Our ability to express and experience emotions is vital because they play a major role in our daily reactions. Emotions can have a beneficial influence on our lives, but can also take a toll on our interpersonal relationships and emotional health.
Have you ever found yourself unleashing an emotional reaction that you couldn’t control? Have you said things out of anger and regretted them immediately? When you are unable to control your emotions, your response may be unseemly or may be disruptive in any situation.
Even though emotions are powerful, you can control them if you want to become a better person. However, managing your emotions is not the same as suppressing them. If you pretend or ignore that things do not affect you, that doesn’t take the emotions away.
Unfortunately, unaddressed emotions can wreak havoc on us in the future.
How to control your emotions
Learn mental and physical recovery skills
When you have unpleasant feelings that you can not control or even hide, you become overwhelmed, and this can result to an emotional meltdown.
For instance, if you have an argument with your loved one, the best way to deal with your emotions would be to break free by distancing yourself for a while.
Here are some other ways to deal with your emotions when it comes to interpersonal relationships:
- Physically take yourself out of the situation by going to the bathroom or somewhere else until you calm your nerves to speak softly.
- Take deep and slow breaths for a short time.
- Gaze at relaxing images to calm or ease your mind, such as green space or seascape photos.
- Learn how to use meditation to increase awareness of your situation or the state of your mind. Meditation can help you positively release the fumes. It offers you an opportunity to step away from your crisis and embrace a healthy state of mind.
- Practice mindfulness. It helps you worry less and lower your negative emotions and improve your focus.
Label your emotions
If you have no idea what you feel, you may find it hard to control your emotions. First, acknowledge your state of mind and understand why you are losing your cool. Are you feeling sad, disappointed, or nervous? Often, anger can mask your emotions by making you feel vulnerable, embarrassed or ashamed. You should pay attention to the ‘war’ happening inside of you.
When you label your emotions, it would give you a direction on how to control your mental state. It would also easy for you to make decisions on how to tackle the challenge.
A wrong nametag for your emotions can only lead to more emotional trauma. You must handle each particular emotional issue differently from the other. If you are angry, sad, depressed, disappointed, numb, or indecisive, learn how to control them differently.
Do not repress your emotions, regulate it
Learn not to repress or suppress your emotions. When you suppress your emotions, you end up hurting yourself more. Similarly, you can only control your emotions if you know how to manage them.
When you repress your feelings or fail to express your emotions, it can lead to some health challenges such as anxiety, sleep disorder, muscle tension and pain, depression, stress and substance misuse.
According to an experimental study on emotion regulation (Butler et al., 2003), women who suppressed their emotions were found to have an increased blood pressure.
Thus, it’s quite important to learn how to express your feelings. However, you should find a balance between no emotions and overwhelming emotions. You should learn to regulate or manage your emotions.
We should be able to take responsibility for how we feel or act. We know that people’s actions can hurt or make us angry. While we tell them about these actions, we should take responsibility for our emotions too.
Often, the things that matter to us, and our perception of the truth control our reactive emotions. This means that you should understand that people act on the influences that are opposite of your experience, beliefs, upbringing, and culture.
Learn to replace how negatively you feel about a situation or people. You should replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Refuse to be controlled by the actions of others, and create your own emotional environment.
Forgive yourself when you suffer from an emotional meltdown and learn to control your emotional triggers. When you forgive others when they hurt or make you feel differently, you detach yourself from the jealously, fury, resentment, or hurt that lingers within you.
Write it down
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand your emotions. A study by Barclay and Skarlicki (2009) shows that writing is an effective way to express emotions.
You can start a diary of your mental state to help you control your emotions. Ask yourself questions about how you feel, what you did or intend to do in a situation. This helps control your emotions effectively without feeling overwhelmed.
If you cannot down your emotions, ask yourself questions that relate to how you feel or what you want to do before reacting.
Manage your emotional reactions
When people provoke you, you should understand that your mind is complicit in your state of mind. That means you should learn how to respond to situations. You must take moments to control your emotions before responding impulsively to situations.
You can be caught in the acronym SCARF, which means Social Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relationships, and Fairness. Learn to deal with these five situations if you want to have a better chance at controlling your emotions. Learn to control how you act and feel in your social network. When people threaten your status, it can lead to rivalry, embarrassment, or public failures.
You should develop the ability or sense of control over how people act towards you. Find out how you control your autonomy without provoking a reaction in your workplace or relationship space. Find friends that compliment you and strengthen your relationships through service and communication. To control your emotions, take a view on fairness and see how your perception differs from others.
Hey Joyfreshers, how do you control your emotions so that they don’t control you? Tell us in the comments below!