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Learning to Control Your Emotions

Some of us have great control over our emotional responses, and some of us struggle.

Doing or saying the wrong thing in the midst of an emotional meltdown could have very negative effects. Say something your boss doesn’t like and you could be out of a job.

Gain control of your emotions with these strategies:

1.Realize that negative emotions simply don’t last. If you’re angry about

something right now, you’ll probably be over it by next year, next week, or even

by tomorrow. But emotions tend to focus our attention right here and now. We

don’t consider the potential long-term consequences that a temporary

emotional state can create.

Who hasn’t done or said something in the heat of the moment that’s

caused great remorse? Your anger, fear, resentment, or other negative

emotion will fade quickly enough. Your rash response may not.

2. Examine your emotions. Learn to notice when you’re getting emotional. When

you notice yourself reacting strongly, ask yourself why. Try to label the emotion.

Analyze why you’re feeling that particular emotion and then admit it to

yourself. This way, you can avoid rationalizing your behavior, which is a

nice way of saying “lie to yourself.” If you know the real reason you’re

feeling the way you do, you’re more able to do something about it.

3. Create space. Many of the challenges created by our emotions could be

eliminated if we could just take a moment before reacting. Getting upset isn’t

something that happens to us. It’s something we do to ourselves, and some of us are very good at it.

4. Find a role model or hire a coach. Would you take stock tips from a homeless man? Probably not! Learn emotional control from those that maintain their composure

regardless of the circumstances.

When you find such a person, ask them how they do it. The answers you

receive could make all the difference. Click here to schedule your complimentary consultation for coaching on this area.

5. Find a healthy way to release negative emotions. Our actions can influence

our moods. If you’re feeling bored while watching TV, there’s no reason to

continue watching TV. Immediately get up and go for a walk. Go to the library

and find an interesting book. Call a friend. Exercise is a great way to release


You don’t have to passively accept your mood. Go do something else and

change it!

6. Try altering your breathing. Many people assume that emotions are entirely

psychological, but there is a physical component. Realize that all emotions are

ultimately experienced as physical feelings in your body. You’ve just learned to

label certain body feelings with names like “anger” and “fear.”

The only part of your physiology that can be easily controlled is your

breathing. Take a look at how you’re breathing during a strong emotional

response and change it.

A few ideas you can try are holding your breath for 5 seconds, breathing

deeply and slowly for 30 seconds, breathe in slowly and breathe out even

more slowly. Think about your breathing and count your breaths. Focus

on the physical feeling of the air moving in and out of your body.

If you’re used to being controlled by your emotions, you know that it’s not easy to

maintain your composure. But you can choose to respond differently to your emotions

and make wiser choices. Negative emotions exist to inform us that something might

be amiss. They are not there to control us.

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