Letting Your Emotions Control You? 4 Tips To Stop
Do you think it’s possible to control your emotions? Or do you think they always control us? Personally, I’m not sure we can control the fact that we have emotions, but I do think we can learn to respond differently to them. And we can use our emotions to guide and direct us. Because when our responses to our emotions are out of control, it can easily impact your relationships with your body, your food, and those around you.
Consider these unfortunate responses to emotions:
- They can easily cause us to do or say something inappropriate and hurt someone’s feelings.
- Strong emotions may inhibit our ability to make good health and wellness decisions. (More cake, please!)
- Overactive emotional responses can also be damaging to your health. (Heightened stress, anxiety, overeating, lack of sleep, too much sleep, etc.)
On the other hand, look at these benefits of being able to move thru your emotions and thus control your responses:
- You will avoid many of the self-created challenges brought on by excess eating, drinking, shopping, etc. (Seriously, don’t you have enough stress already?)
- You’ll find greater compassion for yourself and others as you move thru your emotions instead of resisting them.
- You’ll enjoy more peace and happiness in your life because you won’t hold on to hurts and pains.
As with most other things, moving thru and processing your emotions and your responses to them requires practice in order to become skilled at it.
Practice these 4 steps to process and move thru your emotions:
- Be aware of your emotions. This is the critical first step. Emotions turn off the logical part of your brain. You’re fully engaged with whatever has triggered your emotional state. It takes practice to notice that your emotions are off-kilter. However, it’s easier to put out a small fire than a big one. Catch yourself as quickly as possible.
- 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.
- Keep your ego under control. Many strong negative emotions are the result of a fragile ego. You might feel you’ve been ignored, mistreated, or slighted in some way. Or perhaps you believe that someone didn’t act in a way you considered appropriate. You can shore up your ego with positive affirmations.
- Change your thoughts. You can upset yourself with your thoughts alone. You can also make yourself feel better by changing your thoughts. When you notice a negative thought, immediately switch it to a thought that makes you feel good.
Self-care is so important when it comes to handling and managing your emotional responses.
- Reduce stress. You’ve probably noticed that when you’re stressed at work, you’re less patient with your children. When your stress levels are higher, you’re more likely to overreact. Take time to enjoy activities that bring you peace.
- Regular exercise releases much of the tension in your body and makes it easier to control your emotions throughout the day. So go for a walk or get a workout in.
- Meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teach you that your thoughts and emotions are fleeting things that largely come and go. By learning to just observe them, you learn that they will fade away on their own. You also realize that you don’t have to react to them.
- You’ve noticed how a tired toddler is on an emotional knife edge. Don’t think that because you’re a “grown up” that you’re somehow immune to this phenomenon. Get enough sleep to ensure that you’re emotionally sound each day.
- Think of all the trouble you could’ve saved yourself over the years if you had just taken a moment to just breathe and relax. When you’re feeling overly emotional, take time to collect yourself before you speak or take an action you might regret.
- 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, you’ll be on track to solving the issue before you.
- Question your opinions and thoughts. You’re not always right. Maybe you don’t actually have a good reason to be upset. Ask yourself if your opinions and beliefs are 100% accurate regarding the situation or circumstances you’re in.
- 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.
- Avoid alcohol. A few drinks can loosen up inhibitions and create false emotions. This might be fun in certain situations, but a disaster in others. Be cautious regarding alcohol use.
- 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.
Maintaining control of your emotions is a vital skill. You can develop this skill with practice. These strategies will help. If you have control over your emotions, you have more control over your life.
Take the first step to gaining control over your life today!