Human beings are emotional creatures. We feel deeply, which is a good thing – until we let those feelings run away from us. Emotions are exceptionally powerful, which is why learning to control them is equally powerful. Emotions are a part of our personality, and there is no need to control them. However, when negative emotions start taking over the person’s better judgment, they must learn to control their emotional reactions. Here are ninetips to control your emotions more effectively:
Steps to Control Your Emotions
1) Keep Things In Perspective
The way an emotion feels depends on what thoughts you have about it. When you notice intense feelings associated with something, take some time to examine precisely why you’re feeling that emotion. Then ask yourself if any of what you’re thinking is true. Sometimes, a feeling can be a more significant reaction to a situation than what was warranted.
2) Take Control of Your Physical Response
Once you’ve taken a step back and looked at your thoughts, use this information to change your physical response to the situation. If you feel overwhelmed by emotions, go for a quick walk or exercise to burn off some of that energy. In many cases, just getting up and doing something will give you enough mental clarity that your feelings won’t feel intense anymore.
3) Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Just looking for a quick way to relax? The Calm app on iTunes has a variety of guided meditation sessions available for free-ranging from 5 minutes to 25 minutes long! Look for a meditation that focuses on helping you let go of stress and calming your body.
4) Control Your Focus
Where you focus your attention also influences how much you feel an emotion. Let’s say that a particular situation is going on in your life that has triggered feelings of anger or resentment. You can make those emotions better or worse by changing what you focus on when thinking about the situation. Instead, try focusing on something else- anything from feeling grateful for what you have to practicing self-compassion if this is tough. This will shift the process from one where those negative emotions are taking over and dictate the outcome to one where you’re doing something productive to make yourself feel better.
5) Create Some Distance
If you’re feeling extra overwhelmed by emotions, take 5 minutes to step back and create physical distance between yourself and the situation triggering your feelings. This isn’t always easy when you’re in the middle of things, but it can be helpful when trying to calm down. Spend 5 minutes doing something like looking at your favorite photos on Instagram or listening to your favorite song on Spotify before getting back into whatever brought about those intense feelings in the first place.
If you still feel too upset after a few more minutes pass, go ahead and set a specific time for yourself where you can come back to examine what happened further.
Read More: What is Emotional Health and How to Build it
6) Control Your Breathing
When you’re overwhelmed with emotions, it is natural to start breathing faster. This causes your body to bring in more oxygen than your body needs at that time. Control the speed of your breathing by focusing on making each breath slow and even. It will help calm your nervous system down and give you a moment to reassess how strongly you feel about an event or emotion before moving forward.
7) Be Mindful of Your Environment
It isn’t always easy to control our thoughts and feelings, but we can take some steps to minimize the impact that triggers have on us by managing our surroundings better. Take note of what other people are doing, lighting conditions, sounds around you, etc… Consciously noticing these things takes away some of the impacts that triggers can have on you since you’re taking your attention away from what is triggering your emotions.
8) Control Your Body Language
When you find yourself having intense emotions, it is common to cross your arms in front of your chest (a self-hug!) or tense up all over. Be mindful about how much physicality helps or hurts your body’s response to a difficult situation. Sometimes, just moving a little bit can be extremely helpful in emotionally calming down and getting organized for whatever comes next.
9) Control What You Tell Yourself
When experiencing strong emotions, thoughts quickly run through our minds and precisely how we feel about a given situation. If our thoughts aren’t productive, they will not help you feel better. Control what you tell yourself about the situation by coming up with three positive things that you can say to yourself (out loud or in your head) to take yourself from feeling like the world is ending to feeling like you’re ready for whatever comes next.