Emotional buffering is a newer term so I decided to get a better understanding. The avid learner in me always starts with the dictionary.
An emotion is a natural, instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood or relationships with others. An emotion is felt within the heart and body, instead of thought of with the mind.
To be emotional is to be aroused or characterized by intense feeling.
Buffer refers to the action of lessening or moderating the impact of something.
Putting it all together, emotional buffering happens when we shield our heart from unpleasant emotions that originate in our current circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
is emotional buffering the same as procrastination or self care?
Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something. It's knowing what you need to do but can't bring yourself to do it. You are aware you are choosing to avoid doing the activity or task. We all procrastinate and it's not always viewed negatively if we do.
Self care describes the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, especially during periods of stress. Self-care should be restorative in nature.
Emotional buffering is avoiding a feeling. The difference between emotional buffering and the other two is that generally you don't know you are avoiding the emotion. It is a form of numbing and you get instant gratification and relief from being uncomfortable. Look at the picture of the egg. The egg's current circumstance is that it's about to get eaten. Yikes! However, the egg has a calm and playful face. The egg is avoiding fear and doesn't even know it.
Numbing ourselves from unpleasant situations or circumstances is normal. We all do it. We don't want to experience any type of negative emotion or pain so we buffer. We prefer to feel happiness and pleasure all the time.
The next question is WHAT does emotional buffering look like?
What does emotional buffering look like in our current circumstances, in our mood, and in our relationships with others, and with ourselves?
Next week we'll take a look at what emotional buffering may look like for you so you can begin to recognize when it's happening...
This is part 1 of a 3-part series on Emotional Buffering.