Emotions are tricky. Our feelings, whether they appear little and minute or big and disruptive can dictate how we think and act. On one hand, they’re vital to us as human beings. On the other hand, they can wreak havoc in our lives. The difference lies in how we manage them.
If we’re not careful, we may act on our emotions too quickly without thoughtfulness, which may lead to decision making we regret.
Learn how to work with your emotions instead of letting them get the better of you!
Try these techniques to practice emotional control:
1. Avoid reacting immediately. If a situation has triggered strong negative emotions, try to remove yourself, either mentally or physically.
- Walk away perhaps to find a quiet place. Focusing on being present in your body and either calming yourself down or coping. Perform deep breathing exercises while you collect your thoughts. You can then return to the situation, safe in the knowledge that these present, inevitable emotions are just temporary.
- If you can’t walk away, take a moment to pause instead of responding or retaliating. Practice mindfulness and take note of the colors or wording on signage around you. Even try silently counting while you consider an appropriate response. If one does not come to mind, it is okay to state that in a few words – “I need a moment to find my words.”Extra oxygen and ‘Think Time’ will help relax your muscles, calm your mind, and clarify your thoughts.
- Once you’ve calmed yourself, respond to the situation with a well-thought-out reply, rather than a knee-jerk reaction.
2. Look for divine guidance. Often those with faith in something bigger than themselves are better able to control their emotions. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by emotion, close your eyes and seek a positive solution, asking the Universe, your Higher Power, the Divine, or even your inner wisdom for the best way forward.
3. Find a healthy outlet. Once you’ve managed to control your emotions, it’s important to find a healthy way to release them. It’s never a good idea to bottle up your emotions, as eventually they’ll bubble over. Consider these ideas:
- Call or visit a friend, family member, or schedule a visit with your talk therapist. Discuss the situation with someone that you trust to listen objectively for truth. . When you hear someone else’s opinion, you broaden your awareness and may be able to view the situation from a different perspective.
- Consider keeping a journal or diary in which to write down your sentiments. Once you see the situation on paper, sometimes you’re able to see it more clearly. It may help you to release your emotions or spark ideas which help you to resolve the situation. If words are not things that come easily to you on the topic, consider art journaling and creating something symbolic on paper so that you can still get the feelings out in front of your eyes.
- For some people, intense forms of exercise like cross fit, bootcamps, or heavyweight lifting help them deal with emotions. Others find that calmer activities such as yoga, pilates or meditation work best.
4. See the bigger picture. Reflect on the possibility that whatever you are currently experiencing, is happening for a reason. Try to see past the situation and understand what it means in the grand scheme of life. Is there a lesson to learn? Is there a reminder to hold onto? Even in the worst times, there can be an explanation somewhere somehow, which you may learn in due time.
5. Release the negative thoughts. When you experience negative emotions, you think negative thoughts, and vice versa. This can create a cycle of negativity that is thena hard downward spiral to break out of.
- Whenever you experience an emotion that causes you to think negatively, replace these thoughts with positive thoughts. You could try to play out the ideal resolution to your current issue, or simply think about someone or something that makes you happy.
6. Forgive what triggered you. What sets off an emotional reaction in you? Perhaps you feel anger when your friend does that thing you hate. Or perhaps you feel depressed thinking back at a decision you could have made differently.
- Forgive whatever is causing the negative emotions. This will help you to become detached from these triggers and may stop these emotional reactions from boiling over in the future.
When you take control of your emotions, you take control of your future! Practice these strategies and take back control of your life.