What does it mean to "control" one's emotions, and what's healthy or even possible?
This page is a stub, created on 2020-04-07. Its contents are notes on the issues and angles I want to address about this topic.
There's a lot of equivocation on what it means to be able to control one's emotions. I want to untangle a few different senses of the phrase and offer my views on what I think is possible and healthy:
- force of will in the moment (impossible)
- taking specific actions to effect or affect emotions, like self-soothing behaviors or listening to sad music (possible, may be healthy or harmful)
- long-term work to recalibrate emotional reactions (possible, most likely healthy if pursued carefully)
Some notes from Andrew:
- I would still encourage you to explore piano performance though. It's useful for both controlling but also sensitizing emotions, as well as experiencing emotions not commonly found in every day life.
- "Musical emotion" is an interesting area of study actually - they're similar to regular emotions, but not quite the same
- In performing expressively, you're forced to "box" the emotions into a certain progression, which can help build the skill of controlling (not the same as repressing!) the emotion responses. But also with the purpose of expressing each emotion maximally, builds sensitivity to each.
- Aleksey has an interesting paper you may want to read!
- I consider playing / performing the same thing. The point is to communicate emotions through music
- whether your audience is just you vs others is a detail
- Music can also be very powerful in building an emotional lexicon
- Eg. you can teach children to experience dignity in a musical context well before they would experience it in real life
- Developmentally very powerful
- In case you find any of it especially interesting