What triggers you?
A curt, slightly condescending email or comment from your boss or a co-worker; a harmless but perhaps misconstrued text from your significant other or friend; a news story or social media post—all these triggers might ignite a spark of a negativity inside you.
You are in tune with your warning signs. Negative emotions or feelings slowly begin to emerge. You try to stifle them, but they continue to bubble up.
How do you cope with the negativity? How do you become the master of your emotions, instead of letting your emotions mastering you?
1. Master your past.
As they take shape and space in your mind and soul, these emotions may arouse other negative memories and feelings from your past when a similar experience impacted you. Now past situations have compounded with your fresh frustrations. You are ready to lash out in hurt, frustration, and anger even though you’ve tried your utmost to suppress them. How do you keep your cool yet still own and take responsibility for these feelings and work through them for a positive outcome?
2. Move past the blame game.
So many of us place the blame on another person or circumstance for our response to an emotionally-triggering incident. It’s easy to do because it’s a physical, visual target. Oftentimes, our personal histories and experiences influence our reactions. When we feel fear, insecurity, or are threatened we may feel powerless. Our emotional survival instincts kick in to protect us, causing us to lash out with great sadness, anger or hate, which we typically later regret.
3. Slow down to identify.
Like any problem you might encounter at work or in your personal life, you need to identify the root cause and problem. Breathe, take a walk and ask yourself, What are my true feelings right now?, Am I feeling frustrated, hurt, or angry or is this something else? Once you define and get clarity on your emotion, only then can you begin to move forward.
4. Appreciate your emotions for what they are.
Your emotions are your guide. Be grateful for them and the messages they give you because you and your emotions are on the same team. They’re your support system, they send you messages of your needs and desires that must be fulfilled. Listen and appreciate them rather than suppress them. They guide every decision we make along our life journey.
5. What’s driving your emotions?
Really digging to the root cause of your emotions will help you to become their master and prevent future flare-ups. When facing a negative situation or feeling of negativity ask yourself these questions:
- What else could these feelings mean?
- How do I want to feel?
- What am I willing to do to change the my role in my emotions?
- What changes can I make about it right now?
Only once you truly acknowledge, accept, and find the answers, will you obtain the confidence and control to successfully deal with those emotions. If you’ve had success handling an emotional situation in the past, you can do it again. Recall how you processed and reacted. What did you do on that occasion when you felt this way? Or if you’re after a certain emotion, such as joy and contentment, ask yourself what you can do to feel this way again. Follow that same course of action to continue to reap productive, positive results once more.
6. Take responsibility, be empowered.
Clearly the most successful time to handle adverse emotions is when you first begin to feel them. Be responsible, strengthen your willpower, empower yourself to change how you feel and react to your emotions. Stop looking outside of yourself. Look within, stop pointing at others and situations. Refuse to be a victim. Nip those angry weeds in the bud, pluck them before they take over the blossoming, fortuitous garden of your life. Taking responsibility puts your willpower in motion and empowers you to change.
7. Practice for lifelong change.
It takes practice to determine what actions you need to take to deal with stressful, challenging situations in the best possible way. We are human, we make mistakes. We expect perfection of ourselves all the time, but it’s a risky game that can never be won. Expecting perfection of ourselves is unrealistic and can spark fears of making mistakes.
Keep your focus on the big picture, creating and making positive growth and improvement along the way. Clarify what you want and refine your approach if you aren’t having quality outcomes. Find a mentor, learn from them on how they’ve dealt with past difficult situations, perhaps what has and what hasn’t worked for them. Learning will not only help you to better handle challenges today, but also in the future.
By mastering our emotions and reactive responses, we can intelligently control them. We can positively live our lives by taking full responsibility for ourselves, our feelings, and our actions. Change your focus, you can choose to feel any way you desire at the moment of your choosing. There is so much magic and satisfaction in learning how to master your emotions and brain. Once you find and mark your true heading, emotional mastery will be your guiding compass.
If this resonates with you, I would love to talk with you so you can begin to live a life where you change your reality or expectations for a fulfilled life.