Emotions can be tricky, and they can dictate how we think and act. On the one hand, they’re vital to us as human beings. On the other, they can wreak havoc in our lives. The difference lies in how you manage them.

If we’re not careful, we may act on our emotions too quickly, which may lead us to making decisions that we come to regret.

Learn how to work with your emotions instead of letting them get the better of you!

  1. Do not react right away. If a situation has triggered strong negative emotions, try to remove yourself from the situation, either mentally or physically.
    • Walk away if possible, perhaps to find a quiet place to perform some deep breathing exercises while you collect your thoughts. You can then return to the situation, safe in the knowledge that these emotions are just short lived.
    • If you cannot walk away, breathe deeply while you consider an appropriate response. The extra oxygen will help relax your muscles, calm your mind, and clarify your thoughts.
    • Once you’ve calmed yourself, respond to the situation with a well-thought-out reply, rather than a knee-jerk reaction.
  1. Feel for guidance. Often those with faith are better able to control their emotions. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by emotion, close your eyes and seek a positive solution, asking the universe, your higher power, the Divine, or even your inner wisdom for the best way forward.
  1. Find an outlet for your emotions that is productive. Once you’ve managed to control your emotions, it’s important to find a productive way to release them. It’s never a good idea to bottle up your emotions, as eventually they’ll bubble over.
    • Consider these ideas:
      • Text, call or visit a friend or family member that you trust to talk about the situation and how you reacted. When you hear someone else’s opinion, you broaden your awareness and may be able to view the situation from a different perspective.
      • You could also consider keeping a journal in which to write down your feelings or emotions. Once you see the situation on screen, sometimes you’re able to see it more clearly. It may help you to release your emotions or spark ideas which help you to resolve the situation.
      • For some people, assertive forms of exercise help them deal with emotions, while others find that calmer methods such as yoga or meditation work best.
      • Try these methods and see what works best for you.
  1. See the larger picture. Whatever is happening to you is happening for a reason. Try to see past the current situation and understand what it means in the grand scheme of things. Even in your worst times, there is usually a reason why this is happening, which you often learn in time.
  1. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. When you experience negative emotions, you think negative thoughts, and vice versa. This can create a cycle of negativity that can be hard to break out of.

    • Whenever you experience an emotion that causes you to think negatively, replace these thoughts with positive thoughts. You could try to play out the ideal resolution to your current issue, or simply think about someone or something that makes you happy.
  1. Forgive the situation triggered you. What sets off an emotional reaction in you? Perhaps you feel anger when your friend does that thing you hate. Or perhaps you feel depressed thinking back at a decision you could have made differently.

    • Forgive whatever is causing the negative emotions. This will help you to become detached from these triggers and may stop these emotional reactions from boiling over in the future.