5 Steps To Control Your Emotions

Here Are Easy 5 Steps To Control Your Emotions

1. Recognize the physical signs of defensiveness. 

A defensive reaction puts you in a fight-or-flight mode: this means that your body will show physical signs and put you in a state of heightened tension. Try to learn to recognize these signs. That way, you'll be able to nip any defensiveness in the bud when it starts.

  • Ask yourself: is your heart speeding up? Do you feel tense, anxious, or angry? Is your mind racing to come up with counter-arguments? Have you stopped listening to others?
  • Look at your body language – what is it like? People who are feeling defensive often reflect that in their body language, crossing the arms, turning away, and closing off their body to others.
  • Do you feel a strong urge to interrupt? Rest assured that one of the biggest giveaways that you're being defensive is saying, “I am NOT being defensive!”

2. Take deep breaths. 

Your body is less able to take in information when it's in a heightened state of tension. To counteract the body's fight-or-flight reaction, try to bring your nervous system down by slow, measure breathing. Calm yourself before you do or say anything.
  • Inhale slowly to the count of five and exhale again to the count of five. Make sure to take a long, deep breath after your peers have stopped talking and you start.
  • Give yourself space to breathe when you talk, as well. Slow down if you are talking too fast and racing through points.

3. Don't interrupt. 

Interrupting to dispute someone's point or criticism is another big sign that you're being defensive. This is not helpful and makes you seem insecure and pigheaded. What's more, it's an indication that you still haven't gotten your emotions under control.
  • Try counting to ten every time you have the urge to butt in. After ten seconds, there's a good chance the conversation will have moved on and your rebuttal won't be relevant. Increase the count to twenty or even thirty if you are still tempted.
  • Catch yourself when you interrupt, as well. Stop speaking mid-sentence and apologize for your rudeness, in order to build up your discipline.

4. Ask to have the conversation later. 

If your emotions are too heightened to have a reasonable exchange, consider excusing yourself and asking to pick up the conversation later. You won't get much from a talk with co-workers or family members if you can't listen to what they have to say. This doesn't mean avoiding the conversation – it means postponing it.
  • Say something like, “I'm really sorry Cindy. We need to have this talk, but right now is not a good time for me. Can we do this later in the afternoon?”
  • Make sure to affirm the importance of the conversation while excusing yourself, i.e. “I know this is an important topic to you and I want to talk about it calmly. But right now I don't feel so calm. Can we try later?

5. Find ways to beat stress. 

When you're defensive, your body is under elevated levels of stress. To help yourself calm down, find ways to relax and release that tension. This will not only help you manage the extra stress but can also help you improve your wellbeing.
  • Relaxation techniques can help you slow your breathing as well as focus your attention. Try yoga, meditation, or tai chi, for example.
  • You can also try more active ways to relax. Working out through walking, running, sports, or other forms of exercise can have similar stress-reducing effects.