5 Ideas to take Control of our Emotions
Have you ever been so angry that you have said something that you regretted later? Or have you really wanted to do something and let fear talk you out of it? 5 Ideas to help you learn to Control your Emotions
Emotions are incredibly powerful, they are all very different too. Some are wonderful to experience and others not so, working through the different kinds of emotions is important as some, like happiness, anticipation of good times etc. will need no regulation while others will need to be handled, such as anticipation of a bad scenario, jealousy etc. so an appropriate reaction to them is acted upon or displayed. So learning to control your emotions so your emotions don’t control you and take over your life is one of the most important things you can ever do and will make you mentally tougher.
People tend to learn these skills during their childhood, their brothers and sisters teach them ways to negotiate, share, what others are feeling and conversational skills, school kids teach them other lessons, or reinforce the same lessons and all these help them to learn about their own emotions and what is socially acceptable and what isn’t.
Children learn to express and manage the different emotions as they grow and develop:
- A three year old will be able to use words like happy, sad, angry and excited. They will be able to understand when they have been naughty and they need to apologise, although you may have to remind them. They will also understand sharing and will feel generous from time to time too.
- A four year old will be able to describe feelings like embarrassment, frustration or annoyance. They will be able to lie to cover the truth if they are feeling guilty or embarrassed. They might also start feeling anxiety from separation or during unfamiliar situations. They will be able to better manager disappointment, frustration and rage having fewer tantrums.
- A five year old will be using words to describe emotions like resentment, shame and disappointment. They will be able to follow rules so they don’t get into trouble, they will have more patience waiting for objects or their turn and be much more mindful of their feelings and those of others, so they might be more helpful and nice to their friends.
Benefits of Emotion Control
If you miss learning some of these skills as a kid, you will need to learn them as an adult so you don’t get stuck in them or supress them. While learning about how you feel and managing those feelings will take dedication and practice, with time you will improve your ability to control your emotions so they don’t dominate and rule your life.
Our emotions and moods dictate how we form friendships and how we interaction with others. They control how much risk we are prepared to take, how we confront challenges and even how we spend our money and time. Disregarding, overlooking or suppressing negative emotions like sadness, loneliness, anger or fear won’t make them go away, instead over time they will magnify and fester within you maybe even encouraging harmful coping skills like over or under eating, alcohol or drug addiction. Acknowledging our feelings and emotions then learning to control them is really important to experience a full and rewarding life where we don’t hold ourselves back.
Being able to calm ourselves when we are stressed and angry or getting ourselves out of filthy moods when we get out of the bed on the wrong side, makes a massive difference to how we deal with each day.
5 Ideas to Help you Take Control of Emotions
Here are some ideas that might help you take control of your emotions.
- Stop and take your time.
Stop take some deep breaths, maybe close your eyes while you breath it out and calm yourself down, give yourself the time needed to think before you react, don’t just let loose. Just because you are feeling something doesn’t mean you have to act. Once you have reacted instinctively without thought there is no room to go back, take back what has been done and make a logical decision about how you should react. So take your time when you feel an emotion.
- Acknowledge the emotion
Acknowledge the emotion you are feeling, give it a name. Remember they could be a mix of several emotions at the same time, so dig deep to explore what is really going on inside you. You may be feeling really sad yet laying beneath the sadness is loneliness, it is the loneliness that is causing the sadness.
Anger can also be masked by other emotions which may hide the real emotion of embarrassment or shame. When I’m stressed and in a serious situation, I laugh and try to make light of what is happening, this is my coping mechanism but others get angry that I’m not taking things seriously, which in reality I am.
- Experiencing the feelings
Experiencing the feelings without having to react to them, greeting them as friends rather than enemies you have to lash out at, will take the major charge out of what you are feeling and dull the intensity or power of the emotion, it will also help you get to know yourself more intimately.
Feeling your way through the emotion will initially be very painful but essential so you can understand the message that your feelings are trying to tell you or learn the lessons your inner wisdom needs to move forward powerfully.
You can’t change what you don’t understand, so processing what the emotion is about is the most important thing you can do. How you do this is individual, some meditate and wait for the answer to come, I often write in a journal, asking my subconscious questions. If after doing all this the emotion continues, then you may need to dig deeper as there may be a bigger hidden meaning that needs to be bought to the surface and dealt with.
Our emotions often dictate the ways we see events so by shifting our focus away from the pain that was initially triggering us, you reduce the temptation to judge or make the event mean something it really wasn’t and by concentrating on the lessons or meaning gives us a much more realistic view of the event.
- Change your response.
Sometimes we need to change how we habitually respond to emotions, so if we are feeling lonely we need to put new strategies in place to change how we feel. If we are feeing jealous maybe starting a bucket list might give us the motivation to change our emotion.
Every year for 20 years on the anniversary of my dad’s death, I was in a foul mood, I was stuck in this behaviour, so 5 years ago I decided to change, because my behaviour didn’t bring him back and I was better spending the time enjoying the day which made me much more happy and that would have been what he wanted anyway. If you wake up in a bad mood, choose to change the emotions you are feeling, think about what you do that makes you happy and do that, go for a walk, get outside and feel the sun on your body, meditate or do a yoga class maybe spend time doing art or craft, but do something that changes the pattern running in your mind.
Time and Persistence brings Emotion Control
Learning to control your emotions will take time and persistence and repetition, it will be challenging at times too but the rewards will be enormous. Being able to hit rock bottom, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go again will be rewarding beyond belief and the faster you can control your emotions the faster you will be dusting yourself off.
There may be a specific emotion that is more challenging to control, but with practice, determination and focus you will get stronger and better at controlling it. Controlling your emotions will improve your self-esteem because you will know that at times of conflict, adversity or challenge, you will be able to handle yourself well and come out the other side in a good place.