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How To Control Your Emotions: Your Reaction Means Everything

We all feel emotions. We will all feel the basic emotions of anger, sadness, happiness, and fear throughout our whole lives. As we get older and our emotions get more complex, we start to learn that emotions do not have to control us. We can instead learn how to control our feelings and reactions to the world around us.

Learning to control your emotions and reactions is hard, but it becomes essential for our emotional health and relationships as we get older.

When we learn to control our reactions and feelings, it is easier to face challenging situations and achieve more positive results. It can help with making rash decisions that can lead to more pain in the end.

This article will discuss what emotions are, why it is crucial to control them for mental health, and how.

In this article, I will be talking about emotional regulation and why it is crucial, and some tips on learning to control your emotions.


What Are Emotions?

As we experience life and get older, those events and experiences are stored in our memory. All those memories will have emotions attached to them.

Emotions can be tied to a place, a person, or even a smell. Emotions are how we remember things and decide what to do next. They can be good, bad, or a weird mixture of both. They can vary in intensity from a general feeling to a specific one you have only ever felt once.

The most basic emotions are happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. As we get older and our minds get more complex, so do our emotions. We can feel things like guilt, love, grief, pride, etc.

Emotions run deep within us. They are the reason we do everything in our lives.

They can be good. Feelings can motivate us to take action and make bigger and better goals. They can help us connect with others and strive to have better relationships.

But just as they can help us, they can also hurt us.

Emotions like fear can be why we don’t try to take on goals. Shame can be why we can’t figure out how to make friends. Pride can make us not want to work harder when we feel at the top already.

When emotions start to feel out of control, they can be harmful and may cause pain to your mental health.

Why Is Emotional Regulation Important?

There are a few reasons why it’s a great idea to learn to regulate emotion and strong feelings:

  • Negative thoughts affect our mental health conditions.
  • Uncontrolled emotions can lead to destructive behaviors.
  • Negative emotional outbursts damage our relationships with others and the world around us.

How Do I Know If I Have Poor Emotional Control?

There are a lot of signs that you have poor emotional control. It can be from how you feel yourself and what family and friends have said about you:

  • You feel overwhelmed most of the time
  • You feel like you can’t control your behavior
  • You have a hard time finding the good in anything, even if there is no obvious reason for it to be bad
  • You feel like you are in a bad mood most of the time
  • You are tired a lot due to outbursts of emotion
  • You can not sleep based on your mood
  • You feel you are constantly on edge
  • People assume you will react negatively to something before it happens
  • People say you don’t like to/can’t control your behavior
  • People say you are hot-tempered or quick to become angry
  • People say you are hard to please

How Can I Control My Negative Emotions?

The biggest step is admitting that you are not in control of your emotions. You need to really look into yourself and see that maybe some suppressed emotions need to be worked through.

There are many ways healthy ways to express and control your emotions.

Here are five ways to start learning how to control your emotions:

1. Breathing Exercises

When we are in the heat of the moment, we can start to breathe rapidly and trick our brains into thinking we are in danger. That puts our body into a fight or flight response. This can make us feel fear and like we are not in control of the situation.

Take a deep breath for 4 seconds, hold it in for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Do this three times before continuing. This is called the ‘4-7-8’ method.

It’s great to practice deep breaths before negative emotions happen, like in your room before bed or before going out. That way, in the heat of the moment, it is not new and is easier to remember to do.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a great skill to use with emotional regulation. Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment. Not thinking about the past, not thinking about what is going to come—just being in the now.

Grounding is one way to practice mindfulness. Instead of focusing on intense emotions, you look to your body and what you are physically feeling.

Start at your feet. What are your shoes made of? Are you wearing socks? What are their colors? And you work your way up.

It is easier to understand your negative feelings when you are not hyper-focusing on them.

3. Reflect On Your Emotions

Take time to reflect on your feelings.

When do the outbursts happen the most? Do we know why? Has the situation changed, but the emotion has not? How can I do better in the future?

When we reflect on our emotions, we learn a better understanding of them. We start to learn that we can have more positive reactions in our lives and that we are in more control than we realize.

Having a whole journal just for your feelings and the thoughts behind them is a great way to start.

4. Physical Activity

Physical Activity in your daily life is a great thing to add while learning to control your mood. When we exercise, we release hormones that have positive mood-boosting effects.

There have been studies conducted on the connection between exercise and better moods. The majority all say the same thing; when your body is happy, your mind follows.

There are so many different ways to exercise. Some are easy, like walking around the block, to a bit more extreme, like biking or hiking. It’s okay to start small and go bigger. The important part is to start.

5. Look For A Positive Support System

Look at the people you have around you. Do they want you to grow and thrive as a person? Are they nice to you? Do they genuinely care about you and your emotions?

It is much easier to control your feelings when you are around people who do not anger or sadden you. Emotion regulation is much easier around them. When you have a strong support system, you are less likely to experience negative and random outbursts.

A positive support system can come from so many different sources. It can be friends and family, religious groups, and even online.

My Final Thoughts

We will all have different emotional responses though out our lives. Whether it is a negative emotion or a positive one, we must gain control of our intense emotions and our reactions.

I hope you will continue learning and growing into a better version of yourself every day.

Remember to love yourself and others around you.

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