In 1995, popular author and science journalist Daniel Goleman published his groundbreaking book called "Emotional Intelligence", wherein he described people who are emotionally intelligent as being able to discern different feelings, and adjust and regulate their emotions accordingly. The popularity of his book confirmed one thing. Being able to control, manage, and regulate our emotions is as important as mastering a new skill.
Being able to control our emotions is something many of us struggle with. After all, our emotions are meant to be explored and expressed. However, there are times when we are not able to express these emotions healthily. To control our emotions does not necessarily mean that we need to suppress them. It simply means that we need to be able to be on top of these emotions, for us to act and behave rationally.
Controlling emotions, especially negative ones, can help us live a more fulfilling life. Negative feelings often tend to spiral out of control, and over time, we may become consumed by them. We may not even get to experience any positive emotions because we become so filled with anger, envy, bitterness, or other negative emotion.
Regulating our emotions is an important skill that we should all learn to master. Here are some steps to controlling your emotions.
Identify The Emotion
The first step to controlling your emotions is to identify and accept that you are currently feeling an unwanted emotion, at that point in time. This will help you to not act on impulse and approach the situation more rationally.
Ask yourself the following questions to help you identify your emotions.
• What am I feeling right now?
• Why am I feeling this way?
• What could be another reason behind the situation?
• What do I want to do about my feelings?
• Is there a better and healthier way to cope with how I feel?
Remember these questions and practice this self-reflection process regularly. It may take some time to learn, but it will help save you from many unnecessary conflicts in the future.
Avoid Reacting On Impulse
It’s easy to react on impulse. However, you can regulate your emotions. If you feel you are about to lose control, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Practice calming yourself down before you react so that you won't react based on your instinctive emotions.
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Know What Triggers Your Negative Emotions
Being able to know what triggers your emotions is a powerful way to control them. It takes a lot of self-awareness to be able to master this skill, but it's a very helpful skill to learn. You can also avoid the things that you know can trigger your emotions, especially if you think you are not going to be able to regulate how you react towards them.
Find A Healthy Way To Release Pent-Up Emotions
Any sort of escape or distraction can help you release your emotions more healthily. By releasing your emotions, you can process them better and eventually learn to let them go. You can talk to a trusted friend or family member that can offer some advice or simply listen. Writing down how you feel in a journal can also help, especially if you are someone who doesn’t feel comfortable sharing your problems with others.
You can also engage in exercises that can help discharge negative energy. This will dissipate stress hormones, plus, physical exercise helps your bodies produce ‘happy hormones.’
Reframe How You Think
Your negative emotions are always attached to negative thoughts. The more you dwell on these negative thoughts, the more you will feel bad about them, and the cycle simply continues. Break the cycle of negativity by reframing your mindset to think more positively. Whenever a negative thought enters your head, you can replace it with a different, more productive, relevant, or simply ‘happier’ thought. By reframing how you think, you can distract your mind and direct your attention to something more positive.
Being able to regulate your emotions takes practice. However, once you can control your emotions better, you will not only feel better about yourself, but you will foster more positive and healthy relationships with the people around you.