Emotions are a normal and natural part of being human. Emotions are defined as reactions that human beings experience in response to events or situations. According to The American Psychological Association (APA), the type of emotion a person experiences is determined by the circumstance that triggers the emotion.
Emotions offer us the expression of a wide range of feelings. This includes happiness, joy, sadness, pain, and anger. There are many studies and theories involving emotions.
Theories of Emotions
The evolutionary theory of emotion by Charles Darwin suggests that emotions are adaptive to our environment and improve our chances of survival. For instance, the emotion of fear keeps us safe from predators and harm and the emotion of love promotes mating and reproduction.
The James-Lange theory suggests that our physical responses and not our environment are responsible for emotion. For instance, someone sneaks up on you and shouts. Your breathing and heart rate immediately increase. The act of your heart rate increase is what causes you to feel fear and not the act of the sneaking.
The most effective way to manage your emotions is the moment you first begin to experience them. In order to master your emotions and take control of your life, you need to follow the five steps outlined below.
1. Understand What You Are Actually Feeling
The first step in learning how to master your emotions is understanding what you are actually feeling. To take this step toward emotional mastery, some questions to ask yourself are below:
- What am I really feeling right now?
- Am I really feeling…?
- Is it something else?
Many times our surface-level emotions are reactive and just at the moment. These emotions do not provide a logical or fact-based overall insight into how you are truly feeling. Pondering how you truly feel is important so you’re not constantly just emotionally reacting.
2. Managing Your Physical Reaction
The second way to master your emotions is to control your physical reactions. This is a learned behavior that does not come naturally. You must teach yourself to take a step back from the situation. This will give you some space to not get caught up in the moment and allow you to breathe.
3. Learn What Your Emotions Are Telling You
The third step in learning how to master your emotions is to learn what your emotions are telling you. It’s easy to simply react at the moment, take time to learn how what, and why your emotions are telling you.
Dezryelle Arcieri, LMFT, a psychotherapist, yoga instructor, and meditation coach based in Seattle, suggests exploring your sensations, behaviors, and thoughts. Try out these steps below.
Step 1: Write down your physical sensations, such as tension, shaking, energy level, heart rate, and temperature. Pay special attention to your heart, head, and stomach.
Step 2: Write down the thoughts you’re having. For instance, maybe you’re thinking, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way,” or “This really hurts.” Include your current behaviors such as being quiet, wanting to be alone, or becoming consumed by your phone.
Step 3: Reflect on what triggered your emotions. Why are you feeling this way and what can I learn from this moment?
4. Become Self-Aware and Confident
The fourth step in learning how to master your emotions is to become self-aware and confident. Think back to a time when you felt this way before. You were able to move beyond it before and you can do so again.
5. Prepare for the Future
The fifth step in learning to master your emotions is preparing for the future. Role-play with yourself to come up with effective and healthy ways to manage your emotions for the next time you are triggered.
Mastering your emotions opens up the path to living your life to the fullest. “Mastering your emotions enables you to intentionally elevate or calm your own and others’ emotions to achieve the desired outcome.”( https://www.inc.com/lee-colan/ what-science-says-about-mastering-your-emotions.html)
It allows you to be more effective in your relationships with others and throughout your daily life. Mastering your emotions is a powerful skill that is needed for an authentic and fulfilling life.