How do you control your emotions: 4 Important Steps

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Learning how to control your emotions emerges as an essential skill in the complex structure of human experience. This mastery is captured in the concept of emotional intelligence (EI), a quality that allows people to pass through their emotions with grace and clarity. In this post, we go into the complex domain of EI, unravelling its components and providing invaluable solutions. This helps in revealing the transforming possibilities of refining your EI, from recognising emotions to managing them, from enhancing empathy to sustaining relationships.

The Science of Emotions: How Our Brains Handle Them


Emotions are like vibrant threads that weave through our lives, influencing how we feel and act. They are controlled by the limbic system, a particular portion of our brain that functions like the control centre for feelings. You may be wondering why some people seem to handle their emotions so well while others struggle.

Consider the limbic system to be a team of messengers. In certain people, these messengers communicate extremely efficiently with the prefrontal cortex, the thinking area of the brain. This chit-chat allows people to process their emotions and respond calmly. However, in other cases, these messengers may not communicate effectively, resulting in faster and stronger emotional reactions.

Tiny chemicals in our brains, which act similarly to messengers, are also at work. These substances can alter the intensity or mellowness of emotions. Sometimes, how we grew up and the experiences we’ve had might influence how we deal with emotions.

So, when it comes to emotional regulation, it’s similar to having strong team communication and the proper brain chemical balance. Understanding this enables us to improve our emotional skills, allowing us to weave those colourful strands into a beautiful tapestry of emotions and actions.

Types of emotional responses:

The way we respond to emotions develops over time, affected by the examples provided by our parents and the world around us. These learnt responses are the foundation of our emotional reactions. These responses are broadly classified into two types: impulsive reactions and functional responses.

These emotional responses, like a toolkit, include techniques for managing life’s twists and turns. Recognising them opens the door to emotional intelligence. Recognising how you instinctively react to events opens the door to more deliberate and balanced reactions. This self-awareness allows you to develop emotional intelligence and establish a balanced relationship with your emotions.

Examples of Impulsive reactions:

These are the reactions that you make when you are highly emotional and impulsive. Many times, you don’t feel like you are in control. These responses were born in you as a compensation for covering up the wound or unawareness of a better way to deal with problems. So whenever you face adversity, this response comes out as a defence mechanism. But on the contrary, it makes you feel even worse at the end. Some examples to understand this response:

  • Shutting down or withdrawing emotionally
  • Getting quiet so that you are not noticed
  • Being passively aggressive
  • Attacking others because of the shame you feel
  • Blaming
  • Sabotaging
  • Lying
  • Overcompensating or overworking
  • Feeling less than or greater than
  • Being caretaker or peacemaker
  • Attention seeking
  • Self doubt
  • Saying I’m sorry often
  • Getting into abusive relationships again and again
  • Clingy and whining
  • Avoiding conflict

These are some of the most common impulsive reactions. To learn more, check out this page.

Examples of Functional responses:

These are the responses you give when you feel more grounded and calm. These responses are made by a responsible adult. They are made in alignment with one’s true nature. They are made without breaching boundaries. They give you a sense of calm and resilience when life gets hard. These help you grow instead of getting stuck in the past. Some examples are

  • Feeling proud about yourself even when not acknowledged by others.
  • Able to make healthy and right choices in your day
  • Honouring friends who are truly supportive of you and encourage you.
  • Being able to motivate yourself to take right action everyday
  • Able to understand relationships that are reciprocal.
  • Being emotionally vulnerable to those you trust.
  • Practising self care
  • Respecting your decisions
  • Knowing that you make the best possible decision, even if not perfect.
  • Connecting with friends and family who make you feel whole
  • Rewarding yourself.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a secret language that assists us in navigating our emotions and relationships. Travis and Jean say in their book that Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is the ability to understand and control your emotions while also being able to understand the emotions of others around you. Let’s take a look at the components of this skill set and see how they might impact the way you deal with emotions.

 Components of Emotional Intelligence

  • Self-awareness: This is similar to having a mirror for how you feel. It entails understanding how you feel and why. When you understand your emotions, you can better control them.
  • Self-regulation: Consider yourself the captain of your ship. Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions rather than allowing them to steer you. It’s as though you have brakes on your reactions.
  • Social awareness: Consider social awareness to be tuning in to the feelings of others. When you understand how others feel, you can connect with them more effectively and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Relationship management: This is all about getting along with others. It’s like knowing just what to do in an emotional dance. When you manage your connections successfully, you create a good atmosphere around you.

 Emotional Intelligence’s Role in Emotion Management

 When it comes to dealing with emotions, EI is like a superhero. It empowers you to examine your emotions objectively and decide how to proceed. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you take control of your reactions. Also,it lets you be aware of how others around you feel and tweak your response according to that situation.

Have you wondered why some people succeed while others falter?

We might have seen in many instances that some people might be able to achieve the goals they set and succeed in meeting high expectations. But this might seem hugely impossible for some people who struggle to reach their goals. Travis and Jean believe that this difference is due to the individual level of EI. It has been found that people with better EI tend to be more successful than those with lower EI.

While academic intelligence is necessary for some activities, emotional intelligence often impacts how well academic information is applied in real-life settings. So it’s not a matter of one being better than the other, but of how they compliment each other for overall success

Increasing your EI is similar to building your emotional toolbox. It allows you to communicate more effectively, handle stress more effectively, and make more informed judgements. You’ll notice improved relationships at home and at work. You’ll also be more resilient in difficult situations, and rebound faster.

Consider EI your trusted guide through the emotional rollercoaster. By mastering it, you will not only become best friends with your emotions, but you will also become an expert at managing them and live a more balanced life.

Here are some books to read if you love to learn about EI

Steps to control your emotions:

Steps to control your emotions
  1. Recognising your emotions:

 Your journey to EI begins with self-awareness. Consider your emotions to be clues to your inner world. This is where self-awareness is useful. It’s like looking in the mirror and understanding why you feel the way you do and how it affects your actions.

Techniques for Identifying and Labelling Emotions

  • Journaling: Consider your journal to be a canvas for your feelings. Writing down how you feel and why can act as a mini-therapy session. You’ll notice patterns and triggers, making it easier to identify feelings next time.
  • Mindfulness Meditation: Consider the practise of mindfulness to be a mental pause button. You tune into your emotions without judgement when you practise mindfulness. This allows you to examine your feelings as they arise, which makes them less overwhelming.
  • Check-Ins on Emotions: It’s similar to having a conversation with yourself. Ask how you’re feeling and why whenever you are feeling emotional turmoil. It’s simple yet effective. This check-in helps you develop the habit of paying attention to your feelings.

Illustrating Successful Emotion Recognition Through Examples

Consider Sarah, who noticed that whenever she had a major presentation, her stomach felt like it was on a rollercoaster. She realised it was anxiety when she recognised it. She began utilising mindfulness practises to help her relax and give better presentations.

Questions to self-reflect on your emotions:

  • What scenarios cause you to experience intense emotions?
  • Do you have any bodily sensations when you’re emotional?
  • What impact do your emotions have on your decisions and interactions?

Remember that emotional recognition is more about growth than perfection. You’re like an emotion detective, uncovering the hidden gems of your feelings as you practise these tactics and ask yourself these questions repeatedly.

Managing your emotions

Consider your emotions to be wild horses. Self-regulation acts as a gentle guide, guiding them in the proper direction. It’s critical because it allows you to choose how you respond to emotions rather than allowing them to control you.

 Strategies for Effective Emotional Regulation

  • Inner healing: Our emotional outbursts could be due to unhealed inner wounds. And most of these wounds were implied on us since our childhood as we grew. Effective emotional management stems from healing these wounds. Inner child healing can lead to forgiveness and moving forward in your life. Check out this article to learn steps to heal your inner child.
  • Cognitive Reappraisal: Consider cognitive reappraisal to be emotional reframing. It’s like putting on a new set of glasses to see things in an entirely different way. Changing your fear of a challenge into excitement That is cognitive reappraisal at work.  Try making a list of emotions and the reasons against each one of them. This gives you perspective and helps you make better decisions.
  • Breathing Techniques and Relaxation Techniques: When you’re upset, have you ever tried taking deep breaths? It’s not simply a cliche. Deep breaths might help you think clearly and calm your racing heart. Techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation can also help relieve tension.
  • Expressive writing: Imagine your feelings as words on paper. Writing them down feels like releasing pressure from a valve. It provides a healthy outlet for your emotions and can help you better understand and manage them.
  • A few mindset shifts: You need to shift your mindset in a few ways to make it easier to regulate your emotions. These include developing a positive attitude towards life, being ready to accept change and avoid fearing it, remembering to focus on things that are under your control and let you grow, being mindful of overthinking and negative self-talk, and refocusing your mind when you catch yourself doing these.
  • Time to deal with your problems: It is very helpful if you set aside a little time every day to sort out your problems. This lets you remain focused on your work most of the time. Also, this prevents your issue from snowballing into a huge problem.
  • Sleep and self-care: Only with adequate sleep can you have a rational mind to sort out your emotions. Get the amount of sleep that you need to wake up fresh. Also, take care of your body by exercising, eating healthy, and practising self-care routines.

Real-Life Tales of Triumph Over Emotional Storms

Meet Alex, who used to get irritated at work. He realised it was affecting his relationships. When he became frustrated, he began taking deep breaths using self-regulation strategies. He learned to control his anger and witnessed a positive improvement in his relationships.

Now for some introspection:

When was the last time you took a deep breath to relax?

Can you think of a time when changing how you thought about something impacted your emotional response?

Remember that regulating emotions does not mean never feeling them; rather, it means channelling them effectively. These strategies function as tools in your emotional toolbox. As you apply them, you’ll find yourself more equipped to deal with life’s emotional ups and downs.

Cultivating empathy and social awareness:

Empathy is the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes and experience what they feel.┬á Empathy is an essential part of EI. It allows us to understand the feelings of others, resulting in stronger connections and more meaningful interactions.

If you like to journal with prompts, check out this page. There are more than 30 questions to journal about emotional reactions.

Techniques for Enhancing Empathy

  • Active listening: Think of active listening as giving someone your undivided attention. It is not only about hearing words but also about understanding the feelings underlying them. By paying close attention, you can identify subtle cues such as tone and body language, gaining insight into the speaker’s emotions.
  • Putting Oneself in the Shoes of Others: It’s like trying on many emotional costumes. It’s about placing yourself in the other person’s shoes and considering their emotions and opinions. It’s an effective method for developing empathy.
  • Live in the moment: Living in the moment means being fully aware of the here and now. If you are in a meeting, try to listen and watch instead of scribbling something in your notes. When you are alone, instead of scrolling through social media, look around you and watch what’s happening. This calms your fear of the future and your regret of the past.
  • Declutter your life: Declutter everything, both things and people, that doesn’t serve you well. This means keeping everything that drains you mentally and emotionally away.

Social awareness is analogous to having a radar for detecting the emotional atmosphere of a room. It is about comprehending not only your own emotions but also the emotions of those around you. When you have social awareness, you can manage conversations, conflicts, and collaborations with ease, fostering understanding and cooperation.

Relationship Management:

EI relies heavily on relationship management. It’s like being the conductor of an emotional orchestra, making sure all of your interactions are in sync. Understanding, engaging with, and positively influencing people are all part of it. Relationship management enables you to build powerful, long-lasting bonds with others.

Effective Communication for Building Strong Relationships

  • Nonviolent Communication: This means communicating in the language of empathy. It is about expressing your feelings and needs without blaming or accusing others. It promotes understanding and open communication.
  • Conversational Assertiveness and Empathy: Consider communication to be a bridge. Being assertive means taking a solid stance and expressing your opinions and feelings. Empathy, on the other hand, serves as a bridge of support through understanding the other person’s point of view. They form strong and balanced connections when they work together.

Conflict Resolution Strategies

  • Finding Common Ground: Conflict is like a missing puzzle piece. Finding common ground means identifying the things that connect both sides. It entails seeking common goals or interests and assisting in more constructive dispute resolution.
  • Managing Emotions During Conflicts: During disagreements, emotions can be like turbulent seas. Keeping these emotional waters calm is essential for effective dispute resolution. You can maintain a sensible and constructive attitude towards settling disputes by acknowledging and managing emotions.

Including these relationship management and conflict resolution abilities in your emotional toolbox not only improves your EI but also enhances your personal and professional connections. It gives you the ability to negotiate differences with grace and to form connections based on understanding and mutual respect.

Overcoming Common Challenges: Sustaining Emotional Well-being

 Dealing with Overwhelming Emotions

  • Emotional Agility’s Role: Think of emotional agility as your ability to bend, rather than break, in the face of overwhelming feelings. It’s all about adapting and remaining flexible while emotions are running high. This ability enables you to navigate turbulent emotional waters with grace.
  • Seeking Professional Assistance When Necessary: Just as you would contact a mechanic for a car problem, it is important to seek professional assistance for emotional difficulties. Therapists are like emotional mechanics, ready to help you get through difficult situations.
overcoming challenging emotions

Maintaining Emotional Well-being Over the Long Term 

Emotional well-being is similar to gardening. It needs regular care. Consistent practises such as self-reflection, mindfulness, and self-care are required to ensure emotional wellness. You need a lot of patience and practise to achieve your best in EI. Always remember that consistency is the key. Keep steering yourself back on course in this beautiful journey of mastering your emotions.

Addressing Setbacks and Relapses with Compassion

Consider setbacks as detours in your emotional journey. Rather than beating yourself up, approach them with kindness and compassion. Accept the lessons they provide and use them to move yourself forward in your emotional development.


Finally, a journey through the landscape of emotional intelligence shows a vital truth: our emotions are strong guides in our lives, not mere passengers. We unleash the potential for profound personal growth and fulfilling connections with others by building self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and relationship management. Emotional intelligence enables us to flourish in a variety of areas of life, from the boardroom to the classroom. We construct a route towards resilient, empathic, and harmonious living as we learn to utilise the wisdom of our emotions. 

EI: Emotional Intelligence

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