We are all equipped with several basic and complex emotions, some of which prove difficult to control at times. I recall the birth of both my children and was overcome with so much emotion that I could not hold back tears of joy and happiness if I tried. On the contrary, I've also been so enraged that I could feel my heart beating out of my chest!. Learning to control your emotions is no small feat. According to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892678/ , the brain is not fully developed until a person's early 20's or later. This may result in more difficulty for those in this age range to control emotions, but that does not mean it cannot be done. Recently I listened to an audiobook, "Into the Magic Shop" where a successful man who seemingly had it all explains how as an adolescence he was taught one summer by a kind woman how to control his emotions in an environment with a sense of no control. He grew up in a violent home with many feelings of anxiety, despair and hopelessness. Yet with practice, he was able to overcome his distressed emotions and create a life he desired.
Emotions are vast with primary and secondary emotions. Some of the many emotions are:
anger, fury, outrage, wrath, irritability, hostility, resentment and violence, sadness: grief, sorrow, gloom, melancholy, despair, loneliness, depression, fear, anxiety, apprehension, nervousness, dread, fright, panic, joy, enjoyment, happiness, relief, bliss, delight, pride, thrill, ecstasy, interest, acceptance, friendliness, trust, kindness, affection, love, devotion, surprise, shock, astonishment, amazement, astound, wonder, disgust, contempt, disdain, scorn, aversion, distaste, revulsion, shame, guilt, embarrassment, chagrin, remorse, regret, and contrition.
For simplicity's sake, we will not break down each emotion as we have all experienced them at some point in our lives and are quite familiar with them. However, the point of this blog post is not to help you not feel your emotions, but to help you control them when necessary. We control our fate more than we realize and sometimes have a tendency to put ourselves in heightened emotional states not because we like feeling stressed out, but because it has been familiar our whole lives. Humans tend to gravitate towards familiarity even if it is bad for us emotionally and physically. For example, the person who keeps choosing abusive partners because they grew up in an abusive household and it is familiar. The person who uses recreational drugs because that is what surrounded them their whole life and it is familiar, even though they know it is not helping them in any way.
As individuals, we need to take control of our lives and our emotions, because emotions are essentially attached to everything we do or don't do in some capacity. First we must identify our habits, routines and choices identifying why we repeat destructive behaviors as well as why we do positive ones. This step is crucial as you cannot fix what you do not recognize. If you hang out in your pajama's all day writing blogs and then stress why your house isn't clean, then you must identify first the cause and how to better prioritize your time so you feel fulfilled in your day. If you notice your alcohol consumption has been slowly increasing with each passing day to where you are now having a nightly drink instead of 1-2 days a week, then you need to reevaluate and recognize why. Sure, there are genetic pulls in every direction in our lives from alcohol to periodontal disease to cancer, but genetics are not stronger than your mind and ability to overcome them. You can exercise and eat healthy, visit your dental hygienist more often or pass on the alcoholic beverage tonight.
Are you finding yourself frazzled and stretched too thin always battling with too little sleep? You know there are a multitude of tasks to be completed, but you can't quite remember what they all are.? Are you relying on drugs, pills or alcohol to calm down, get to sleep or wake up? You may be loosing control of your emotions and sense of self. Taking the time to meditate ideally each day, which will help you clear the zoo in your head and help things become clearer. You may be thinking you do not have time for this but I know you do as everything we do in life is priority dependent. Where do you spend most of your time? Whatever your answer is will show you where your priorities lie. Begin with 3 minutes, everyone can find 3 minutes in their day. Set your phone alarm for 3 minutes from now. Sit or lie down in silence. Focus on your breathing in and out. Do not try to solve all your days/life's problems during this time. The goal here is to think as little as possible. Your brain is always on, "Go" mode trying to solve problems, organize, etc.... to the point where you are overwhelmed. The goal here is to keep thinking as simple as possible. Every time a thought enters your mind, just push it out and focus on your breathing. Trust me, many thoughts will try and fill this space, but just keep pushing them out and focusing on your breaths in and out. Once the alarm goes off (Choose gentle sounds like ocean waves instead of something disruptive), then you get up and go on about your day. The improvements of this exercise will present themselves later in the day. You may find that something which previously upset you now doesn't. You may find you can prioritize your tasks instead of feeling scatterbrained. You may find if there is an aspect of your life you do not like, you now know how to change it.
Emotional control is no small feat, but the more you gain control over your emotions, the better you will feel. No one can truly control you except you. Your thoughts, feelings and beliefs are yours alone so it is best they all are aligned harmoniously for maximum happiness and fulfillment. There is no one else like you, so get control of you so you can share with the world how wonderful you are.
Disclaimer: No part of this article is aimed to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. I am not a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, etc.... but I am a human being with emotions and the desire to help others live their fullest lives.