderliness
- Been nervous
How To Manage Emotions
In addition to how you can recognize your emotions, here are ways to control them most especially the negative emotions.
1. Give Yourself Space
The moment you discover two to three signs of your predominant emotions is displaying, deep within you, you’re aware of the usual out-burst around people.
Immediately, excuse yourself from among others to prevent further retaliation, especially signs of anger and jealousy.
2. Develop a Thankful Heart
Don’t spend your entire day complaining about what isn’t right, use that period to appreciate the wonderful things in your life, around you, and in the lives of others.
A thankful heart is an antidote to loneliness and sadness.
3. Take control of Your Emotions
Your emotions are subjected to your will depending on how you use them. For instance when the light goes off, usually you begin to panic due to darkness.
However, don’t give in to fear, decide to take control and search for the nearest source of light, probably your phone. By so doing your bravery and courage comes alive.
4. Generating Positive Energy Helps Manage Negative Emotions
To trash out, negative emotions surround yourself with Positive personalities. Who would encourage you to live out your best version?
Also, read, watch, and listen to something that fills your mind with positivity and hope.
5. Consider Others Before Giving in to Negative Emotions
Your emotions may appear superior to your will and you assume you can’t control it. That’s when you should reflect on the effect the outburst of your emotions would have on others. Hence, calm down and subject your emotions to your will.
The signs on how to recognize emotions are useful in detecting our personal feelings at all points in time and telling how others are feeling. From a psychologist’s viewpoint, our environment influences our emotions. Hence, become conscious of the things surrounding you, which your mind is exposed to. Take charge of your emotions.
Perhaps, you have experienced the effect of negative emotions, do well to share in the comment section below.