When You Need to Regain Emotional Balance

Written by on April 15, 2014 in Emotional Mastery

Emotional BalanceHave you ever said or done something you later regretted simply because, for a moment, you let yourself be ruled by your emotions? If you have, take heart because you are definitely not alone!

I’m not sure which is more challenging, that first realization and pang of regret over the loss of control, or trying to find a way to calm one’s nerves in order to regain emotional balance.

No matter how you look at them, emotions are as complex as they are powerful. Some people will spend a lifetime attempting to analyze and micro-manage every emotion and response and still never come up with satisfactory answers. Others claim we have no control over our emotions as they are simply a piece of the puzzle of who we are as humans.

There is no question that emotions are part of what makes life so rich and rewarding, but 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.

When you have harmony in the different areas of your life, with your mind, body, and spirit, you’re just so much stronger, especially in stressful situations. ~Frank Shamrock

The Characteristics of Emotional Balance

Before we go further let’s take a moment to consider the characteristics of “optimal” emotional balance.

  • A sense of contentment.
  • A passion for living and enjoying life to the fullest.
  • The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
  • A sense of meaning and purpose, in both activities and relationships.
  • The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change.
  • A healthy balance between work and play.
  • The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
  • A healthy level of self-confidence and self-respect.

These positive characteristics of mental and emotional health enable you to participate in life to the fullest extent possible through productive, meaningful activities and strong relationships.

But here’s where things get tricky, we humans are beautifully flawed and as such rarely manage to attain “optimal” emotional balance, at least not for long. So the question is, knowing that life has a way of testing us from time to time, what can you do to minimize the side effects and recover from these periodic slips?

What to Do When You Need to Regain Emotional Balance

Explore Triggers to Emotional Highs and Lows

That old saying about “an ounce of prevention” definitely applies here. If you catch yourself unexpectedly experiencing intense feelings about someone or something, rather than just writing it off as a ‘mood’ and trusting your emotions won’t continue to escalate, try thinking of your response as your inner self-thumping you on the head in an effort to tell you something needs your attention. Whatever it is, you’ll be able to avoid problems, identify and implement a solution to the root cause much faster if you make the effort to challenge those feelings to find out what’s behind them.

Find the Humor

Research has shown the benefits of laughter and the ability to maintain a sense of humor are enormous and include everything from boosting your immune system and reducing stress to hastening the healing process. If you contribute to the problem by taking yourself too seriously, it can be hard to find solutions or regain mental and emotional balance. No matter what the circumstance, if you can find something in it to laugh about it will help you to bounce back quicker and see yourself and any situation with a more positive attitude.

Treat negative emotions like negative people. Acknowledge their presence and make whatever changes are required to remove them from your life. ~ Author Unknown
Learn to Detach from the Behavior of Others

Sometimes life blesses us with people that have a knack for testing us in most unpleasant ways and when that happens, you basically have two choices. You can find a way for them to no longer be a part of your life, or you can learn to detach from their behavior. Detachment doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t care about them. It simply means that you understand and accept that caring does not mean assuming ownership of their issues and attitudes.

Recognize When You Need a Time Out

We don’t always have the luxury of an advance warning, so when you find yourself suddenly faced with intense negative emotions, such as anger, frustration, fear or anxiety, give yourself a “time out” by finding a quiet place to take a few deep breaths, calm the tension and regain perspective. Once you’ve calmed your emotions you can begin exploring your options. Are there specific steps you can take to resolve the situation? Will whatever it is that set off your emotional response really matter a week, month or year from now?

Nurture Yourself

One very effective way to quickly calm frayed emotions is to tap into a favorite mood booster. We are all touched by different experiences and conditions, but generally, things that will work best to shift your perspective are those that make you feel more relaxed and happy, such as treating yourself to a massage, curling up with a good book, spending some time in nature or exercising.

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.

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.


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  1. Karen Peltier

    This is a great article, Marquita! Many of the suggestions you offer I do as part of a holistic approach to regain emotional balance. I believe the mind, body, and spirit are intricately connected, so I may do a combination of things to uplift my spirits and get rid of negative energy, such as watch a funny movie, do some meditation, practice yoga, use aromatherapy, talk to a friend, eat a healthy meal, do an at-home DIY spa treatment, etc.
    Karen Peltier recently posted…How to Do a Detoxifying Dead Sea Mud Body Mask or Wrap at HomeMy Profile

  2. It takes a tremendous amount to get me to the point where I totally lose it and blow a gasket. When I reach that point with my kids, they stare at me, then turn and do what it was they were supposed to do. When Mom loses it, it’s serious.

    But when it happens, I am totally drained emotionally, and I’m not good for anything for hours afterward. The VERY best thing for me to do is get out in nature, by myself, till I’ve regained some balance. We live in the country, and I don’t have to go far from the house to feel that I’m “away from it all”. Even working in the garden helps, as long as I’m alone.

    That’s what happens when I’m pushed beyond my limit. It isn’t so easy on a daily basis to recognize the warning signs that things are starting to pile up. I appreciate your suggestions!

    Willena Flewelling recently posted…Charlie Chaplin – in the LimelightMy Profile

  3. Marty,

    All of your suggestions are right on. If it is at all possible to take a time out, that is the best strategy. Right in the middle of feeling really upset, taking a time out, walking away, getting involved in doing something different, moving, exercising, any activity, can ease the emotional angst and calm your repetitive thinking. Nurturing yourself can work also, but usually not right in the middle of an upset. Best time to take care of yourself is when you start to be triggered, when you notice you are about to get more upset. That is a great time to do something good just for you. And probably the most important piece here is to not take it personally when someone else is doing something that appears to be directed at you. It is always about the other person; you just happen to be there.


    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…Listen to Me … PleaseMy Profile

  4. Hi Marty. If I had a dollar for every time I said something I regretted … LOL I’ve always had a tendency to talk or act first and think about or regret later. Poor impulse control, I think they call it. However, you are so write about regaining that balance.

    I have a friend who is in her fifties who made a mistake when she was a teenager. She allowed that one mistake to rule her life. We have to apologize or try to fix the mistake, forgive ourselves and move on. There just is no other sensible way to live.

    Thanks for this post.
    Leslie Denning, The Home Biz CEO recently posted…The 11 Essentials Every Blog Post NeedsMy Profile

  5. Dave

    I have felt that wave of fuzziness wash over me as a situation escalates to the point where self-control is waning and and impulsive response is imminent. I guess it’s in recognizing these waves, in the moment, that allows us to keep ourselves in check and hold true to our authentic selves.

    To be quite honest, I have had somewhat steady control of my emotions, at least to the external world. I have had things that have frustrated me, annoyed me, angered me, and disappointed me. Yet, not very many people would know. I keep it buried inside. Not good.

    For when those waves of emotion come washing over me as alluded to in the first paragraph, all those buried emotions come bursting out into the open , unfettered for all to feel, for better or worse. Often, worse.

    I have found that as I have become more open to expressing my emotions more freely, within reason of course, I have actually lived my life instead of suppressing it. I allow myself to feel the highs and lows, but keep an internal alarm on alert when I feel those emotions go beyond an unhealthy threshold.

    Balance certainly is the key and you have provided such a wonderful list of thoughts and ideas to strike just the right balance. Thanks, as always, for sharing Marty. I sincerely appreciate it 😉
    Dave recently posted…Just keep swimmingMy Profile

  6. Hi Marquita,
    Super post. A lot more people need to read this and take some of your advice. I used to let anger and fear take over my life but finally realized it was not what I wanted or what my husband would have wanted for me.

    I think it takes much more energy to be angry and fearful than it does to have a positive attitude.

    Have a great evening. Monna
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted…Find an Affiliate To Get Your Sale – Affiliates Helping AffiliatesMy Profile

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