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Emotional security is the measure of the stability of an individual's emotional situation and of a persons ability to bring their inner resources to bear in coping with stress. While emotional insecurity may be defined as a feeling of general unease or nervousness that may be triggered by external social factors or perceiving oneself to be unloved, inadequate or worthless.
A person who is susceptible to bouts of depression being triggered by minor setbacks is said to be less "emotionally secure". A person whose general happiness is not very shaken even by major disturbances in the pattern or fabric of their life might be said to be extremely emotionally secure.
- For example, someone who might fit a common notion of emotional security is someone for whom the death of a relative or friend:
- - initiates a healthy amount of sadness combined with
- - thankfulness for the deceased's having been able to experience the joy of existence (especially if he or she lived a long and/or fulfilling life),
- - hope that the deceased person has gone to a 'better place'
- - renewed dedication to make the most of one's own remaining time
- - take better care of one's health.
- On the other hand, someone who might be said to display a degree of attachment to the deceased person that does not coincide with common-sense notions of emotional security is:
To a certain extent, emotional security is a function of brain chemistry: some people are naturally predisposed to feel less happy, and to be more adversely affected by natural events, for example in the case of hypothyroidism. Certain medications, such as SSRI's or even stimulants, are often prescribed to address such natural deficiencies. The side-effects of these medications, however, in many cases can negate their positive effects, for example when certain anti-depressants make it difficult or impossible to experience orgasm by making the brain incapable of cutting off the flow of certain hormones usually associated with positive emotions but necessary to suddenly block for short periods of time in order for orgasm to occur. It is also said that such medications blunt both 'the highs and the lows,' sapping, for some people, a valuable, inspiring energy from life. However, weighing the pros against the cons of such situations is something different for each individual, and in many cases the dangers of naturally low emotional security may be worse than the side-effects of the appropriate medication, especially such as when a person is suicidal.
There are many philosophies which understand emotional security to be a product of outlook. Such ideologies would advocate that there are safer steps than medicine one can take in order to increase one's emotional security. These options may range from self-help programs, substance abuse treatment programs, and psychotherapy to physical exercise and spiritual or religious devotion. While emotionally insecure people may feel lethargic, sometimes their best option is to increase their endorphins through exercise; while they may be afraid of rejection, this may lead to unhealthy loneliness, which the only way to overcome is to risk rejection by trying to make acquaintances. Practices such as yoga and Buddhism advocate abstinence from mind-altering substances; yoga is an extensive science of achieving clarity of mind and security of attitude through training and disciplining the body, while Buddhism is in essence a practice designed to address suffering.
- B. K. S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga (Revised Edition 1977), with forward by Yehudi Menuhin, Schocken Books, 1979 paperback, ISBN 0-8052-1031-8 (544 pages)
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