Emotions. Check?

- By Santhoshi Bhadri

Have you ever found yourself stuck inside your mind, thinking about the worst-case scenarios? The endless “what ifs” just filling up your mind. Have you ever felt like you are unable to cope up with a situation like your emotions are out of control? All of us, at some point in our lives, face one of the above situations. We are humans after all. Finding ourselves in those situations is common, but the question is, how to get out of them? Coming out of these situations can be a little tricky, but not impossible. I am going to share an interesting trick to manage your emotions. 

This trick is called the ABC approach. Let’s go through the concept of ABC first and then I will explain with an example for better understanding. ‘A’ stands for “activating event”, i.e., the situation or event that triggers some kind of response. “B” stands for “beliefs”, which also includes our thoughts, assumptions, judgments, and attitudes. “C” stands for “consequences”, which includes the way we behave or respond.  When we focus on a particular event of our life, we normally generate thoughts relating to it. These thoughts give rise to an emotion or a feeling. We as humans tend to act on these emotions, which leads us to the way we behave.

For example, Nobita sees his best friend, Shizuka, talking with his rival, Degisuki. Who likes it when the person they love the most interacts with the person they hate the most? I doubt if anybody does. Nobita starts wondering: what work can Shizuka have with Degisuki? Why would they have the need to talk? Are they very good friends now? These thoughts and assumptions just fill up involuntarily. Now he starts feeling angry and sad about it. Acting on these emotions, he decides to give a cold shoulder to Shizuka, resulting in an argument. Did you notice how an event triggered thoughts, which then gave birth to emotions, resulting in the way he responded? So, what is the activating event, behavior, and consequence in the above example? 

Once you have understood the basic concept, let’s understand how exactly it is that this model can help us in managing our emotions. Where do you think the problem arose in the example given? Would Nobita react in the same way if he saw Shizuka talk to any other person? Instead of focusing on the fact that his best friend is talking to his “rival”, what if he focused on the fact that his best friend is just talking to another individual? The rivalry is between Nobita and Degisuki; why should Shizuka share Nobita’s dislike too?

We have built our beliefs since our childhood, through experiences, lessons, observations, etc. Now we carry and apply these beliefs in every situation that we are in. This mostly happens automatically, without being aware of it. Unknowingly, we form beliefs, assumptions, judgments, that are not healthy or that are not valid. Our friend, Nobita might be operating out of the belief that his best friend should share his dislike that he has towards his rival. That might be where the whole problem had started! 

Once we understand the beliefs that we’re functioning out of, we can start working on modifying them. If our beliefs or unhealthy thinking patterns were changed to healthy beliefs and thoughts, our perception (the way we feel) of the entire situation would change. This would avoid undesirable emotions, preventing any negative consequences in our life. 

At Abhyast, we believe in helping you in your journey of self-discovery. You can share your experiences, feedback and suggestions with Abhyast. We are eagerly awaiting your response. Do write to us at support@Abhyast.in 

About the Author

Santhoshi is a psychology student. She believes in empathy as the greatest gift we, as humans, can possess and that it can elevate humanity. Her life mantra is "to find beauty in the humblest things."