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It can be a difficult concept to realize, knowing that almost all situations and events that happen will happen out of our control. The truth is, there are many factors in the world that enable us to control and predict everything. Instead, we can only be aware of our ability to adjust our expectations and emotional responses.
Although doing so is a powerful achievement. This is something that can help you feel more at peace on a daily basis as well as less stress and less frustration.
Related: Why it’s important for leaders to show passion in the workplace
What is emotion control?
Academician and author Dr. Benedict Gendron explains that emotion control is actually a matter of our emotional response. He advises learning to stay calm during small problems and gradually gaining control. Eventually, we will create a delayed response, which gives us time to think about our situation and respond appropriately.
While this is true, it plays into a very believable notion that emotional control is used for negative or unpleasant emotions. However, as Vicky Botnik, a therapist in California, reminds us, any emotion, even pleasure, can intensify to a point that is out of control. Thus, we can see from both experts that emotion control can mean all emotions, good or bad.
What happens when our emotions are out of control?
Emotions make our lives exciting. In fact, many equate that strong feeling means you are taking life to the fullest. However, it is entirely possible to face life without losing control of your emotions, and you can be whatever you want.
When we allow our emotions to come together, it affects our professional and personal lives:
We are more likely to encounter conflicts in our relationship.
Increases the risk of substance abuse.
We lose sight of our purpose.
We may have problems communicating with others.
- The quality of our work can be reduced, which can lead to problems at work or at school.
Related: 5 mental exercises to strengthen your mental well-being
Gain control of your emotions
With a little practice, it will be easier to control your emotions. Try the following:
1. Control, not suppression
To begin with, aim to understand the difference between controlling your emotions as opposed to controlling them. Think of your emotions as dials, something up and down. You do not want to be frustrated if you cannot get the right pitch so invest in a good capo. Instead, you find a balance that works for you … FYI, actually imagining that you are closing a dial while feeling strong emotions can help you calm down. The reason why you don’t want to suppress your emotions is that it can contribute to other mental or physical problems including anxiety, depression, insomnia and substance abuse.
2. Identify feelings
In the moment before you respond, take a breath and take a step back to identify what you are feeling. If a coworker blows you up, for example, before you send an angry text or pick an argument, interrupt yourself. Ask yourself questions to investigate the problem, such as:
What am I feeling right now?
What is the cause of my feelings?
Is it possible that there is a different explanation?
What do I want to do about this feeling?
When you take a moment to understand your emotions and consider possible options, you are rearranging your thoughts. You are also creating new neural pathways that will help you maintain control over your emotions later on.
Related: An effective way to handle emotions at work
3. Start journaling
A mood journal can help you recognize and understand your emotions. Writing down your feelings, and the reactions it triggers, is also a great way to uncover potentially disturbing patterns.
Additionally, journaling can help you identify the types of situations you may need help with For example, some people have strong feelings about work, others feel they have lost control of their family. When you minimize your emotions, you see connections and better understand how to regain control.
4. Deep breathing
This is probably the oldest technique in the book, especially when it comes to emotion control. There is a lot of energy in breathing. You get ridiculously aroused, or crazy, breathing that helps you can’t talk.
The first couple breathing may be difficult or shallow. Imagine your diaphragm and push the air down over your chest. Having a hand on your stomach can help you to feel its rise and fall. To slow down your breathing, even more, count. You count as you breathe and you count as you exhale. Sometimes, you can find better than counting a spell. You can try to say something like “I’m calm” or “I’m in control”.
5. Meditate regularly
Meditation helps us with many mental and even some physical problems. It’s hard to master, but it’s because meditation is basically a misunderstanding. If you try to meditate but think you have failed because you are constantly thinking, you are not alone and you have not failed either.
It is not possible to completely free your mind from thoughts. In fact, a popular beginner’s exercise for meditation is similar to some of the techniques we have already discussed. Just label your feelings. Newcomers use this technique because it teaches you to acknowledge the thoughts that come to your mind, label it and “file it”, so to speak.
6. Let yourself be still expressive
There is a time and a place for everything, including your strong emotions. Sometimes we have to curl up in the position of the fetus and cry for a few minutes… just like many times we have to shout on the pillow (from good news or bad). As Dr. Gendron mentioned earlier, it is about controlling our reactions, not emotions.
When you give yourself time to respond in this way, when it is appropriate, you have found a healthy outlet. As you know, the goal here is not to completely shut down the emotions, you are just re-dialing them.
Related: You need to control 1 thing to be successful
Controlling your emotions helps you to play with the events of life. It leads to stronger, healthier relationships and progress in the workplace. With some time and effort, we can all adjust our sails, cruise accordingly and give the best results in every situation.
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