Dragons, a mythical and fire breathing creature that can destroy a whole village or that can protect a whole community. In many old stories, we hear about knights slaying the dragon to save the village – but in more recent times we have heard and seen stories about individuals taming these wild creatures for protection instead (i.e. How to Train Your Dragon and its sequels, Game of Thrones, and House of the Dragon). Now dragons may not be real, but we all have our own “dragons” inside us. These dragons might be more like anxiety, anger, jealousy, sadness, being in control, and more.
Now, these “dragons” may or may not seem less scary than an actual fire-breathing dragon that can fly around, but they are just as important to tame and understand. First it is utterly important to understand that all of these feelings and urges are entirely normal sometimes and are even there to protect you in certain situations. For example, anxiety can be beneficial when you are walking to your car late at night, your anxiety keeps you aware of the surrounding location and can alert you when danger is around. However, if you don’t tame your anxiety and let it rule your thoughts and actions, then this “dragon” (aka anxiety) might destroy the “village” (aka your mental health).
There are many ways that you can tame your personal “dragon” without slaying it, because as we mentioned earlier these emotions and urges are completely normal and beneficial if tamed! One important way to tame your dragon is to give it a name. Mindful explains that naming your emotions and urges (anxiety, anger, control, jealousy, fear, sadness, etc.) helps you to regain control of these emotions and become more rational in the situation. Psychology Today also notes that once you name your emotions you can become more self-aware about why you might be feeling that way and how that might affect your judgment in the moment.
However, maybe you already know the name of your dragon, but do not know how to tame it. Healthline and Mayo Clinic note that it is important to take a moment to yourself and just breathe or meditate. Taking a moment to yourself can help you to feel calmer and practicing this can help better prepare you to tame these emotions in the future. Sometimes though it can be important to validate these emotions and urges. Both Psychology Today notes that recognizing and validating that you have these emotions and that they are important can also help to tame them in the future. In other words, understanding that you are angry and recognizing that you have a right to be angry, can help you to tame that anger so that you do not have a huge outburst.
Now, perhaps you do not feel that your emotions are your dragon – maybe your dragon is that you do not practice enough self-care or taking time for yourself; or maybe your dragon is an entirely different challenge in life. Regardless of the name of your dragon, remember that the most important part is to tame that dragon; it just might turn out to be your friend!