We often feel like we lost control when we react emotionally, but we have more control of our emotions than we think.
Emotions are helpful and very much needed but sometimes they can disable us from living a normal and productive life. All emotions are very helpful. Fear can tell us that there is danger around us for our well-being. Anger can tell us that something is not in line with our values. But if these “bad emotions” run the show, it can have a significant impact on the quality of our life.
What are the Consequences?
What are the consequences of how I feel? If you feel like your emotions are controlling you and preventing you from living a full life, ask yourself: “What are the consequences of how I feel?” If the consequences are not proactive or if they are not leading you towards resolving the issue, they can be marked as negative emotions.
Emotions are not good or bad based on what they are in their nature. Fear and love both can be good or bad emotions depending on the context. Fear is the emotion that you want to have when you are in danger, but it shouldn’t disable you from reacting. On the other side, love can be a negative emotion when it’s directed towards a wrong person or when it’s disabling you from living the life that you want to live.
You Have Control
Although it might feel differently, emotions don’t occur out of blue. Emotions are built up inside of us, processed, and unfold in different situations. When we are taking care of ourselves and our well-being continuously, we might catch here and there what’s happening inside of us and fix the issue before it escalates into an emotional outburst.
It’s important to stress that there is no general rule that works for everyone and any situation. However, when emotions get in the way of getting things done, you want to start thinking about changing in a way that will allow you to be an active participant in your own life.
Acceptance is the First Step
Without accepting how you feel, there is nothing that can be or needs to be changed, right? We need to accept how we feel instead of being upset because we are upset, angry with ourselves because we feel angry and someone did something that we feel furious about. This cycle can only magnify the feeling that we initially had and make things more difficult for us.
On the other side, we often tend to ignore how we feel and deny it in front of others or to ourselves.
Emotions Come in Stages
Strong emotions come in stages and they are short-lived. When you have an angry outburst, most likely you will feel better in the next 10 minutes or so. However, before one emotion overcomes your body and mind, it creeps in slowly and builds up over time.
Think about a job interview, you feel anxious the morning you wake up and it slowly builds within you right before the interview where it can overcome you which depends on how you handled the emotion from the morning you wake up until the interview. Here, it’s crucial to accept the emotion and work on it. If you try to ignore it by telling yourself that you shouldn’t be nervous, it will continue building up within you.
Regulate Your Emotions
There are many ways of dealing with emotions. One way is avoiding the situation that causes the emotional reaction. If you are going to lose control because you are arguing with your partner, leave the conversation. Another useful way of regulating emotions is a distraction. If you feel upset, go for a walk, do something, read a book or watch your favorite TV show. Anything is better than sitting down and ruminating how you feel and overanalyzing the situation that caused the stress.
However, even though we might avoid situations that cause stress or distract ourselves, we need to find a way to work on our feelings. Do you tend to feel upset if you make a mistake at work? If the answer is yes, you should put the situation in a different perspective. Rationalize how you feel. After all, you wouldn’t be as good as you are if you never made a mistake because you would not get anything done. Find the perspective that will help you grow not keep you down.