Do you find yourself moving from one emotion to another, from highs to lows and back again? Do you find yourself feeling drained by these ups and downs? Do you make decisions based on an emotional storm and then regret it later? Has it become a habit to react in a certain negative way to smaller and smaller events? Does it feel like your emotions rule your life?
It is possible for us to loosen their grip on us. This isn’t to suppress or repress, it is to become aware of what’s going on inside of us, read the message and act appropriately. It is also to focus on and build up our core inner stability.
To master our emotions in the first instance requires us to become aware of our emotional reactions and name them. So, what are we calling an emotion? Emotions are passing reactions to people or events. There is a connection between the emotions we experience and the thoughts and beliefs that we have. Think about a nice event that happened recently or a piece of music you like or even a good joke, and notice how you feel. Now think about one that wasn’t so great and notice how you feel.
Then start investigating a bit deeper. Start noticing the types of events that cause an emotional reaction within you. Do you habitually react in the same way to similar events? Is this how you want to be? Do you want to carry on reacting like this every time something happens? How would you choose to be? Visualize yourself handling similar situations positively and easily.
Next, start asking yourself questions like… OK, let’s see if there is another way to see this? Might I be misinterpreting the situation? How does this look from their perspective? Is it really that bad? Am I blowing things out of proportion? You were doing your best weren’t you? In this way we begin to challenge our automatic reactions to events and offer ourselves alternative possibilities.
Sometimes our emotional reactions are more deeply rooted. They may be a message from within. It may be that there is something from the past that needs resolving so that we can let it go and move on. It maybe that there is something we need to learn for our own self-progress. This takes a step of courage and sometimes talking to a friend or a professional is helpful here.
It also helps to build up our inner stamina and stock of positive feelings at the same time. See yourself as you would like to be seen. Maybe introduce a daily mediation practice. Allow yourself moments to experience inner stillness and peace throughout the day. You can find some one minute meditations here.
At every moment be patient with yourself, as with any habit it takes time and commitment to change it. Also, believe in you, that you are the ‘master of your emotions’.