Have you ever said something you later regretted because you were angry? Do you allow fear to keep you from taking risks that could be beneficial to you? If that’s the case, then you’re not alone. Emotions are really powerful. How you connect with people, how much money you spend, how you deal with obstacles, and how you spend your time are all influenced by your emotions. Gaining emotional control will assist you in becoming cognitively stronger. Fortunately, anyone can control or rather, manage their emotions. Managing your emotions, like any other skill, takes practice and effort.
This post will help you set that in motion.
Meaning is Everything
There are a ton of things we have no control over, like the weather, traffic, and love, to name a few. We do, however, have control over the significance we assign to events. Meaning is linked to our bigger life plan; it’s a method to either relinquish control or accept responsibility for our lives.
Take, for example, Tony inviting several of his friends to his Fiji home. It’s a sun-drenched, tropical paradise with plenty of sand. It’s also pouring outside. Tony wishes for things to be great for his pals, but he is unhappy because his life does not match his ideal.
When his buddies arrive, though, they are enthralled by the warm rain and soon begin splashing in it. Even if the place doesn’t appear like a postcard, they’re absolutely content. They didn’t expect flawless weather; all they knew was that they were having a nice time.
Tony let his emotions rule the show by attributing a negative interpretation to what was going on.
Emotions Feelings and Emotional Control
For the most part, you can derive more positive, productive meanings from seemingly unpleasant circumstances if you learn to control your emotions.
Let’s stay with the Fiji example for a while. What emotions are now circulating? Tony feels that in order for his friends to be happy, he must create a specific environment. He has a mental image of that ideal – sunny – and despite the fact that he understands that no one can control the weather, he is nevertheless frustrated. As a result, he’s stuck in a foul mood instead of enjoying his friends. His pals, on the other hand, are having a great time. They aren’t displeased, but they may be perplexed as to why Tony appears to be unhappy. So, while everyone is witnessing the rain, their interpretations of it have resulted in vastly varied emotional responses.
In the same vein, when you’re trying to control your emotions, it’s important to remember that they’re just that: emotions. They are yours to keep. We can harm our relationships and lives by allowing our emotions to rule the narrative- and attributing negative meaning to them. You allow the world to happen to you rather than for you when you take a step back and respond emotionally to events.
So, what can you do to reclaim control over your emotions? You can modify the emotion by changing the meaning.
The Impact of Words
What words you employ is another important aspect of the meaning cycle. What do you think when someone tells you that you’re wrong? What if they say you’re mistaken? Regardless of your level of emotional control, chances are you don’t feel great, and that’s just you thinking about it, not what’s happening.
It’s a little example, but it demonstrates how important words are in how we make sense of the world (and thus what we feel). This is why Tony encourages individuals to consider the words they use on a regular basis, especially if they’re trying to make substantial life changes: the words you associate with your experience become your experience.
Feel Uncomfortable Feelings, But Don’t Get Stuck In Them
Suppressing your emotions is not the same as controlling them. Ignoring your melancholy or acting as if you aren’t in pain will not make those feelings go away.
In fact, unhealed emotional wounds are likely to worsen over time if not addressed. And there’s a significant probability that hiding your emotions may lead to harmful coping mechanisms such as food or alcohol.
So it’s pretty much important to acknowledge your emotions while also understanding that they don’t have to control you. You can regulate your mood and turn your day around if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. You can choose to calm yourself down if you are furious.
Here are three things you can do to improve and control your emotions:
#1. Make a List of Your Feelings
You must first accept your current feelings before you can change how you feel. Are you apprehensive? Do you have a sense of disappointment? Are you depressed?
Keep in mind that rage might conceal more vulnerable emotions like shame or embarrassment. As a result, pay close attention to what’s going on inside of you.
Put a name to your feelings. It is also possible that you may experience a variety of emotions at once, such as anxiety, frustration, and impatience.
When you put a name to how you’re feeling, you can take a lot of the sting out of it. It can also assist you in keeping track of how those feelings are likely to influence your choices.
#2. Change the Way You Think
Your emotions have an impact on how you interpret situations. If you’re nervous and your boss sends you an email saying she needs to see you immediately away, you could assume you’re going to be fired. If, on the other hand, you’re in a good mood when you receive that same email, your initial idea might be that you’ll be promoted or praised on a job well done.
Consider the emotional lens through which you view the world. Then, in order to acquire a more realistic perspective, rephrase your thoughts.
#3. Participate in a Mood Boosting Activity
When you’re in a terrible mood, you’re more likely to do things that keep you in that mood. Isolating yourself, idly browsing through your phone, or moaning to those around you are all examples of common “go-to bad mood reactions.”
Those things, on the other hand, will keep you hooked. If you want to feel better, you must take good action.
Consider what you do when you’re in a good mood. Doing those things when you’re in a foul mood, you’ll feel a lot better.
Here are a few mood boosters to consider:
- Make a phone call to a friend and talk about something fun (not to continue complaining).
- Take a walk.
- Take a few minutes to meditate.
- Listen to music that makes you feel good.
Other Tips to Control Your Emotions
Beyond the methods mentioned above, here are other tips to help you better control and manage your emotions.
#1. Keep a Journal of Your Moods
You can discover any disruptive tendencies by writing down (or typing up) your feelings and the results they elicit.
It’s not always necessary to mentally trace your feelings back though. However, putting your sentiments on paper can help you think about them more carefully.
It also aids in recognizing when specific situations, such as relationship problems or family strife, lead to difficult-to-control emotions. Identifying specific triggers allows you to come up with more productive approaches to deal with them.
When you journal on a daily basis, you will reap the best benefits. Keep a journal with you at all times and jot down any strong emotions or feelings as they arise. Make a mental note of the triggers as well as your reaction. If your reaction didn’t help, use your journal to think of other ways to aid in the future.
#2. Take a Deep Breath In and Out
Whether you’re insanely delighted or unable to talk, the power of deep breaths cannot be overemphasized.
Slowing down and focusing on your breathing won’t make your feelings disappear (and remember, that’s not the purpose).
Deep breathing techniques, on the other hand, can help you ground yourself and take a step back from the first surge of emotion, as well as any extreme reaction you want to avoid.
When you start to feel your emotions taking over, do the following:
- Slowly take a deep breath in. The diaphragm, not the chest, takes deep breaths. Visualize your breath rising from deep within your belly button.
- Keep it in your hands. Hold your breath for three counts, then gently exhale.
- Consider reciting a mantra. Some people believe that repeating a mantra, such as “I am peaceful” or “I am relaxed,” is beneficial.
#3. Recognize When It’s Appropriate to Express Yourself
Everything, including deep emotions, has its time and place. When a loved one passes away, for example, uncontrollable sobbing is a common reaction. After getting dumped, screaming into your pillow, or even punching it, may help you release some rage and tension.
Other situations, on the other hand, necessitate some restraint. Screaming at your manager about an unfair disciplinary action will not help, no matter how furious you are.
Being aware of your surroundings and the scenario might help you figure out when it’s OK to express your sentiments and when you should sit with them for the time being.
#4. Make Some Room For Yourself
According to Botnick, getting some space from overwhelming feelings will help you make sure you’re reacting to them appropriately.
This distance could be physical, such as leaving an upsetting circumstance. Furthermore, distracting oneself can help you build some mental distance.
While you don’t want to completely ignore or avoid feelings, it’s not a bad idea to divert your attention until you’re in a better position to deal with them. Just make sure you return to them. However, distracting yourself in a healthy way is merely a temporary solution.
Some distancing techniques to try out include:
- going for a walk
- watching funny videos
- conversing with a loved one
- spending time with your pet for a few minutes and so on.
#5. Give Meditation a Shot
If you already meditate, it may be one of your go-to ways for dealing with strong emotions.
Meditation can assist you in becoming more aware of all of your sensations and experiences. When you meditate, you’re teaching yourself to sit with your feelings, to notice them without judging or trying to change or eliminate them.
As previously stated, learning to accept all of your feelings might help you control your emotions more easily. It also has other advantages, such as helping you in relaxing and sleep better.
#6. Maintain a Stress-Free Environment
Controlling your emotions becomes more challenging when you’re under a lot of stress. Even persons who normally have good emotional control may find it difficult to do so at times of intense tension and stress.
Emotions can be made more tolerable by reducing stress or exploring more effective ways to deal with it.
Meditation and other mindfulness activities can also help with stress. They won’t be able to get rid of it, but they can make it more bearable.
Other good stress-relieving techniques include:
- obtaining adequate sleep
- creating time for pals to talk (and laugh)
- spending time in the woods
- creating time for hobbies and relaxation
#7. Consult a Therapist
If your emotions are still overwhelming you, it’s time to seek professional help.
Certain mental health conditions, such as borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder, are linked to long-term or persistent emotional dysregulation and mood swings. Botnick explains that difficulty controlling emotions can be related to trauma, family issues, or other underlying concerns.
A therapist can help you by providing compassionate, non-judgmental support as you:
- look at what’s causing your emotions to be out of whack.
- addressing mood swings that are extreme
- discover how to get down
- -up-regulate limited emotional expressiveness or down-regulate powerful sentiments
- Practice questioning and reframing distressing feelings.
How to Control Your Emotions FAQs
How can I train my mind to control my emotions?
The following are effective methods to help train your mind to control emotions;
- Consider the polar opposites: Develop awareness as you sense the surge of a bad emotion rising up in your body.
- Transform your perception: You’ve already allowed the slower neuronal networks of the prefrontal cortex to kick in once you’ve calmed down.
- Brainstorm possible solutions
Can you actually control your emotions?
So, in a nutshell, you cannot “control” your emotions. However, if you use the tactics to accept your emotions as they arrive, you will discover that you do not have to be controlled by your feelings.