At some point in time, everyone has experienced a range of emotions: both positive and negative. Unfortunately, people wish to control their emotions but end up being controlled by the same emotions. Someone might get upset, nervous, or lose their temper and end up causing more self-destruction or harm. Emotions are like warning signs. For instance, feeling angry is a sign that something wrong is happening. In this article, we’ll explore the types of emotions, the effectiveness of controlling your emotions, and ultimately how to control your emotions.
The six types of emotions
There’re many kinds of emotions that affect general human behavior. Emotions can overwhelmingly influence actions, perceptions, and choices people make. Emotions can be categorized as follows:
Happiness is a pleasant emotion for when you feel joy. When we’re satisfied with our lives, we often feel happiness as an emotion.
Fear is a negative emotion that arises during threats to safety, harm, or well-being. It is an evolutionary response to danger.
Anger is an intense negative emotion that surfaces when we’re provoked, irritated, or when something doesn’t go our way.
Sadness is a negative emotion from experiencing grief, pain, loss of hope, or down. It’s a sign that you may need comfort or help.
Surprise can be a positive or negative emotion that comes from experiencing something unexpected.
Disgust is a negative emotion that comes from disapproving of something or being offended by an event.
These are the basic types of emotions people experience in their day-to-day life. Other common emotions include guilt, satisfaction, amusement, relief, and shame.
Benefits of Controlling Your Emotions
There are many benefits associated with controlling emotions as follows:
1. You’ll understand the cause of emotions
One of the benefits when you control your emotions, is that you give yourself some more time to understand why you’re experiencing them in the first place. For example, if you refrain from blowing up in a fit of rage when someone hurts you when you step back and think about it, you might notice that you were frustrated with something that happened earlier in the day and not mad at anyone in particular.
2. Ask for help to control your emotions
When you know how to control your emotions, you’re more likely to be aware of when you need to ask for help. For example, if you’re experiencing a lot of fear due to PTSD, you might step back and say to yourself, “it seems like it’s time to talk to a mental health professional.” When you’re aware of your emotions, you know when you’re in too deep. And you only become aware of your feelings when you know how to control your emotions.
3. Prevent the adverse effects of negative emotions
Have you ever reacted poorly due to bottled-up emotions? Don’t worry, we all have. Controlling your emotions is all about noticing them, feeling them, and letting them float away. When we give our negative emotions attention instead of reacting to them, we can save ourselves from a ton of misery.
4. You’ll be a better friend or partner by controlling your emotions
People who know how to control their emotions can support people when they react negatively. For example, if someone gets angry at you, you might say something like, “You seem angry right now; how can I help you resolve this situation and ease your stress levels?” Saying something like this would immediately cut the tension instead of reacting to someone’s anger with more anger.
5. You’ll avoid consuming unhealthy substances
Often, when we fail to control our emotions, we resort to overeating, alcohol, drugs, or other substances that worsen our problems. When you control your feelings, you’re able to practice mindful eating and other healthy lifestyle behaviors.
6. Proper communication won’t be a challenge
When people have the tools that improve managing their emotions, they’re better able to communicate when challenges arise. If you’re currently struggling with this, you might want to check out communication books like Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg.
How to control your emotions
Before you even understand how to control your emotions, it’s essential to learn which emotions you regularly experience and their possible outcome. Below are some top ways for controlling your emotions:
1. Acknowledge your emotions
The first step in dealing with your emotions is to acknowledge your current feeling about the situation. Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t know. It’s essential to understand if you’re overreacting to a problem so that you can take steps to start the emotion management process. Regardless of whether you’re sad, nervous, disappointed, or angry, you might end up causing harm to yourself or others.
Sometimes, you might experience multiple emotions that can influence your decision-making. Acknowledging your feelings will help you understand what you’re dealing with right now to get the best outcomes. Plus, by acknowledging your feelings, you become aware of them. If you’re never able to notice them surfacing, you won’t be able to stop the explosions of emotion or outbursts.
2. Self-care is key to controlling your emotions
Sometimes, your emotions can come from factors like life hardships, stress, being alone, or even not getting enough deep sleep. All these factors have a direct link with human emotions. Therefore, it’s essential to practice self care ideas as a priority for your overall well-being.
Psychological studies show that sleep plays a critical role in the well-being of a person. Failure to sleep well for eight hours will detach you from your emotions because your tired brain can’t make the best decisions. On the other hand, you might not be getting adequate sleep because of negative emotions causing more problems. A similar cycle is also involved with other aspects like stress. To prevent these and better control your emotions, find some ideal activities and make them a routine.
For instance, having a night time routine, such as exercising, showering, and reading before bed, can help you unwind at night so you can get the rest you need. Also, having right-brain activities like drawing, playing music, or other activities can also help silence negative thoughts to minimize overreacting to minor problems.
3. Change your thoughts to manage your emotions
Emotions play a significant part in how people perceive different things. For instance, in a workplace setting, getting anxious sometimes is normal. In this case, if by any chance you’re called by your boss, you’ll think that you’re in trouble if this is unusual. Reframing your thoughts will make you have a realistic view of different situations.
Negative thinking is usually the cause of negative emotions. Whenever you find yourself thinking negatively, focus on doing positive actions. You can do activities such as swimming, walking, meditating, drawing, using mindfulness journals, or running.
4. Write down what you’re experiencing
Creating a mood journal is essential if you want to manage your emotions effectively. You should get a piece of paper and a pen and start writing how you feel daily, how emotions have affected you, and what’s happening in life in general.
In some cases, you might find yourself in a position that you can’t understand how or why you feel a certain way. You might face a difficult time writing about your current situation, especially if you can’t yet control your emotions. In this case, you should try and relate the feeling with another similar situation you’ve previously had.
To make it even easier, you should use journal prompts or mind maps that involve creating tiny bubbles and filling them with your thoughts. At the top, begin with the broader topic and add subtopics afterward.
5. Keep healthy relationships
Relationships play a significant role when it comes to emotional control. Relationships are essential for regulating emotions, so you can maintain them. When you’re feeling angry or bitter, talking to your close friend, relative, or partner can make you feel better. You’ll get peace of mind after getting the emotional support that will also calm your physical response.
Additionally, it’s also vital to maintain close ties with some of your friends to open up whenever you face challenging or stressful situations that you can’t share with everyone. To keep these close ties, ensure you’re in regular contact with these people either physically, in outdoor activities, or via social media or text.
6. Give yourself space
Although being alone too often isn’t a good idea for people trying to manage their emotions, it’s helpful for others. You should give yourself some space sometimes. This way, you’ll sort out your feelings undisturbed until you feel better. Giving yourself space also means that you’ll have adequate time for conceptualizing your actual feelings and start the process of trying to manage them slowly.
Stepping back from the people or issues helps you learn how to control your emotions. You can get inner peace from these moments alone, so know when it’s time to take them. If the conflict is in your marriage or long-term relationship, don’t stonewall the other person. Instead, say, “I want to bring the best version of myself to this problem we’re dealing with. Is it okay if I take half an hour to cool off alone so we can resolve this together?”
7. Avoid triggers to help you control your emotions
All emotions have specific triggers. Therefore, to easily control your emotions, you must first identify the triggers and stay away from them. For instance, if you feel angry and disappointed when you’re not appreciated, you should try and avoid those circumstances and situations you think might cause disrespect. This method usually works well for negative emotions.
An excellent way to deal with triggers in your relationships is to describe how you feel about something that bothers you with the person who triggers you.
8. Look for mood boosters
Having a bad mood will trigger emotions that’ll keep you down. You’ll also be in a poor state of mind where you’re likely to complain a lot, stay on your phone for long hours or engage in toxic behavior. It’s therefore essential to undertake the good habits that’ll create a permanent shift of your mood from worst to better.
The activities you choose don’t have to be too intense in this case. For instance, instead of scrolling your phone all day long, you can contact your friends, have fun and light-hearted conversations, listen to your favorite music, or meditate.
9. Using Meditation to control your emotions
Meditation is an excellent solution for dealing with extreme emotions and feelings. Many people have recently turned to meditation for many other reasons, including better and quality sleep and relaxation.
Guided meditation is about focusing on your breath to live in the present moment instead of in the past or future. When it comes to controlling emotions, meditation will raise feelings awareness.
During meditation, you’ll learn how to stay with certain feelings without fear, personal judgments, or wanting to let them go. Acceptance is critical in managing emotions.
10. Seek expert support to learn how to control your emotions
Sometimes emotions can be overwhelming even if you undertake all other steps to manage them. In this case, the only left viable option is to find a therapist.
A psychologist will only help you manage your emotions if the cause isn’t related to mental health problems. On the other hand, therapists will assist you if you’ve had mental health problems such as underlying health conditions, trauma, bipolar, and borderline personality disorders. The therapist will help people with these problems by establishing what causes dysregulated emotions, stress, and mood swings.
Talking about your emotions with a therapist will help you look at your feelings in new ways while actively working on rewiring the neural pathways in your brain to form new thoughts and build healthier habits.
Meditation, healthy relationships, and journaling are all healthy ways to control your emotions. Today, you learned some of the positive ways to learn how to control your emotions and get unstuck from your problems. It’s crucial to remember that negative emotions are meant to spotlight issues, not to destroy you. So, use them as signs to find problems to fix. And by noticing your emotions, you’ll also have a chance to watch them float away as they always eventually do.