I know as you read that title there may be a little voice in your head that says “yeah, that’s a nice idea, bout how do you even do that?”.. and you would be right. That is the million-dollar question and something that humans who are fully aware of their environment and want to stop allowing their emotions to take over the driving seat have been searching for.

But before we get into coping strategies and the how of managing emotions perhaps we should start with why.

Your brain (and mine) is wired to keep you alive. I appreciate this is not breaking news but it is something we forget and sometimes feel bad about despite us being able to change the fundamentals. Feelings, big or small, are important. They are important to you first and we would all hope to have a bunch of loving people around us who are also interested in our feelings too.

If we didn’t have emotions it would be really difficult for us to be able to gauge all sorts of things we need to figure out for ourselves. It would take away some of our superpower and give us an empty void where feelings used to be.

Numb is a feeling too , its not the same as an empty space. How would you know what or who you like without your feelings? How would you perceive danger? How could you enjoy excitement? Could you live without feeling love?

That’s right my friend, although there is a full spectrum of them and each of us gets a different dose and as children we aren’t (as standard) taught how to manage them we need them to enjoy a fully enriched human experience. Emotions should never be ignored.

So why does stepping out of them sometimes help? Well, we all know the emotions that can give us pause and perhaps not be the most fun to experience. Sometimes when we feel things we wish we didn’t and we would give up the joy and love to stop feeling sad and lonely for instance. However, this isn’t possible (thank goodness) and it shouldn’t be the way we manage the ever-changing experiences we journey through whilst having our emotional states play out.

When you are feeling a strong emotion it can consume you to act. “Knee Jerk” reaction is the term that comes to mind and it is one very vital and important thing “immediate”. When you allow yourself to act in an immediate moment from an emotion you have not chosen that behaviour. You have set your body to default or allowed it to rely on auto pilot. The problem with this is that what may have triggered that emotion in a modern-day world will likely not have been a true issue in real life. You may have stage fright, not a tiger about to eat you and your body doesn’t know the difference but you consciously do.

What can our emotions tell us?

Well when it comes to emotions we are lucky to be able to figure out the data that is being given to us often just from experiencing the situation. Deep sadness is an indicator of how much we cared about something. Anger is often a mask for fear. Happiness is a result of having what we need and everything being good. Love is an indicator of belonging and connection. They all have a vital part to play in our understanding.

If you choose to

1. regulate your emotions you give yourself the opportunity to choose reaction and to do so without thought. This is a powerful tool , especially if you find yourself in a situation that feels a little out of control.

2.Take stock of your emotions, you give yourself a wealth of important internal data that can support you in knowing yourself and therefore creating tailored environments that allow you to be open to the positive emotions without falling foul to the negative emotions.

Stepping out is a mastery act and very few can do this right off the bat but it is important to recognise that even giving yourself the information on this subject as you are now is a step toward having a better emotional regulation for yourself.

Consider a scenario : You have had an email that is full of errors, it is a subject you have communicated about previously and it has caused anger and frustration in you. You feel it, you understand it and you give yourself a moment to “step out” so that you can regulate this. You can tell from your immediate reaction that this email or subject is important to you and that although it is incredibly frustrating for you, it’s not healthy to allow your body to go into flight or fight mode and spill a ton of adrenaline into your veins over a simple email.

Without regulation perhaps your heart would soar, your palms would sweat? You might agonise over every single word your fingers are frantically typing a response that is basically civil war in outlook. Perhaps you may find yourself shedding a tear in frustration or even contemplating “why me?”. It could be hours until your psychological response and your emotional gauge are back to baseline. Even then at that moment when you get into bed and close your eyes perhaps you would then have a flash of it come back just to stop you from drifting off to sleep.

In that moment it takes a lot to be able recognise that you need to regulate. Breathing and taking stock are definitely the things we would immediately suggest. Here is a little personal four step process I am trying (with varied results) for you to consider. Most people I know who are masters at this however seem to all have their own personal version.

  1. Recognise the feeling and find the good in it. Why is this frustrating? Why am I annoyed? Often for me this trail leads back to, I have something that I care about, that is important to me and therefore I have something to be grateful for. This is annoying or frustrating because I care and thats actually a good thing.
  2. Recognise empathy. It is very unlikely the person on the other side is intending to spoil your day. Its more likely they are in a similar or perhaps a less fortunate situation to you. Empathy is everything. If you can recognise the other side of the coin it is monumental to your response and the slowing down of that response.
  3. Consider, now you know what you feel, why you feel it and consider the other side of the situation you get to take some time to consider how you want to respond. Think about how you want to show up in the world. This is the step where I often like to recommend perhaps walking away and putting some time and space between the situation , if you can of course.
  4. Release, respond (or don’t) and let it go. This is not just about saying to yourself internally “Ok, I am over it” sometimes it is about being able to release it from your body too. I like a Doja Cat track and dancing around my office like an idiot. Each to their own!

Whatever you choose to do, being conscious with your emotions can be very useful to your overall well being as well as the ripple effects of what energy you are showing up and putting out into the world.

Pro tip : It is also exceptional for efficiency. Nothing stops you in your tracks away from your work than feeling unable to cope due to big emotions. Give yourself the structured time to deal with them in a way that honours them and you and your thoughts about the situation and then get up and get on with building that life you are dreaming of!