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5 Simple Hacks to Manage your Emotions

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

Author: Charvi Jain

As we know, it’s not the smartest people who are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life. You probably know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. Intellectual ability or your intelligence quotient (IQ) isn’t enough on its own to achieve success in life. Yes, your IQ can help you get into college, but it’s your EQ that will help you manage the stress and emotions when facing your final exams. IQ and EQ exist in tandem and are most effective when they build off one another.

Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at school and work, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.

Managing emotions is somewhat like driving a car. When you're driving you have to take charge of the car because you wish to reach the destination. If you don’t take control of the car you will end up into either going in the wrong direction or get into an accident!

Similarly, if you manage your emotions you will be able to direct your emotions in the desired directions and they won’t go haywire. You’ll be able to handle conflicts in a healthier way. It will increase your inner peace that is if you know how to manage your emotions you’ll know how to stay cool even when someone is pushing your buttons.

Most of our problems with productivity have very little to do with tools, techniques, or even ideas.

If you think about it, we have more access to good ideas and techniques for being productive than ever before. And yet, we seem to be struggling just as much as ever to get things done. That’s because in this fast paced tech world, on one taught us how to regulate those emotions. No one told us how significant they are in helping us be productive, and our very best.

The good news is it is possible to be better at managing your emotions. AND it doesn’t require you to do any complicated tasks, but just simple basic steps that go a long way in helping you regulate them.

1. Label Your Emotions

Before you can change how you feel, you need to acknowledge what you're experiencing right now. Are you nervous? Do you feel disappointed? Are you sad?

Keep in mind that anger sometimes masks emotions that feel vulnerable—like shame or embarrassment. So pay close attention to what's really going on inside of you.

Put a name your emotions. Keep in mind you might feel a whole bunch of emotions at once—like anxious, frustrated, and impatient.

Labeling how you feel can take a lot of the sting out of the emotion. It can also help you take careful note of how those feelings are likely to affect your decisions.

2. Validate your emotions

When you find yourself riding the wave of emotion, it’s important not to dismiss those feelings. Emotions can be a lot like unruly children in need of attention. Once we validate them, we allow them to be seen and have a voice.

Feeling our emotions is an important part of life; it’s what we do with them that can create problems.

For example, if I’m feeling bored, sad, or lonely, I tend to turn to food for comfort. This usually doesn’t end well. As I gain weight I then feel even worse because now my self-esteem suffers. Leaning into my emotions instead of numbing them with food has been a huge part of my process.

When we validate our emotions, we become more aware and accepting of them, and we begin to understand where they come from. It’s only in this place of awareness that we can see what power they may hold over us.

3. Be aware of what’s in your control

The state of mind depend on our situation. Know that the situation is outside. And your state of mind is within you. The situation does not create my state of mind but my state of mind influences my situation. This brings me to the game changer of words - Choice. It is our choice to think and feel and act and make the best of every situation. We have the choice to be fearful or mindful. Choice to meditate or frustrate. You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have stop letting them control you.

Stanford University psychologist James Gross (2001) proposed a 4-stage model to capture the sequence of events that occurs when our emotions are stimulated. In what he calls the “modal model,” a situation grabs our attention, which in turns leads us to appraise or think about the meaning of the situation. Our emotional responses result from the way we appraise our experiences.

Consider the emotional filter you're looking at the world through. Then, reframe your thoughts to develop a more realistic view.

4. Mindfulness

Have you ever wondered when anxiety happens - its when you worry about the future. And sadness/guilt/regret are all emotions that arise when you ruminate over something that has happened in the past. Both of these you have no control over. The past will not change, and the future will not change by our worries. This brings to talk about mindfulness. Mindfulness is just about being in the present. Dealing with the now. Rather than being occupied with the past or future.

So whenever you see yourself get consumed with emotions and thoughts relating to the future, just remind yourself to come to the present. Simply following your breath and feeling your feet can be great techniques to ground yourself.

Another technique, called the 54321 “game”:

5: Name 5 things you can see in the room with you.

4: Name 4 things you can feel (“chair on my back” or “feet on floor”)

3: Name 3 things you can hear right now (“fingers tapping on keyboard” or “tv”)

2: Name 2 things you can smell right now (or, 2 things you like the smell of)

1: Name 1 good thing about yourself .

5. Engage in Mood Boosters

When you're in a bad mood, you're likely to engage in activities that keep you in that state of mind. Isolating yourself, mindlessly scrolling through your phone, or complaining to people around you are just a few of the typical "go-to bad mood behaviours" you might indulge in.

But, those things will keep you stuck. You have to take positive action if you want to feel better.

Think of the things you do when you feel happy. Do those things when you're in a bad mood and you'll start to feel better.

Here are a few examples of mood boosters:

Call a friend to talk about something pleasant (not to continue complaining).

Go for a walk.

Meditate for a few minutes.

Listen to uplifting music.

If you struggle to manage your emotions despite trying these, fret not, we are here to support you. Call and book a session with any one of our therapists, so we can together work on these emotions and learn how to channelise them in healthier ways.

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