By Tomasz Wojcik
Emotions. A partner for life.
Seeing the anxiety and tension forming around my fellow SCA apprentices in the last week, I had an instant rush of feeling deja vu. As if it all happened couple of times before. Well, not really. It is my first and ever year in SCA. How is it possible then? Well, isn’t that thing a same thing we all experienced but in different circumstances. That emotional state of emergency happened to all of us before. In different social situations, different contexts. We chose our first toy, our first classmate, our first friendship, first love. Is it very different from choosing our first partner in SCA? Yes and no. Yes – as it is fresh experience and our minds are different from when we were “there” in another space and time. No – as we feel, differently and with different scope of emotions than we were younger but we feel all over again. And those feelings are again a disturber of the peace.
In the times of early men we were predominantly physical beings.Not much in our heads anyway. But we knew one obvious thing. In order to survive we had to eat. Men gathered together and hunted for food. It sometimes took days to hunt something big. Like a mammoth. Women stayed in the caves and communicated with other women.Thus theories that say women are more communicative with words and have better emotional inteligence than men on default. Men returned with prey and ate with women. But food was not easily digested. It took a lot of effort to consume it. The result was people developed muscles around the neck, jaws and on the face to help them deal with food more efficiently.
That is how emotions came to life. As a form of early communication, exchanging simple emotional signals on our faces. More on that to come in my next SCABs. Back to the topic.
We made decisions our entire life. Sometimes we controlled the situation, sometimes the situation controlled us but decisions were made. We learned from our experience because we all have memory, remember good and bad times and are able to involve our imagination and intelligence into anticipation of the things that could be similar to those experienced. Thus, we adjust our behaviour and cognitive powers constantly. It’s a process we learn from.
Emotions are a bit different. Those powers are much harder to harness. They seem to choose their own way. Have you ever experienced a time when you got swept in an emotion and end up reacting in ways you don’t want or accept for yourself? Well, yeah. Most probably all of us have.
Why do I mention all this? Since choosing your first partner in SCA is not easily made. That decision is based on emotions. Were it a more cognitive, rational based decision making we would all sleep like babies. On Friday night in a pub I’ve spoken with several SCA creatives and every one of them was hesitant to give a quick response such as: “Yes, I have my list figured,” or “Yep mate, already done that”. Were it a normal assignement given by Marc I would have had a hard time spotting a person that left it for the last day, irrespectively of the assignment’s magnitude. It seemed that procrastination was in the making. We all felt uneasy, we all felt as if it was a first major decision we took in SCA. A decision that might change the course of events for ourselves, for good or ill. And we felt emotional about it. That did not help.
It’s all gone now. We made our choices. But emotions remain. They can and will be a real nuisance. They are here to stay. So let’s just try and make peace with them, shall we?
Emotions happen here and now, sometimes it is hard to reflect on them since you don’t really have the time and space to do that when you are involved in the heat of the situation or social interaction.
Try to take a conscious step back from what’s going on and focus on your physical senses. Distract your mind processes from feeling overwhelmed. Examine your physical signals transmitted by your body – tightened muscles, faster heart rate , rapid or shallow breath, changed pitch of voice, dryness in your throat. Acknowledge and accept them as they are. Don’t judge them as being wrong. Embrace those sensations. Slow down and focus on one element at a time – what you smell, see or touch.
This will help your brain to process information more effectively as you separate one element from another and you will feel less swamped with all the emotional stimuli you encounter.
You are not able to control physiological reactions but you can actually control your emotions in the moment.
Reflect on yourself and refocus your attention on one thing at a time.
Hope it was useful. More techniques to come.