How To control Your Emotions Before They Control You Written on Sunday, March 1st, 2015 by @Paul Harrison
If you don’t know how to control your emotions,you run the risk of letting your emotions control you.
“Your ability to regulate those emotions, in turn, affects how you’re perceived by the people around you,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts. “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,” says Daniel Goleman, Ph.D, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “In the mind’s design, self-awareness is built into regulating our own emotions, as well as sensing what others feel.”
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.
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.
To learn how to control your emotions better, try this simple mindfulness exercise
Many of our readers already practice mindfulness and so are already seeing these emotional benefits, but if you are new meditation you might like to know how to start.
Thankfully, it’s easy to start practicing.
All you need to is 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 the step by step guide below.
You might like to use this meditation in your lunch break as it will calm your mind and control any emotions that have built up in the morning.
- Find a quiet spot where you can sit or stand comfortably with your eyes closed. (you might like to read my guide to creating a meditation space).
- 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. If you’d like to know more about this you can always read my guide to mindfulness meditation.
This exercise is extremely effective at relaxing your mind and allowing you to control your emotions. It will help to relieve stress and is of immense benefit to both your physical and mental health. You may also like to try this powerful meditation technique for emotional balance.
Thanks for reading.
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Paul M Harrison is a meditation teacher with more than ten years of experience. He also writes as a lifestyle journalist and author. The author of more than five books, you can find his works on his Amazon Author Page Contact him via Twitter or Facebook