According to scientists, there are 27 emotions a human can feel. From happiness to anger, we have all faced these, sometimes too intensely. It’s okay to get overwhelmed and feel too much sometimes.
You must, however, know how to control your emotions so that you don’t have an outburst. This will help ensure that you don’t say or do anything that you regret later. So, how do you control your emotions?
Strategies for Controlling Your Emotions
Everyone faces intense emotions but to ensure that they don’t get the upper hand, you must learn how to control your emotions. Positively managing your emotions is also an art. Below are some easy ways you can try out the next time you feel overwhelmed.
Identify and Recognize Your Own Emotions
The first step to changing or managing your emotions is to understand what you are feeling. You can’t control your emotions if you don’t recognize them. So, the next time you feel any intense emotions, ask yourself what you are feeling exactly. Are you anxious? Nervous? Angry? Or sad?
Remember that sometimes anger and sadness can mask other emotions like nervousness, jealousy, etc. Pay close attention to what you’re feeling and try to pinpoint the reason behind it.
You should also keep in mind that you might feel multiple emotions at the same time, so keep a tab on them all. This will help you figure out the most recurring emotion and the most intense one. You can keep a mood journal to document all of them and their severity
Breathing Exercises to Calm Down
Breathing has a powerful effect on your body. It won’t take away your emotions, but it will help ground you. If you are worried about extreme reactions or outbursts, breathing exercises are worth a try! Just follow the below steps:
- Breathe in slowly: Breath in for 3 seconds
- Hold: Hold that breathe for another 3 seconds
- Exhale: Finally, exhale slowly for 3 seconds
This is the 3×3 breathing technique that has a calming effect, develops a better sense of reality and helps you be aware of your surroundings. It comes in handy when you have to manage your emotions at the workplace or other public areas
Mindfulness Practices to Become More Self-Aware
Mindfulness practices will make you more self-aware and help in controlling your emotions. There are several things you can take up depending on your time and ease.
- Journaling: Writing for just 15 minutes every day can have a drastic effect on your mental health and peace. It puts down all your thoughts and emotions on paper for you to see and look back upon. It acts as a tracker that can help you keep a tab on your journey forward
- Yoga and Meditation: Yoga and meditation can be calming and peaceful for many. Most overwhelming emotions come from anxiety about the future or something that happened in the past. Try to not think about anything and stay in the moment while meditating and doing yoga
- Reflecting and Me-time: Take out time every day to reflect on what you did and how you felt. Note any changes or drastic emotions you felt and the reasons behind them. Keep some time reserved for yourself, at least once a week. Do things that you enjoy and have fun with, without focusing on other tasks.
Cognitive Techniques to Reframe Negative Thoughts
“Reframing” is a cognitive technique to identify automatic negative thoughts and replace them with more balanced thoughts. It hopes to reduce the immediate reaction of blaming and aggressive or degrading emotions with more levelled ones.
- Start by noticing whenever you have any distortions. For example, if you’re going for an interview and your thoughts turn towards failure, which then spirals into failing in life. This is a distortion and should not be paid any heed
- Evaluate the evidence for your feeling this way. If there is not enough reason behind your thoughts and emotions, tell yourself that. Reiterate it multiple times. Don’t back out of anything just because of negative feelings, face the challenge and get past it.
- Start practicing self-compassion. Every time you have harsh thoughts and emotions, tell yourself something you like about yourself. Think of something good you did or something someone praised you for. Give yourself time and be kind to yourself. It’s okay to catch a break during such times.
Physical Exercise and the Benefits of Emotional Regulation
Physical exercise like yoga, daily workout routine, cycling, running, etc. can help regulate your emotions and health. Being fit can have a huge impact on your thoughts and mental stability. Exercise also ensures a proper routine and dedication. It improves time management, and quality of sleep and reduces stress. All these benefits have an indirect impact on your emotions and can help control them.
Coping with Intense Emotions
Strategies for Coping with Strong Emotions at the Moment
The fastest way to control your emotions is to take a deep breath. Stand back and analyze the circumstances. It will clear your mind and assess your surroundings. Once you have control over your emotions, you will do better at handling the situation.
Creating a Self-Care Plan to Prevent Emotional Overload
Have “me time” every week. Put away a few hours for self-care. It can include anything from sleeping to baking to reading. It just has to be calming and peaceful. These breaks provide time for the mind to settle down and look at the problem from a distance. It ensures fewer emotional overloads and provides a safe environment.
Seeking Professional Help When Needed
Sometimes feeling overwhelmed often or facing very intense emotions frequently might be signs of an underlying mental state or physical disease. If there is no improvement even after daily usage of these techniques, consult a professional. They can help you to understand yourself better and help you manage yourself.
You don’t need to turn off your emotions, just learn how to control them. There are many tried-and-tested effective methods for the same. Find something that works for you and stick with it. You can even try a mix of different strategies or shift between them over time.