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One thing most people should learn as they get older is how to control your emotions. But is it really that easy? Here’s what you should know.
Many people will tell you that you can’t control your emotions, that they control you. That’s just not true. Sure, you can’t exactly dictate how you feel, but you can learn how to control your emotions and stop them from steering you in an unwanted direction.
It’s not very easy. It takes a long time to figure this out, especially if you’re the type who has let your emotions take over for a very long time. Thankfully, it is possible. With enough work and effort, you can control your emotions and take over your own life.
There are extensive benefits of being able to control yourself
Your job, school, and even your relationships require that you don’t lose control. If you do, you can negatively impact all of those. One slip of the tongue dictated by your emotions could ruin your career and in turn, your life.
But it’s not just about preventing harmful things in your life. It’s about being able to push certain things behind you so you can enjoy what’s right in front of you. You should be able to live your life happily despite your emotions wanting otherwise. [Read: Scientific reasons you’re so emotional]
How to control your emotions and your life as a whole
It’s not too good to be true. You can really take back your life if you learn how to control your emotions and stop them from putting you in less than desirable situations.
If you’re someone who feels like you can never get a handle on how you feel or your emotions make a mess of situations you’d like to enjoy, this will help you learn how to control your emotions and finally live your life the way you want.
#1 Keep a journal. In order to control your emotions, you have to first figure out how to understand them. We feel things we just don’t get sometimes and it can often take a while to figure it out.
One of the best ways to do this is to write in a journal. You don’t have to be upset or angry in order to write, either. Just write every day. Seeing how you feel written out in words can give you a new perspective so you can understand it better. [Read: 13 proven strategies for instant happiness]
#2 Think before you speak or act. Something that messes us up the most is when we don’t spend the time to think before reacting to situations. Not only is this harmful to those around you, but it can make you lose control.
The next time you get upset or angry, take a few seconds to think about what you want to do about it. Oftentimes, after taking that time to think it over, you can control yourself much easier.
#3 Vent to friends and family. It’s okay to lose control of your emotions when you’re in a safe space. You are allowed to vent and talk about how you feel. Just make sure you do so with friends and family you trust. That way, you won’t risk hurting anyone and in turn, yourself.
#4 Take deep breaths. It’s all about giving yourself some time to process how you feel. The best way to do this is to take some deep breaths. Calm your mind and your body and you’ll be able to figure out what’s going on so you can act accordingly and appropriately. [Read: 7 instant hacks for calming yourself down]
#5 Look at the situation from a distance. Pretend you’re a stranger to you and how you’re feeling. Look at the situation as if you’re not actually involved and ask yourself if how you’re feeling and how you want to react is reasonable.
Most of the time, it’s not. That helps you control yourself and avoid doing or saying something you’ll later regret.
#6 Gain some perspective. We often overact in certain situations and make certain things a lot bigger of a deal than they should be. And most often, that’s because we lack perspective.
We think everything is a big deal but in the grand scheme of things, is it really? Put yourself in someone else’s shoes, someone who has it worse off. Then ask yourself if you’d react the same way. Usually, that’s enough to help you regain some control of your emotions.
#7 Remove yourself from the situation. If you know you can’t control yourself and you feel like you’re about to go off, get out of there. Go somewhere else and give yourself time to cool down. When you’re not in the middle of the things that set you off, it’s much easier to figure out how to control your emotions. [Read: 15 ways to put the crazy away and avoid a meltdown]
#8 Close your eyes and count to 5. All you really need is time. You need a few seconds to remain inactive while you chill out. If you’re not someone who can do this on your own, then close your eyes and count to 5 or even 10.
This can help distract you from how you feel and it gives you time to process your emotions. After those 5 seconds, think about how you want to react.
#9 Think positively. Much of what makes us lose control is negativity. We feel something strong and negative and it pushes us over the edge. When something happens to make you feel upset, focus on the positive.
Think about all the ways it’s actually a good thing and even if there are any benefits. This can be hard to get good at right away but after a while, you’ll do it out of habit and you’ll have full control over your emotions.
#10 Practice every single day. Think of your self-control like a muscle. The more you work it, the easier it’ll be to use and the better you’ll be at it. That’s exactly what it’s like with controlling your emotions.
You have to practice every day or every time you get the chance. You may not have to focus on controlling yourself all the time but whenever you do, make sure to follow these steps. [Read: 19 signs of emotional damage and ways to get past them]
#11 Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Give yourself a break. Everyone loses control sometimes and yes, it’s hard to deal with. But people can relate. They understand and if you push yourself too hard, you’ll break. So take it easy on yourself when you do slip up.
#12 Allow yourself to feel those emotions later. You don’t have to shove all those emotions down and forget about them. That’s actually what may lead to you losing control at some point.
Feel those things, but do so later and in a safe space. Process those emotions so you can start the next day with a clean slate. Letting it all build up will only do harm to you.[Read: 14 ways to stop yourself from crying and control your emotions]
The key to learning how to control your emotions isn’t to shut them off, it’s to let yourself feel but in the confines of your own home and space. Control your actions and your emotions will follow.