6 Proven Steps to Master Your Emotions
Learning to master your emotions is central to any health and wellness plan!
Are you the master of your emotions, or are your emotions the master of you?
You’ve felt it before. Overwhelming anxiety at the thought of doing something new. Or anger feeling out of control because you or someone you love was unfairly treated. These things are normal. Everyone gets a little overwhelmed sometimes. This becomes a problem, though, when the negative emotions sweep in and gain control.
Alternatively, we don’t always do the right thing. We eat too much. We stay out too late. We make mistakes, break promises, and live a life that isn’t always in keeping with our goals. All of this leads to negative emotions: guilt, shame, even anger come creeping in to derail your attempts to get back on track. How can you handle these kinds of negative emotions without letting them ruin your day?
We start by looking at three unhelpful techniques you may have used to master your emotions. Then, I share a proven 6-step process you might want to try.
3 Unsuccessful Techniques for Mastering Emotions
Avoiding the Emotion
Don’t we love pretending we can make the emotions go away? We bury them, suppress them, explain them away, sometimes even turning to things like drugs or alcohol just to make them stop. The problem? Anytime you’re avoiding something because of negative emotions, you’re letting the emotion control you.
Pretending the Emotion is Not There
This coping mechanism is a little different. You fall into it by denying you ever felt the negative emotion in the first place. Here the problem is, the more you deny an emotion, the more it grows until it can’t be ignored any longer.
Becoming the Emotion
Sometimes the negative emotion is so powerful it becomes part of who you are. At some point, you might even start taking a certain amount of pride in it. You start saying, “Well, I’m just a mad person” or even bragging about how worse off you are than anyone else. Now you’ve become the emotion.
Thankfully, there’s a proven way master your emotions quickly and easily. You’ll find success in these six steps, proven to help people master their emotions.
6 Proven Steps to Master Your Emotions
#1 Figure it Out
What emotion are you feeling right now? In order to address your emotions, you have to know what you’re dealing with. Take a moment to reflect on how you feel. Don’t be afraid to dig deep. The emotion you think you’re feeling might be masking something else entirely.
Take stock of the feeling. There’s nothing wrong with having emotions, even negative ones. They all serve a purpose. Emotions are part of being human, and they all have something to teach you.
Of course, your emotions can’t teach you anything if you don’t start asking questions. Why do you have this emotion right now? Questions are great things because they interrupt the emotion itself, keeping it from taking over completely. Even better? They teach you something you might not know about yourself otherwise.
When was the last time you felt this emotion? Think about how you got through it before. This serves two purposes. First, you’re reminding yourself the feeling won’t last, so there’s no need to get lost in it. Second, you recognize that in controlling the emotion successfully at least once before, you can do so again.
#5 Look Forward
Don’t stop with the past and present, but also look to the future. You’re not just going to manage this emotion this time around, but each time it comes up. Need some help? Try visualizing yourself handling the emotion in a positive way.
#6 Get Moving
So where will you go from here? It’s time to turn your thoughts into actions. What did you visualize in the last step to help change things? It’s time to do it. After all, plans without action aren’t worth a whole lot.
By working through each of these six steps, you’ll find your emotions aren’t in the driver’s seat, you are. Revel in the feeling of knowing you’re in control, no matter what you feel!
In sum, learning the lessons of your emotions is perhaps the strongest technique of all. When you realize negative emotions are useful in your life and are there to teach you about yourself, doors start opening. You begin to see different possibilities. Feelings as educational tools have no power to control you at all, but conversely, have the power to change you in very positive ways. Like when you’re feeling angry about injustice, and you use this anger to create positive change in the world.