Three Buddhist Concepts Help Manage Your Emotions

Thanks to Buddhist concepts, we can learn to silence the mind and control our negative emotions by practicing meditation and appropriate inner dialogue.
Three Buddhist Concepts Help Manage Your Emotions
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

As strange as it may seem, the emotional world is one of the areas in which Buddhist concepts and Western psychology tend to have some elements in common.

In both approaches, for example, we understand that exploring our emotions offers us an important path to self-knowledge. This can help us to improve ourselves and walk a more correct path with greater integrity.

If we pay attention to them, we won’t only improve our physical and psychological health, we’ll also develop a much deeper understanding of our true nature.

In addition, it’s interesting to note that strategies like meditation are already included in many types of therapies. It’s a very effective way to manage two common enemies in our daily lives: stress and anxiety.

In this article, we propose that you reflect on three key aspects of Buddhist concepts to discover and learn from your emotions.

1. Attachment to suffering or the freedom to be happy: you choose

Buddhist concepts

On our path to seeking greater freedom and wisdom, psychology normally encourages us to recognize our feelings.  

It also encourages us to remember our past and present stories to give them meaning and be able to face them through therapy.

However, Buddhist concepts take a different approach: they encourage us to gradually “moderate” and “silence” our negative emotions through the practice of inner dialogue and meditation.

In addition, Buddhist concepts provide us with the understanding that we sometimes make grave mistakes in our approach to emotions.

For example, many of us believe that happiness is somewhere outside of us in a person, a place, or a possession. However, this type of materialism, or attachment to what is out of our hands, actually leads us to unhappiness.

Authentic well-being is not “out there,” but rather is found in our inner balance. We can discover it in our state of mind through calm, balance and self-acceptance.

Practicing detachment in our daily lives is an ideal strategy to regulate our emotions.

When we “deactivate” our obsession with complaining about all that we’re lacking, we don’t have or we should have, we can open our eyes to what we already truly have. This is our ability to be happy with what we are and what we already have.

2. The cultivation of patience and love in Buddhist concepts

Buddhist concepts

We live in a world based on immediacy. Here, stimuli of all types are abundant.

For example, the world of new technology gives us the sensation that everything should happen instantly. We think must respond to messages as soon as possible. Plus, all we have to do is upload an image or a comment to receive the positive reinforcement in the form of “likes” just seconds later.

However, life doesn’t think this way. Life progresses at its own rhythm. Strong relationships are built on the slow magic of day-to-day living, patience, respect and serene, wise affection.

If we learn to be more patient, emotions like anger, jealousy, rage and frustration will be calmed.

Emotional states like anxiety and stress are born precisely from this pressure for immediacy. They come from the fear of tomorrow and the need to advance towards a future that hasn’t yet happened.

Let’s learn to embrace the present through patience.

3. The importance of deactivating your ego

Buddhist concepts

We all know one of those people who always seems to be angry with the world.

They’re the ones for whom nothing is OK. Nothing meets their expectations and nothing is up to their moral, emotional or psychological standards.

They set such a high bar and have such a big ego that the whole world seems small to them. Worse still, it seems to turn against them.

This kind of approach to life creates immense suffering and the clear feeling that we’re alone in this world.

It’s not easy to deactivate the ego. This is for a very concrete reason: we can recognize it easily in others, but we don’t have a self-detector to see it in ourselves.

Take note of these simple strategies that will help you identify, manage and calm your ego:

  • First of all, become aware of how your actions and words affect others.
  • Then, identify your limitations, your errors and your weaknesses.
  • Understand that others are not obliged to be how you expect them to be, to do what you want or to satisfy your needs.
  • Don’t expect anything from others. Rather, simply expect things from yourself. That way, you will live with greater balance and calm.
  • As well as learning to recognize your limitations, also learn to see the good in all the people around you.

In conclusion, the pillars of Buddhism offer us a very enriching approach when it comes to managing our emotions.

One of their greatest purposes is to favor improved self-knowledge in which we understand that the responsibility to be happy lies with us alone.
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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.