Emotions can be informative and powerful. Whether you are grieving for the loss of your loved ones, celebrating a recent promotion, welcoming a new family member, or feeling anxious about your upcoming interviews, emotions have their functions and are meant to help you process and respond to the situation you are in. How we respond to our emotions; however, can be tricky. When not handled properly, emotions can overtake us, make us illogical, feel out of control, and put us into the risk of making important decisions driven by the feelings at the heat of the moment.
I like how the Australian Government defines managing emotions:
“having the skills to deal with your emotions before they become overwhelming and stop you from taking positive action”
It is the ability to use your emotions for something positive instead of becoming the ups and downs of your emotions. Your emotions impact how you feel, think and act, and it affects your social, relational, professional and academic successes. Having the ability to be in control of your emotions, and use it for something positive is a key factor to your success in life.
Why do you need to manage your emotions?
It’s often said, “control your emotions so that they won’t control you.” When you are in control, you respond and take charge of the circumstances and move things forward in a positive direction for your spouse, children, career, and those around you.
Dealing with a sick, angry or needy child can stir up intense emotions, fatigue, or stress. If you are a working professional, you most likely also endure extra stress at work. Having the ability to manage your emotions not only promotes your own well-being but also turns you into a good role model for your children, showing them how you handle stress and tough times in life with composure and a cool mind.
The ability to manage emotions at work not only contributes to your job performance and career success, it also enhances your professional relationship with others. It helps you communicate better and more objectively and make sound decisions. It ultimately provides you with a healthier work environment, and better mental health, as well as projects your professionalism.
According to a 2019 study done by the American Psychological Association, students who understand and can manage their emotions earn higher grades. This ability also contributes to a higher possibility of their future career success.
9 ways to manage emotions
Managing emotions gives you the power of well-grounded, therefore, feeling and being in control of your progress, circumstances and surroundings. It takes practice to tune into and understand your emotions, but it will be so worth the effort and time in exchange for a healthier life, relationships and future successes.
1. Notice and acknowledge your emotions
It all starts with you! If you don’t pay attention to your emotions and feelings, you can’t do anything about it. Whether you feel sad, happy or angry, recognizing and acknowledging your emotion is the first step toward better control of them.
2. Take a few deep breaths and do your counting
This step is especially helpful if you are experiencing intense emotions. Taking deep breaths or counting from 1 to 30 (or 100 if needed) will relieve your body of stress, distract your attention from the issues or situations, and allow you the needed time to think calmly and clearly, and eventually to act instead of jumping into reactions that you may regret a few seconds later.
3. Apply the 54321 grounding techniques if necessary
The grounding techniques can be very helpful when you feel anxious, overwhelmed or panic.
5: Acknowledge 5 things you see around you; i.e. a pen, a painting, or a coffee mug
4: Acknowledge 4 things you can touch around you; i.e. your face, hair, or the ground
3: Acknowledge 3 things you hear; i.e. music, conversations, or any external sound
2: Acknowledge 2 things you can smell; i.e. flowers, soap, fragrance, or anything
1: Acknowledge 1 thing you can taste; i.e. gum, coffee or garlic
4. Walk away or disengage from the moment
For some of you, walking away from the person or situation gives the needed space to process your emotions. It is perfectly okay to walk away to regroup and re-engage again when you are emotionally ready.
5. Utilize tools
Finding a healthy outlet or two is a wonderful way to help acknowledge and manage your emotions. Here are some tools you could consider if you haven’t found your own yet:
- Audio recording your feelings
- Conversations with supportive friends
6. Assess and work through your emotions
Why do you feel the way you do? What triggers those particular emotions? Ignoring your emotion may make them go away temporarily, but they will always resurface again later. So, it is important to allow yourself to feel your emotions, assess them so that you can actually work through them.
7. Proceed to respond
Have you ever exploded with frustration with your spouse or kids? Or maybe you got into a heated discussion with your colleagues in a meeting because you were taken over by your emotions? When you learn to respond to your emotions, it will allow you to calm yourself down and then better communicate with others.
Apply one or some of the above tips when you feel getting caught up with your emotions. The old saying, “practice makes progress and perfect” sums it up here!
9. Seek help
If you continue to feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed and when it becomes unbearable, it’s advisable to seek professional help who you can open up to in a safe and professional setting. After all, suppressing your emotions never works in a long run, and they always come out one way or the other.
We’ve been taught a lot of things in life; walking, eating, singing, talking, but rarely are we taught about how to understand and manage our emotions. It is hard not to get emotional when you are in disagreement, dispute or distress; however, the ability to manage your emotions will enhance your wellbeing, better relationship with others and successes in life, and you will also feel more empowered and in control in life. It is worth your effort to polish the skills to better care for your emotions. When you face a situation or someone that might trigger you to say something you may regret, I hope you will remember this post and be encouraged to take a pause and apply some of the above tips.
About Faye Weng
Your Online Life and Career Coach
Faye Weng is an expert life and career coach who works with clients to take back control of their lives by rediscovering their passions, living/working with a clear purpose, and becoming people who can positively impact the communities around them. As your life and career coach, Faye will help you minimize noises and distractions, focus your effort and attention on the right things, execute a clear plan of action, and celebrate alongside of you when each milestone is reached. Click here to book a complimentary session.