How to Have Emotional Stability

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Emotional stability requires balancing the demands of lifeEmotional stability stems from attitude. Without the right attitude it is extremely difficult, almost impossible, to have any kind of control on your emotions. Having control over your emotions is the first step to emotional stability. Unless you can subject your emotions to a voluntary control, an individual will always be dictated by his or her emotions and not the other way around.

Emotions are a combination of various attributes of man. It is rooted in how our mind functions and what we are thinking. There are psychological aspects and physical elements as well. Many people might not consider physical aspects to be integral to emotions but they are. Various hormonal secretions, chemical imbalances and physical problems can lead to emotional instability. Thus a combination of everything we know, including the outside world, would play a role in emotional stability. From attitude towards our loved ones, to our desires, aspirations, and fate; everything can contribute to improve or worsen our emotions.

Two Rules For Emotional Stability

While there are numerous ways to have emotional stability, two simple rules can take you a long way. The two rules are: acceptance of inevitability and improve what can be improved. These may look like simple philosophies, but when put into larger context of a lifetime, everything can be brought down to these basic philosophies of life.

We all know that there are things which are inevitable. Not everything is under human control but every man and woman in the world has an urge to control at least a few things in their lives. The only people who cannot be put into this classification are the people who have managed to renounce worldly pleasures. Acceptance of inevitability is certainly the start, but that is not what one must do to have emotional stability. If you cannot have a person in your life and it is inevitable, one must let that person go. If you cannot buy a bigger home due to financial liabilities then one must accept it. Trying to challenge the inevitable is a futile exercise.

Likewise, one must improve what can be improved. Most of the time, the emotional instabilities are born out of frustration of trying to get something right and not getting it right. If it cannot be improved or if something is beyond conciliation, reconciliation, or progress; then it is a deadlock and one must not try and invest energy to revive it.

Emotional Stability and the NEM Response

The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) system is the body’s automatic response to combat stress. This system utilizes two main parts, comprised of the neuroendocrine and metabolic response components. These two portions of the NEM are separate, yet undeniably linked; dysregulation among any part will inevitably set off a cascading response to all systems and organs.

Accept emotional stabilityThe neuroendocrine segment – comprised of the heart, brain, adrenals, thyroid, GI tract, and autonomic nervous system – is initiated when the body tries to defend itself against stress via activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is crucial to how our body takes and responds to stress. It is the intake area where the brain receives messages – including stress – and the place of origin for neurotransmitters and hormones. The neurotransmitters – or chemical messengers – along with the hormones are sent to the targeted organ to perform their function.

The most important organ outside this central nervous system control center is the adrenal glands. The adrenals function to synthesize more than fifty hormones to assist in our battle with stress; the most important of these is cortisol. Without a properly functioning HPA axis and suitable cortisol synthesization, the body will not be able to handle even the smallest amount of stress. Chronic or excessive stress therefore leads to AFS, with each of its four stages and progressions.

Recognizing that some things are outside of our control and working to improve the things in our lives with a realistic approach can go a long way in preventing emotional instabilities. If we can begin to realize that our feelings are in the realm of our control, then we can decrease negative thoughts and therefore prevent at least some activation of stress responses. Maintaining emotional stability can decrease our stress and contribute to AFS recovery.
© Copyright 2013 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Emotional stability
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  • Jennifer says:

    Would something like meditation or some oils help me to become calmer so that I am able to get a balance on my emotions?

    • Dr.Lam says:

      quiet meditation lowers the sympathetic tone and is benefit if done right. Oils can also be helpful, but you have to avoid those that may be stimulatory for your body

      Dr Lam