Men and Emotions Series (Part 4)

May 24, 2018

Managing Emotions: Conclusion

In this final installment about managing emotions, I will summarize what I’ve shared so far and discuss the connection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as well as how this relationship is related to emotion management.

In the first post, I briefly discussed the impact of gender socialization on emotional expression among men. More specifically, I highlighted messaging, such as “man up,” that promotes the notion that men are expected to suppress their emotions or only express “acceptable” emotional reactions, such as anger. This ultimately contributed to men commonly not knowing how to express emotions that they may be feelings. Next, I discussed the importance of remaining patient with yourself and actively reflecting on your experiences to take note of different feelings as you experience them. In the latest post, I shared several strategies to help manage the emotions that come up for you.

One thing that has been present during all of these posts but not mentioned explicitly is the connection between our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Take for example the first post, in which I explained the impact of socialization. Let’s say that you begin to feel sad. A thought you might have is that feeling said is not an “acceptable” feeling to express. The behavior that follows may be emotional suppression or some expression of anger, because of messaging that anger is more “acceptable” to show. It is not easy to recognize this process as it is happening, as it usually occurs very quickly. By using strategies described in the second post, you can actively work to slow down this process. A strategy for emotion management is to recognize the thoughts (and their roots) that may be contributing to patterns such as emotional suppression. Once we become aware of these thoughts, we can begin to change the actions that may follow. I like to think of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as cues. Once we recognize our patterns, we can use them as cues to engage in strategies like those I introduced during the third post.

As this concludes this series on men, emotions, and emotion management, my hope is that is the only the beginning of your working to understand your own emotional processes. As mentioned throughout these posts, this is an ongoing process. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself, and do not hesitate to reach out to a therapist to help you on this journey of emotion recognition, expression, and management.

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