Master Your Emotions
Mastering your emotions may sound a little intimidating but it’s basically just the process of becoming aware of the nature of your feelings and emotions and learning to manage them so that you are not left to the mercy of moods, external circumstances, and random events … and this is a pretty big deal.
Our emotions are the most present, vital and sometimes painful force in our lives. They dictate our thoughts, intentions, and actions and are the glue that gives meaning to life and connects you to other people. When we are aware of and able to manage our emotions we think clearly, make better decisions, and effectively manage stress and life’s inevitable challenges.
On the other hand, when we allow ourselves to live at their mercy we can end up experiencing some pretty intense extremes – riding on a high one moment, only to be sent to bed hiding under the covers from life’s inevitable challenges the next.
Learning to understand your emotions requires getting serious about developing self-awareness, and the first step is to understand the difference between emotions and feelings.
Anyone can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not within everyone’s power and that is not easy. ~ Aristotle
Emotions vs. Feelings
The terms emotions and feelings are often used interchangeably but there is a distinct difference that is far more than just simple word play so it’s worth understanding.
- Emotions precede feelings, are physical, and instinctual. Because they are physical, they can be measured by blood flow, brain activity, facial expressions, and body language.
- Feelings are the next thing that happens after experiencing an emotion, are usually subconscious, and cannot be measured precisely.
Emotions play out in the theater of the body while feelings play out in the theater of the mind. ~Dr. Sarah McKay
Your emotions and feelings play a powerful role in how you experience and interact with the world because they are the driving force behind many behaviors, helpful and unhelpful.
By becoming aware of your emotions and the feelings they evoke you can choose to become intentional about creating the quality of your life by changing your thoughts and behaviors so that no matter what is going on around you, you can maintain your balance, sense of peace, and purpose.
Developing Emotional Awareness
There are of course many different emotions and these are just a few:
joyful, cheerful, content, proud, satisfied, excited, amused, elated, enthusiastic, optimistic, elated, delighted, calm, relaxed, relieved, hopeful, pleased, curious, confident, brave, comfortable, safe, happy, love, tender, compassionate, caring, trust, insecure, fearful, lonely, bored, annoyed, bitter, depressed, grumpy, restless, humiliated, sad, afraid, rejected, curious
Fortunately, emotional awareness is a skill, and while it does take time and consistent effort with patience and practice, it can be developed.
Emotional awareness helps you:
- Recognize what you like, what you don’t like, and what you need
- Understand and empathize with others
- Communicate clearly and effectively
- Make good decisions based on values and priorities
- Get motivated and take action to meet goals
- Build strong, healthy, and rewarding relationships
With emotional awareness, you know what you are feeling without having to think about it—and you’ll be able to use these emotional signals to understand what is really going on in a situation and act accordingly.
The first step in managing your emotions is to learn to recognize how you feel and noticing when your emotions get in the way. This takes practice, and I highly recommend you consider using a journal so that you can work through your feelings and come back to your notes periodically.
Once you can figure out how to identify and express your emotions, you will not only be able to get to the sources (underlying cause) of why you are having a particular reaction to something (or someone) you’ll be able to get your feelings under control faster and more efficiently.
Take a moment to think about how you feel. Below, are a few sentences that express various emotions:
- I am feeling frustrated.
- I get angry easily.
- I don’t like much about myself.
- I can’t stop worrying.
- I have made many mistakes.
- I worry about the future.
- I feel sad.
- I feel overwhelmed.
- I feel guilty when I do something for myself.
- I feel like I should be doing more.
- Sometimes I feel I’m on top of the world. Why can’t I feel like that all the time?
Once you recognize how you feel, you can take steps to help yourself cope with the emotions effectively. Talking about your feelings is an important first step to feeling better. But, many people have trouble talking about their feelings.
It’s important to remember that ups and downs are normal parts of life. The important thing is to catch yourself before your emotions become too intense or you end up making a decision you’ll regret later.
Learning to manage your emotions not only enhances your capacity for true happiness and joy it enables you to cultivate resilience against all forms of adversity. The bottom line is … either you are handling your emotions, or they are handling you
- What It Means to Own Your Emotions
- When You Need to Regain Emotional Balance
- 10 Life Lessons to Embrace Your Vulnerability
- Are You Ready to Become Stress Resistant?
- Why You Must Acknowledge Your Hurt Feelings
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