What is emotional mastery? We’ve all had situations where our emotions got the best of us. Often it’s because we didn’t realize what was happening until we were too far down the “emotional train” to change it. The best time to handle an emotion is when you first begin to feel and experience it fully. That way it won’t keep popping up time and time again. As reported by Psychology Today, psychology’s answer to the question of “What is emotional mastery?” has evolved over the last century. Early American psychology embraced the “James-Lange Theory,” which held that emotions are strictly the product of physiology (a neurological response to some external stimuli). This view evolved when the “Cannon-Bard Theory” asserted that the brain’s thalamus mediates between external stimuli and subjective emotional experience.
The concept of emotional mastery wasn’t introduced until the 1960s with the Schachter-Singer experiment, where researchers gave participants a dose of a placebo “vitamin.” Participants then watched colleagues complete a set of questionnaires. When the colleagues responded angrily to the questionnaires, the participants felt angry in turn. But when the colleagues responded happily, the participants also felt happy. The study’s results implied a connection between peer influence and the felt experience of emotion.
The idea that emotions are influenced by outer as well as inner stimuli was furthered by psychiatrist Allen Beck, who demonstrated that thoughts, peer influence and circumstance shape emotions. Beck’s research formed the foundation of modern-day cognitive-behavioral therapy, the gold standard of emotional mastery as it’s understood today.
LEARNING EMOTIONAL MASTERY PUTS YOU IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE