Do you often find yourself overwhelmed by negative emotions?
Do you react in the heat of the moment only to regret your words later?
Do you wonder how your friends or coworkers manage to stay calm amid conflict?
While some may come by it more naturally than others, learning to manage your emotions is a skill that can be practiced and developed over time. If you struggle to handle your emotions and maintain composure, try implementing these strategies:
1. Acknowledge that even the most challenging feelings will eventually pass.
Strong emotions often demand your full attention and may cause short-sightedness. While the anger toward your spouse will soon dissipate, the impact of words spoken in rage may not. Allowing your emotions to take over can damage relationships as well as reputation. Realizing that the anger, sorrow, or pain you are feeling today is only temporary can prevent you from reckless reactions that have lasting repercussions.
2. Be attentive and observe when your emotions become heightened.
When you feel a strong reaction rising, examine yourself. Observe yourself and analyze the root cause of that emotional response. Don’t find reasons to justify your perspective. Instead, consider the situation as a whole. Are you offended by constructive criticism because there is some truth to it? Are you losing your temper at the checkout counter because you are worried about your sick kid? Identifying the reason behind a strong emotion may help to diffuse the issue.
3. Take a beat.
Often complications arise in the middle of a disagreement due to words spoken in haste. Simply stepping back and holding your tongue for a moment may prevent further damage. Rather than automatically reacting, try thoughtfully responding. If needed, ask for some space to process before continuing a conversation.
4. Learn from a mentor or friend that handles emotions with grace.
Is there someone you admire that seems to stay steady even when others do not? Ask questions to find out just how this person keeps cool under fire. (S)he may have some insight and tools to offer.
5. Find positive outlets.
You do not have to accept a bad mood at face value. You have the power to both confront and release negative emotions. Consider what habits regularly bring you peace and what activities you can participate in to burn off excess energy. The next time you feel consumed by anger, sorrow, or fear, try taking a run, calling a friend, or checking out a book at the library.
6. Practice breathing methods.
Emotions are processed by your brain and experienced by your physical body as well. While in a heightened emotional state, try to take deep breaths in and out slowly, counting each one. Doing so may aid in relaxing your body as well as your mind.
Remember that negative feelings should not control your life. They are a barometer, signaling that something is going on internally that needs to be processed. Utilize the tools above to maintain composure and find a constructive response when facing challenging emotions.
Adopt these new habits to nurture your emotional well-being and cultivate healthier relationships today!