How do you stay in control of your emotions, rather than letting your emotions control you?
Emotions are important, they can help you guide your life. If you know how to use them and if you use them correctly.
If not, they run your life for you, without you even knowing or having a real say in the matter. This is what we want to avoid. It is important to be in charge, and to get to know your emotions.
Emotions change your physiological state: your breathing, your posture and your thinking; it changes your body chemistry - in other words, it changes you!
Emotions dictate your day-today-life. As you react to your surrounding; through anchored cues, which pull an emotion to the forefront, and run the show for you.
Lets see what the dictionary says about it:
- A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling: the emotions of joy, sorrow, reverence, hate, and love.
- A state of mental agitation or disturbance: spoke unsteadily in a voice that betrayed his emotion.
- The part of the consciousness that involves feeling; sensibility:
How do you master your emotions then?
It has to start with learning to observe yourself - recognizing when you are in different emotional states, and how your body and thoughts are affected by it - posture, facial expression, breathing, focus, thoughts etc.
Secondly observe your thoughts, truly stay with them. Observing what you think, and how your thoughts affect you. This might be a tricky one; it's like being a second awareness in your head - "seeing" what you think.
Monitor your thoughts, and your emotional state with it. Get to know your feelings, and learn to recognize when you are under the control of a certain emotion.
If you want to break a negative emotion coming on, do something unexpected, like clap your hands, spin around, jump, slap yourself - anything - to break your mind starting to run it's normal program, with the undesired emotion.
Just going for a walk or a light run will help your body chemistry, and turn around a sour mood. Or doing two of the following : Change your posture to a good one, put a smile on your face(even if it's a fake one), focus your thoughts on the positive, control and slow your breathing - taking deep slow breaths through your nose.
To master your emotions practice to observe your thoughts - learn staying aware of what you think
- and how you think about it.
As this sets you in the direction of your emotion.
A smile, a good posture and calm breathing will also put your mind in the right direction.
The better you get on observing yourself the easier it gets to halt and turn negative emotions once they start. You will also find that you will also experience less "negative" emotions.
Just for the record.
I don't really think there are such a thing as "Good" or "Bad". As, "it's all good" - however there are emotions that benefit your life and there are emotions that just help to give nuance to "the life experience". It is important to feel all emotions, but equally important to be in charge of your emotions so that you are the one who act, and not the emotion.
I mean, is it you or your emotions who buy/eat/choose/do/want: "the new I-pod", "the red one", "just a small chocolate", "a coke", "a line of coke", "a cigarette", "the chips", "a newer version", "delivered pizza", "ohhh the shiny one" and "whatever else they are advertising nowadays" or "whatever else you use to numb your emotions"
Good reading on the subject are among many others:
Paul Ekman - Emotions Revealed
Daniel Goleman - Emotional Intelligence