If you don’t know how to control your emotions,you run the risk of letting your emotions control you.
How many times have you been let down by unnecessary inappropriate emotions? Most of us have faced those times when you laugh at the wrong moment for no reason. When I was fourteen I was at a friend’s mother’s funeral when i suddenly felt overcome with emotion. But instead of crying or doing something else that would be appropriate, I laughed out loud. Not a good day for me. And the old lady next to me glared at me in disgust.
“Your ability to regulate emotions affects how you’re perceived by the people around you,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, writing for Psychology Today. “Laughing during a meeting will lead to resentment. Reacting with rage to bad drivers will provoke the wrong kind of attention.”
The key to learning how to control your emotions is to develop self awareness. Once you are aware of the workings of your mind, you’re more able to change those inner workings.
“Our mind deploys self-awareness to keep everything we do on track. In the mind’s design, self-awareness is built into regulating our own emotions, as well as sensing what others feel.” says Daniel Goleman Ph.D in his superb book ,Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. Goleman is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science so he ought to know.
- Try using these 3 self awareness exercises. They’ll do you wonders.
If you want to control your emotions start by being more self aware
Thankfully there is a very easy way to improve your self awareness: simply name your emotions. That’s all. That one little cognitive function of ascribing a name to your emotions will significantly boost your self awareness levels.
Brain scans have shown that when we associate negative emotions with words we calm the emotional centre of the brain. This is cited as being one of the main reasons why meditation is of psychological benefit, because when we sit and focus our minds we become better able to observe our emotions and thus to name them. One of the best ways to do this is by practicing Vipassana meditation and naming your emotions when they come up.
Research by UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman showed that naming emotions caused the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex region—an area associated with thinking in words about emotional experiences— to become more active, while activity in the amygdala becomes calmer. So what does that mean? It means that when you name your emotions you learn to think about your emotions more rationally.
To learn how to control your emotions better, try this simple mindfulness exercise
Now, I know that you guys, my Zen-sational readers, already practice mindfulness meditation. So, you already have heightened awareness of your feelings and emotions. But of course some of you guys will be new readers. So you might like to know where to start. Thankfully, it’s easy to start practicing.
Simply find a twenty minute period in the day when you can relax by yourself (for this reason, you may wish to bookmark this page for later by pressing CTRL + D on your keyboard, so you can return to this exercise later).
Then, once you’ve got twenty minutes to spare, simply follow this step by step guide.
Practice this meditation and you will be more aware of your feelings and more in control of your emotions.
- Find a quiet spot where you can sit or stand comfortably with your eyes closed.
- Set a timer for twenty minutes. I’ve created a free online meditation timer to help you out.
- Adopt a position which is relaxing but in which you also feel ready or alert (for instance, you may kneel down or sit crossed legged).
- Focus on your breath. Simply allow your mind to settle on your breath coming and going in and out of your nose.
- You are now doing a basic meditation. Continue to focus on your breath and notice any thoughts or emotions that occur.
- When you feel an emotion, don not fight it or indulge in it but simply observe the emotion. Notice how it feels. Observe the pure energy that is emotion.
- Name the emotion.
- Let the emotion go and return to focusing on your breath.
This is a simple version of a mindfulness meditation.
This exercise is extremely effective at relaxing your mind and allowing you to control your emotions. It will help to relieve stress. You will find that it boosts both your mental and phycial well-being. You may also like to try this powerful meditation technique for emotional balance.
Thanks for reading.