The ability to control and change your emotions has a profound influence on your level of success and happiness. When you feel great, everything seems much easier and things happen very naturally and almost effortlessly. You’re in the zone and life is great!
Being able to successfully control and change your emotions involves becoming responsible for your emotional state. This is not easy to do, but when you really understand what triggers your emotional state, you will be able to take charge of how you feel when life throws you a curve ball!
In this article, I’ll cover 9 specific ways to help you control and change your emotions right now. I know that if you apply these specific techniques and mind shift changes to your own life, things will start to change for you. Positive emotions such as joy, happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction, and love will become more apparent in your life and your overall mental state will improve dramatically.
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How most people think about emotions
This is how most people believe emotions work.
A situation happens and you either feel good or bad. For example, you get a great new job and you feel excited and can’t wait to start. You get praised for work you’ve done well, and that makes you feel good. It’s the run-up to your holiday and you’re excited. You get a kind gesture from your partner or friend and that makes you feel good too.
It works the other way as well. A difficult boss criticizes your work and you feel not good enough. You experience “post-holiday blues” after your holiday. You feel frustrated over a lack of money or anxious about an illness or pain in the body.
The problem with this way of thinking is that your emotional state depends on something or someone else. It is not within your control. It’s also a problem because how you act depends on how you feel. When you feel excited, inspired, happy and confident, you’re far more likely to perform better and do more. When you feel angry, depressed, sad or frustrated, you’re more likely to procrastinate or sabotage yourself or say something that you regret later.
So most people believe that their ability to act depends on how they feel. How they feel depends on outside situations or life events and these are not completely within your control. We can influence situations and life events, but we cannot completely control them. However, your perception and reaction to outside events
How emotions really work
This is how it really works! A situation or life event occurs and that creates a thought about it. This thought then generates some meaning about that situation. That meaning is dependent on
So our feelings and emotions come from our thoughts about situations or life events. However, most people don’t see it this way because it all happens so fast and is very very unconscious.
Here is an example of how this works. Two people from the same company get made redundant. The first person has the thought “I’ll never get another job” This might be backed up by the core belief that “I’m not good enough“, so this person feels sad, angry, resentful or frustrated. He might also have other thoughts such as “I’m bad at interviews”, or “I’m too old to find another job” that also back up the core belief of “I’m not good enough”. These also generate other negative feelings.
The second person after being made redundant has thoughts such as “I have great skills and experience”, or “I did a really good job there”, or “It’s time for a change anyway”, or “I can get a job with more money”. Behind all these thoughts is the core belief that “I am good enough” As a result, this person feels positive emotions such as confidence, acceptance, or even excitement. This will spur him into finding a new job or even starting his own business.
So it is the meaning that you give to the situation or life event that creates the thoughts, then emotions, rather than the actual event. Being made redundant has no meaning in itself. You unconsciously give it a meaning and that meaning is different for each person.
Another pitfall is that people only assign one meaning to a situation. There could be many different meanings or interpretations. Ask yourself “what else could this mean?” Remember that “the only meaning this has is the meaning you give it“
Now it’s time to learn how to break this automatic trigger between situations and emotions. As this is very unconscious and automatic, this may take some effort, time and persistence, but trust me, it will be worth the effort. Here are some wonderful ways to help you control and change your emotions.
It all starts with awareness. Remind yourself that you are in control of how you feel. Remind yourself that you generate the thought (the meaning) to a situation. The thought (and the belief behind it) generates an emotion. This emotion then spurs you into action (or inaction) and this leads to further thoughts and emotions that seem dependent on how the action goes.
As you’re awareness improves, you will start to catch yourself when situations happen that make you feel bad. You can interrupt the pattern by generating new thoughts and a new meaning to this situation. Then notice how your emotions change.
The earlier you catch yourself the better. Once the negative emotion becomes more intense, blood flows away from the prefrontal cortex (the logical, reasoning part of your brain) to the amygdala (the emotional brain). This is why it’s hard to think straight when you feel stressed or emotional.
If you don’t catch yourself in time, then wait until the emotions die down and then ask “how else could I look at this?”. “What positive thoughts and meanings could I give to this situation?”
This will help you take 100% responsibility for your emotions and this is essential for your emotional health.
2. Know when it is okay to feel bad
Major life events require some kind of adjustment or grieving process. These could include.
- Death of a loved one
- Relationship breakup
- Major health challenge or scare
Part of the grieving process involves taking the time to really express all the sadness and other emotions that you have experienced as a result of this major life event. You will almost certainly need the help of a good friend or perhaps a therapist to help you through this major life change.
Use this time as an opportunity to take stock of your life and perhaps make some changes. Sometimes, your best life-changing decisions can come at the darkest of times.
The goal of the grieving process is to gain acceptance. This takes time, so be gentle on yourself.
3. Release Negative Emotions
When it comes to dealing with emotions, many people suppress them or hold them inside. This can be bad for your body as it creates additional tension. Also, your unconscious mind cannot hold these emotions inside forever, so it will try and express them. This can explain why some people get upset at what seems like a trivial situation. It’s like the straw that broke the camels back.
The alternative is to express your emotions. This is good for you, but is not so good if you are expressing your emotions to your partner or a close friend regularly. At these times, the help of a good therapist can help you express and then release these emotions once and for all.
The third option (which most people don’t know about) is to release the emotions. My favorite method for releasing emotions is the Sedona Method. Hypnotherapy and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are great options as well.
4. The 7 Day Emotional Awareness Exercise
This is a great exercise to help you control and change your emotions. It involves becoming more aware of your emotions and the things that seem to trigger them. For the next 7 days, become extra aware of your negative emotions. Stop and notice how you are feeling. Become aware of the thoughts behind the emotion and write them down. Ask “what kind of thoughts am I thinking right now?”
The key here is not to stop the negative emotions. Instead, you begin to notice the thoughts and write them down. You won’t catch all of them, but you will catch enough of them to see the link between your feelings and the thoughts that are behind them.
5. Change the meaning by asking questions
The next way is to change the meaning of these thoughts by asking yourself questions like :
- What’s good about this?
- What else could this mean?
Asking the right questions forces your mind to find the good in the situation or event. Sometimes, it will take some perseverance to find the good, but it will always be there when you look for it and ask the right questions.
6. Change your focus
This is similar to changing the
7. Change your Physiology
Emotions are very associated with your body. If you’re feeling a negative emotion,
When you notice this, consciously do the opposite. Put your head up, smile, breathe deeply and move your shoulders back and notice how the feeling or emotion changes. If you want to feel confident, think about the physiology of a confident person. They will be smiling, their head will be up, they will be talking clearly, using gestures and looking relaxed.
When you change your physiology, your emotions will change and then your thoughts will change as well. By acting first, your thoughts then follow.
8. Change your Language
What you say to yourself and to other people has a large effect on how you feel.
Start by banishing the word “I can’t” and start speaking to others in positive ways as much as possible. When you say things like “I’m not good at interviews” or “I’m not very confident”, your unconscious mind hears that. It’s like a negative affirmation. Although you are saying this to someone else
9. Use Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations when used consistently will begin to change your emotional state, not just when you say them, but at other times as well. Here are two great affirmations to help you improve your emotional state right now!
- I can change how I feel right now
- I am in charge of how I feel.
So these are 9 great ways to control and change your emotions right now and develop more spontaneous and unconscious positive emotions over time. As I mentioned earlier, the thoughts behind situations that create negative emotions are often very unconscious and very fast. So it will take time to generate these new patterns and it is important to be consistent.
One of the best ways to consistently control and change your emotions is to have a morning ritual. This is one or more things that you do first thing in the morning to reprogram your mind for success. To help you create a powerful morning ritual that will help you change your emotions quickly, I highly recommend a program called Morning Ritual M
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