Ruined a perfect date by throwing a tantrum and hurling abuses, because your guy glanced at the woman on the next table? Walked away from a misunderstanding with your friend, because you were too pissed to work it out? Gave up on your dreams and aims because you were dejected when a few of them didn’t materialize? Why is it so, that we let the way we feel, so overpower and overwhelm us, that instead of fighting against the feeling – only if it is hampering you in some way – we give in to it and allow it to control us totally? So much so, that when one tiny, losing part of your brain is screaming at you that it was just a casual glance, a silly misunderstanding, that your efforts were not enough/ sometimes shit happens, etc., the more dominant part of your brain is giving voice to all the hurtful, angry, and dejected thoughts that are crowding out the rational ones, by verbalizing them? What to do when this happens? How to gain control of your emotions before they dictate your thoughts and actions? Here are a few tips to help you out.
Ways to Gain Control of Your Emotions
Deep Breathing/ Meditation
As clichéd as it may sound, deep breathing helps. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but breathing out slowly and deeply is helpful in delaying and toning down the intensity of the instantaneous anger/ jealously or tears, that threaten to overwhelm us at times. This is a quick solution, and if breathing a couple of times doesn’t help, then breathe a couple of times more, till you feel that you are in control of the emotion and not likely to get overpowered by it. In the long run, meditation will help in calming you down if you are short tempered, and give you more stability if you are an emotional see-saw. That’s coming from experience.
Negativity inside your mind will reflect in your health, and if you tend to let it fester inside, it will gradually eat you up. It is up to us whether to treat emotions as blocks or lessons. The sooner we learn to take them as lessons, the sooner we will learn how to control and manage them.
Think, BEFORE Speaking
I know that is difficult, oh yes I do. I’ve myself felt like scarring people with my acerbic tongue when I’ve been angry or hurt. But luckily, I’ve always managed to hold back, because somehow, thankfully, I’ve realized that words once hurled at someone, can never be taken back, and no amount of sorry‘s or I didn’t mean it, it was just said in anger are going to take away the hurt that you’ve caused the other person. In fact, if this is a regular occurrence, then you are lucky indeed if the person is still around. What will be more effective is, if you gain control of your emotions.
So force yourself to stop, the moment you feel that jet of words traveling up from your gut to shoot right out of your mouth. Just clamp down on your mouth. Swallow all those words right back, or say them in your head over and over again, till the desire to spit it out at the other person reduces, and finally the fight/ anger/ hurt just drains out of you. Then think, do you want to say it just to hurt the other person, just because you want to vent, or does it really need to be said? And if after thinking calmly for a few minutes/ hours, if you still think it needs to be said, do it in a very non-accusatory way.
Provide an Outlet
When you keep bottling up your emotions, you are slow-poisoning yourself. Bad emotions are toxic for you, and good ones will make you float in the clouds, and neither is good if it is not in moderation. You are just like a balloon/ bucket. You can keep on accumulating the bad emotions till the point you are full, and once that happens, even the slightest trigger can bring forth a torrent of emotions that will engulf you with its sheer power and intensity. It’s a very helpless feeling, and if at any point during your outburst, you realize that you are giving much more than is merited by the reason, you are unable to stop yourself. It’s the body’s natural mechanism to empty all the garbage, so that there is place for better feelings. Much like the balloon would burst at some point if you kept blowing air in it, and the bucket would overflow if you kept adding water to it.
You must provide an outlet for all the nasty things that have piled up inside you, so that the next time you are angry, or experiencing some powerful emotion, you have place to store it, and think about it, and eventually throw it out. You have to empty the garbage can which is inside your body regularly, if you want to live an emotionally healthy life. Scream from the top of a building, scream into a bucket full of water, tear paper, go running, or play a sport, any physical activity that will channelize your energy effectively. Do something that will drain you in a good way, and help you gain control of your emotions, without hurting others.
Analyze the Consequences
If you are at a social event and get really agitated over something trivial, and feel like blowing your lid, think about the consequences of giving in to the urge. Be it your family or work, you have to maintain healthy and respectful relationships to be happy and content. Venting unnecessarily may put these relationships in jeopardy, causing you unnecessary stress. Letting too much guilt consume you for forgetting to do small things, or making silly mistakes, will eat you away slowly, and you will fade away till you are a shadow of your earlier vibrant self.
Spoiled relations in the work place will be the cause of undue stress and tension. And spoiled relations in your home will make you feel isolated and lonely, and like you have no one to turn to, or no shoulder to cry on. Neither of the above scenarios are good. You need your friends/ colleagues/ family, and it is not done if you hurt them wrongly.
As we all know, moderation is the key. Emotions are there to help us feel good about things, to keep a moral check on ourselves – for what would have been the state of affairs if no one had a conscience or guilt? – when we think we are doing wrong things, to help us understand and help others, etc. They should be filtered so that they work to our advantage, not so that we are slaves to them. And these tips are only to gain control of your emotions, when it is inappropriate to express them. Controlling emotions is very different from suppressing or repressing them. Controlling emotions is usually a good thing, unless overdone, while suppressing/ repressing emotions is never a good idea. Try dealing with negative emotions positively, and you will find yourself moving to a better level of emotional contentment. You won’t have to worry about blowing your lid at the slightest excuse, and your friends, colleagues and family will definitely want you around, more than ever.