Do you control your emotions, or do they control you?
Emotions should serve us, not the other way around. When your emotions are out of control, it’s hard on your mind, body, and relationships.
They can easily fuel us to do or say something inappropriate. Strong emotions inhibit our ability to make sound decisions. Overactive emotional responses can also be damaging to your health.
On the other hand, having control over your emotions can help you avoid many challenges. (Seriously, don’t you have enough stress already?) You’ll live in greater harmony with others and enjoy more peace and happiness in your life. As with most other things, to become skilled at controlling your emotions requires practice.
Master your emotions by practicing these strategies.
Be aware of your emotions. It is the critical first step. Emotions turn off the logical part of your brain. It takes practice to notice that your emotions are off-kilter.
Exercise. It’s harder to get upset or stressed after a good workout. Regular exercise releases much of the tension in your body and makes it easier to control your emotions throughout the day.
Determine your triggers. When are you most likely to lose control? At work? At home in the evening? With your in-laws? Notice your emotional patterns and do what you can to minimize your responses in those situations.
Sleep. You’ve noticed how a tired toddler is on an emotional knife edge. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re immune to this phenomenon. Get enough sleep to ensure that you’re emotionally sound each day.
Focus on finding a solution. Emotions run higher when you focus on the problem. Direct your attention to a solution instead. You’ll not only calm yourself but also be on track to solving the issue before you.
Question your opinions. You’re not always right. Maybe you don’t actually have a good reason to be upset. Ask yourself if your opinions, views and beliefs are 100% accurate regarding the upsetting circumstances.
Remind yourself of past emotional experiences. Occasionally remind yourself of the pain you’ve caused yourself and others in the past by losing control of your emotions. Awareness is half the battle.
Focus on your breathing. When you’re in the middle of a strong emotional reaction, you’re focused on the thoughts going through your head. It’s easy to magnify your emotional state when your focus is inward. Bring yourself back to reality by directing your attention to your breathing.
If you have control over your emotions, you have more control over your life. Maintaining control of your emotions is a vital skill that is developed with practice.