Emotions are a tricky matter. When we are emotionally unstable it can cause a lot of damage inside and out. Emotions are like waves in the ocean – constantly changing. High tides, low tides, calm waters, giant waves, and of course, the dreaded tsunamis.
Emotional instability can lead to saying things we don’t really mean and is the cause of many arguments and even breakups. Fortunately, there’s help! Controlling your emotions is a skill that takes practice, awareness and a lot of discipline and self control – but it can be done.
Here are some practices to get a hold of yourself…
1. Change your perspective. Perspective is everything. If you view something as an attack, chances are you’ll probably become defensive. Changing your perspective from thinking someone is trying to ‘attack’ you to someone wants to ‘connect’ with you can settle the emotional turmoil within. See the lesson in every experience and you will grow internally and emotionally. A helpful tip is to practice looking at the situation as an observer. Imagine you are the mediator in the confrontation. Look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. It’s a practice of that can help us in being ‘the bigger person.’
2. Know you’re in control. Your emotions do not have to be the master of your life. If you become aware of your thought patterns, you can gain control of your thoughts and intentionally calm the waters. Become aware, assess the problem, then make the proper action.
3. Stay grounded. By this I mean do not let anybody else’s perception sway you. The ‘sticks and stones’ saying is a good one, but typically not true. For example, if someone says, “wow, that’s a really bright shirt??, don’t immediately take it as an insult. It could mean a number of things. Maybe they are feeling dull, depressed and not as outgoing as you. Maybe they even really like the bright color and it stands out as beautiful to them. See what you want to see out of the scenario. It’s your life we’re talking about here.
4. Don’t suppress. Learn to listen to your emotions. Studies show that people who ignore their feelings end up unhappy and depressed. Furthermore, storing or bottling up strong emotions is more likely to end in an explosive outburst of emotions.
5. Be positive. Negativity can severely affect our mood and emotions. See the sunny side of life. If you’re feel truly thankful for everything and everyone in your life, you won’t be as likely to get caught up in trivial matters. Ask, ” will this matter to me in a month, or even a year’ (to put things into perspective). If not —don’t sweat it.
6. Breathe. When stressed — use the breathe. Try not to immediately react to any given situation. Stop, take a step back and breath. Ask yourself if it’s worth it to get worked up about this particular situation. See why this might be a trigger and chose to respond or react differently. Be mindful of your own thoughts, feelings and actions and investigate the deeper trigger and why it affects you in such a way. Remove the trigger and nobody can push your buttons.
7. Take care of you. Love and care for yourself every day. Know what your de-stressors are and use them often to take the edge off. Simple things like having a regular meditation practice, yoga, getting a massage or even deep belly laughter can combat stress. If you are taking care of your entire being, you’re less likely to let anything affect you in a negative way. Clear stress so there’s no emotional mess.
8. Get back up. We all lose it at times. We fly off the handle, get worked up and even scream and cry. It happens to the best of us and it’s okay! Apologize if needed and learn from it. Forgiveness is vital in our overall wellbeing. Most importantly — forgiving ourselves. Get back up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward in the direction of wholeness.