Often people understand very logically that they want to make a change or to act in a certain way. However, they are unable to act because they do not acknowledge the emotional component involved with every decision. No matter how much information they gain about the best way to change, the emotional component can easily block us from acting.
Most people have trouble dealing with their emotions because they either suppress their emotions or are alexithymic, which is the inability to determine your internal emotional state. A majority of gamers are alexithymic.
For example, people who say that they are "in control" of their emotions often say "I can watch/experience ... and I will not feel ...". This is not control. This is suppression. When people suppress one emotion, they suppress all emotions.
Here's why we suppress our emotions:
When we experience negative emotions at an early age and have no one to guide us through these emotions, we learn to suppress them to keep ourselves safe.
For example, those that are bullied, have abusive/neglectful parents, or deal with high expectations often learn to suppress their emotions because nobody teaches them how to handle these emotions safely.
Men are taught not to express emotions such as fear, sadness, and shame. They are taught to show only one negative emotion, which is anger.
For example, we see this in the way that men express their emotions in physical language (psychosomatic) like "kick in the nuts," or "butterflies in my stomach."
Recognize that you are feeling emotions. Notice physical sensations, such as a pit in the stomach or tightness in the chest, because they are physical indicators to an emotional equivalent existing. Also notice when you use umbrella terms such as "stressed", "frustrated", "overwhelmed", "anxious", and "sucks."
Try to diagnose that emotion. Ask yourself if you feel:
If you have trouble, ask yourself "what would someone in my situation feel?" Despite being emotionally unempathetic, most of us are quite cognitively empathetic, which means that we can analytically predict how someone else feels.
When you experience these emotions, try to find them on this wheel of emotions.
For example, you can't control your tongue when your mouth is numb from going to the dentist.
Work on the body. Physical feelings are psychosomatic with emotions, and emotions are psychosomatic with physical feelings. Doing things such as yoga can help process your emotions. It also improves anxiety and depression because it is mind-body exercise. Working out is good but does not engage the mind as well as yoga. Meditation are also a good way of processing emotions.
Work on the mind. This means having conversations with friends, talking to a therapist, talking with Healthy Gamer Coaching, joining a men's/women's support group, attending refuge recovery like AA, or CGAA, meditating, and journaling.
That is called emotional lability and it is tied to gaming. Video games suppress our emotional circuitry and those emotions remain floating right beneath the surface. The nature of having them float so close to the surface is that they can explode very easily and then calm down easily as well. That is what happens when people do not process their emotions and suppress them via gaming.
A lot of these mood swings come from suppressing emotions and then having them resurface when the pressure builds up again and again. The solution is to process and let out the emotion, which can be done through therapy, meditation, etc.
The brain's amygdala and hippocampus turn on when people experience pain. When gamers play games these parts of the brain shut off. As a result, video games reward gamers by suppressing negative emotions.
The more you play games, the better you get at suppressing your emotions (men are especially susceptible to this). It is similar to forgetting a language that you haven't spoken in a couple of months.
For example, if you get into a fight with your parents and then you turn on a video game. All those emotions get shut off. A lot of the time, gamers feel that everything is fine. They think they are happy, healthy, and enjoy gaming but actually, they have a lot of subsurface emotions that they are not even aware of.
Eventually, those emotions start to bubble to the surface and impact their lives and an emotional geyser starts to build up inside. Eventually, the pressure becomes too strong and it explodes. That is when these emotions can be terribly overwhelming.
For some, it might be when they are about to go to bed at night, after a long session of gaming. The gaming would suppress their emotions, but after turning it off, all those bottled up emotions would start to flood back.
Usually when people get hurt, others respond with compassion and empathy. However, there are times when people are hurt and it feels enjoyable to see them struggle, such as flaming a bad teammates, or flaming the enemy team. This is known as toxicity.
Toxicity does not come from envy, insecurity or jealousy. It comes from being hurt and the brain pushing you to retaliate. Often when people experience a lot of indoctrination and personal hurt, they turn to hateful people, and often act out to make the other person feel the same neglect or pain they felt. As a result, forcing the other person to understand how your feel through your actions feels retributive and just. A common example of this retaliative justice is when there someone is in a relationship with an unfaithful partner. Often times these people will act out and enjoy acting out to make their partner feel pain as well.
There are even times when a loved one has hurt you unintentionally, and you avoid thinking or addressing it. The issue could be something as small as not meeting your emotional needs whether it be a friend or partner. But the lack of intention does not mean the hurt does not exist, and your lack of acknowledging that hurt causes you to blame them subconsciously.
To resolve your toxicity, you need to acknowledge your feelings, what hurts, what causes hurt. Then be compassionate and understanding to yourself and those around you.
Due to the possible effects of technology, ADHD diagnosis is increasing and the gap between those that have ADHD and neurotypical is closing, and one of the key characteristics of ADHD is emotional dysregulation. This dysregulation is shown through symptoms such as mood lability (high fluctuations of mood), propensity to irritability, low frustration tolerance, anger outburst, and motivation deficits.
Researchers have found that those that have ADHD have difficulty restraining impulses, and struggles with executive function. Consequently, it appears that this executive dysfunction and lower restrain ability prevents them from suppressing negative emotions, and actually amplifies it more than those with a neurotypical brain. In addition, research also shows that when those have ADHD experience more of an emotion, the more the brain is unaware of the emotion. As a result, the sensitivity to anger increases how powerful the emotion feels, which increases the brains unawareness to that emotion, and thereby letting that anger build up till overflows. So you have this unfortunate pairing of emotional dysregulation and video games, where the ADHD brain values the immediate gratification of video games rather than working on goals. The reduced frustration tolerance increases the negative emotions you get from playing, and the emotional blindness allows you to continue playing video games. Finally, the anger compounds and then it overflows in rage and causing headaches or migraines. So as the gap closes between neurotypical people and those with ADHD, regular people begin to struggle with this emotional dysregulation as well.
To resolve this, you need to understand the emotion that you experience, and then take these 5 steps to gain emotional regulation:
People with ADHD struggle with all 5 steps, so they need to start by recognizing their emotions. Regulation starts with awareness and those who are trained to understand their emotions well consequently improve in all 5 steps. You may even think that recognition is not enough, and you only need to focus on modulating emotions, but this judgement can be the ADHD brain looking for a short term solution and devaluing a long term solution. So begin by recognizing this judgement, and where it comes from.
Often people assume that if they are rational, then they are not emotional. Therefore, people assume that those that get emotional are wrong or incorrect. However, in reality, the people who think that emotional people are illogical are actually the emotional ones. These "logical" thinkers struggle to feel their own emotions, despite emotions existing in the brain, and therefore can not see how their emotions are influencing them.
Looking at the brain, the human cortices, which controls higher order thinking, and the limbic system, which controls emotions, reciprocally inhibit each other or causes on to suppress the other. Therefore, emotions can suppress your logic and engaging in logic can suppress your ability to feel emotions. According to Inhibition of Action, Thought, and Emotion: A Selective Neurobiological Review, "researchers have made substantial progress in understanding the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying the inhibition of conditioned fear responses (Quirk, 2006). Below, we review evidence indicating that the VMPFC, amygdala, and hippocampus are critical brain regions involved in fear extinction." So when there are emotional responses, certain parts of the brain actually suppress the emotions from being felt, such as the cortices suppressing emotions during argument. However, emotions can also take control and shape people's rational thought processes.
Coming from the yogic perspective, the less you are unable to feel your emotions, the more you are unable to see the influence emotions, and the more your logic is controlled/driven by your emotions. These emotionally-driven arguments later become cognitive biases, forms of denial, defense mechanisms, and projection to suppress emotions. The brain can even use this logic to rationalize how other people are the emotionally driven people because it feels good to label opponents as illogical or stupid. For example, those with depression commonly experience low self worth and constantly rationalize this low self worth. Therefore, trying to argue and convince them will not work. In fact, trying to convince them might worsen their feelings of low self esteem, and solidify their depression. Instead, those that have depression require someone that their feelings of depression, and be there for them in that depression. Then you can move forward on finding reasons to live and be a good friend for them.
The actual rational thinkers are people that are aware of their emotions, and know how to separate those feelings from their logic.
Therefore, with greater awareness of your emotions, the more of a rational thinker you can become. Even if you couldn't feel your emotions previously, you can start listening for your emotions and watch your mind open up what feelings it has been avoiding.