How I Control My Emotions so They Don’t Control Me
Whenever an argument arises between me and someone I care about, I tend to evoke the same reaction: I walk away and ‘think about it’ until I feel ready to resolve the issue.
I know — it’s a childish move and I should confront the problem when it happens, but I figured that maybe, just maybe…if I give myself enough time and space, these hot-blooded emotions stirring within me would cool down and my logic could take charge.
But as time has told, again and again, this approach wasn’t working for me.
Because whenever I isolate myself from the world in a dark room filled with hostile emotions, it does nothing but amplifies the tension, causing me to feel more agitated than calm. And what I’ve come to realize after stubbornly entrapping myself in such a gloomy environment is that the longer I sit around thinking about the problem, the more that problem becomes a problem.
It’s similar to how hunger lashes out at you.
If you ignore your body’s urge to eat for whatever reason, your stomach keeps gnawing at you and your mind keeps drawing your attention back to food. Until you’ve actually done something to address the origin of the problem (grabbing something to eat), your body will only send stronger and stronger signals (painful cramps in the stomach, anger), as a means of survival, urging you to do something about the problem, not to just sit there.
And so, after understanding a little better about how emotions work and how they exist to point us in the right direction (which can sometimes go off tangent when overwhelmed), I decided that the next time I storm into my room after an argument, I’d give my emotions a little taste of their own game.
Instead of bawling my eyes out and letting my emotions manipulate my mood, I’d scribble into my notebook everything I could think of that has once made me happy, calm or excited.
Grabbing a milk tea.
Watching Korean drama.
Listening to an old song I once loved.
Baking fresh chocolate chip cookies.
Walking in the park.
Then I’d do these things. If it made me feel a lot better, I’d circle it. If it didn’t, I’d cross it off.
In the end, I came up with this list.
It’s not a very big list right now and sometimes these don’t always work when I’m upset, but at least I know it is possible to steer your emotions in a healthier manner, so that you can come to your senses quicker and resolve whatever unsettled issues you have with a clear mind. And that by having this list, I have a good starting point towards controlling what used to control me.
Jake Darian Compton
When I read the headline for this piece, I immediately thought meditation. Because thats exactly the goal of meditation – to control your emotions so they do not control you. I was happy to see you wrote meditation on the list of things that make you happy. The practice of meditation and mindfulness can help you create an unbiased opinion of your situation so that you don’t have to have those arguments with those whom you care about. Meditation has common use in professional therapy as a way of feeling more comfortable in your own skin.
Most people list “meditation” as a good way to control emotions, because it really does help. I think most of the stress we create is actually from within ourselves, so the only way we can ease it down is to control how we think. 🙂
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