How To Positively Manage Your Emotions
Learning how to manage your emotions isn´t always easy…
Our emotions are a key part of who we are. They color our world, give meaning to our existence and help protect us from certain dangers.
Still, allowing our emotions to control our lives can lead to unhappiness, frustration and regret.
Lashing out in anger can destroy relationships while given in to unrestrained optimism can lead to situations where we find ourselves biting off far more than we can chew.
And while you may not have complete control over how you feel, you most certainly can control how you react to those feelings.
This is where increasing your awareness of emotions and their effects, and then focusing on your thoughts, can help you learn how to positively manage your emotional reactions.
Here are the 7 steps for doing just that:
Step 1: Take A Moment
This is that moment where you stop and think before you speak.
Especially helpful when emotions are running high, doing this prevents you from saying or doing something you may regret later.
As simple as this may sound, let me just warn you: it is much easier said than done.
Unexpected situations and stress have a way of catching us unawares.
This is why training yourself to do this is so very important. The more frequently you practice, the easier it becomes to create – what I like to call – the habit of thoughtful action in your life.
Step 2: Tap Into Tone
This is how you step in when as soon as you realize your emotions are beginning to get out of hand.
In a conversation, the person you are talking to often reacts in a similar way to the style of communication you choose to use with them. If you speak calmly and evenly, they will respond in kind. If you start yelling, chances are, they will, too.
Train yourself to recognize when your style of communication starts becoming more aggressive. That’s when you need to take a moment, gather yourself and tap into a calmer, more measured tone to continue the conversation.
Step 3: Shift Your Focus
Quite often the biggest problem we face when communicating with another is that we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.
Instead of focusing on what you’re going to say next, shift your focus to the other person and listen carefully–with the goal of understanding what it is they are actually trying to convey to you in that moment.
Do your best to understand where they are coming from and how what they are sharing with you makes them feel.
Now try to relate what you are hearing to a time in your life when you felt something similar. This is the basis for building rapport and showing empathy to others.
Step 4: Listen Closely
When you realize the person you are speaking with is highly emotional, the best thing you can do is stay silent and listen.
Because sharing your own thoughts won’t really help the situation – at least not in that moment.
Sometimes, the other person just needs to talk it through.
Step 5: Take Note
While you´re listening make a mental note of the most important points you are hearing.
This gives you a better understanding of their beliefs and their perspective – and the more you understand, the easier it will be to look for and find solutions when the time is right.
Step 6: Clarify Meaning
Deeply seated issues often lead to emotionally-charged conversations.
And when we let our emotions get the best of us, it is all too easy to give our own meaning to the situation. This is why the previous steps focus on listening to what the other person is actually saying and understanding where they are coming from – without inserting your own interpretation of the situation.
Step 7: Consider Long-Term Effects
This is something few people do, and yet it is crucial…
When you are feeling emotional about a situation or in an emotionally-charged discussion, disconnect yourself from what you are feeling in that moment and ask yourself:
How will this affect me and my life in…
Think about the effects your actions will have on your partner, your family, your conscience, and even your work.
If you find emotion clouding your judgment, taking a moment to consider the long-term effects can bring you the clarity you need to make sound decisions you can be proud of.
Gaining control over your emotions isn´t always an easy process – but it is a rewarding one. Put these steps into practice on a regular basis and you´ll see and feel a positive difference in your life. I promise.