1. Remember the important thing.
In essence, don’t sweat the small stuff — or the things that won’t really affect your life in the long run. Not all of your tasks are equally important. Save some for later, delegate some to other people, and cross some off your to-do list altogether.
Think about the consequences of any situation that you find yourself in. Then talk to yourself about the worst case scenario and determine if it is really so bad. If you can set priorities, you can better maintain your sense of control.
2. Make a plan.
Plan ahead — not only for your day but also for things that could come up. What are a few things in your life that cause you to be emotional?
Think about what would happen if these were to occur today and have a plan in place to deal with them so you feel prepared.
For example, let’s say your company is in the middle of doing layoffs, and you are concerned that your job may be in jeopardy. Have a plan in place for how to handle your finances while you are out of work and looking for a new job for a few weeks.
Then you’ll be less likely to become overly emotional if you do get let go. Having a plan will help you not to panic like you might if you had no idea what to do.
3. Not be a stubborn.
While you may have a plan in place, remember that things can change at the last minute.
If this happens, take some time to regroup your thoughts and adjust accordingly.
The more flexible and easygoing you are, the more likely you are to deal with sudden changes without getting upset or overwhelmed.
4. Don’t catastrophize situations.
If you make one small mistake, do you tend to think you’re an awful person or terrible at your job?
For example, if you have a child, and you lose your temper with them one day and yell, do you think you’re a horrible parent?
Take time to think about all the things you do right compared to the one little mistake you just made. Practice thinking positively instead of catastrophizing .
Decide to use mistakes as a learning opportunity rather than a reason to put yourself down or view it as a failure.
5. Don’t try to take on too much at one time.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Life by a yard is hard, but life by an inch is a cinch”?
If you often wonder, “Why am I so emotional?” it might be because you take on too much at one time. Move slowly through whatever you are doing and focus on only one thing at a time.
If you try to to do much at once, you are likely to get overwhelmed and emotional. Only focus on the task at hand before moving on to the next thing.
6. Practice deep breathing.
Whenever you feel anxious, you tend to take quick, shallow breaths without really thinking about it.
This hyperventilation can lead to dizziness, light-headedness, and even panic. It may also compromise your ability to make sound decisions.
Instead, slowly breathe through your nose, hold it in for a few seconds, and blow it out through your mouth. Do this until you begin to feel calm.
7. Select your situations.
Avoid any circumstances that you know are likely to trigger unwanted emotions.
For example, if you know that you tend to get angry when you are in a rush, then make an effort not to leave tasks undone until the last minute.
Give yourself ten minutes of extra time to do what you have to do, and you will find yourself less bothered by unexpected hindrances that arise.
Similarly, if you sometimes run into a person who you find to be downright annoying, figure out a way to avoid seeing them.
8. Change your situation.
Maybe you are trying to avoid feeling let down either by yourself or by other people.
Perhaps you are always hoping to be invited out to dinner with certain friends, but they never seem to invite you along.
Modify the situation by asking them to come to dinner at your house, or go to dinner with existing friends who you can count on to always be good company. Be proactive.
9. Shift your focus.
Maybe you feel a bit inferior when you go to the gym and see people who seem to know what they are doing and are clearly getting great results from working out.
It might be difficult to look away from these people while you’re envying what they are accomplishing, but try to shift your focus to the people at the gym who are more on your level.
This will help you feel confident in your abilities. Take it a step further and only focus on what you’re doing so you can gain some of the strength you desire.
10. Alter your response.
If all else fails and your emotions come pouring out, the best thing to do is to take control of your response.
It may feel like your heart is beating out of your chest when you’re anxious or emotional. Take some deep breaths and close your eyes–focus only on your breathing–to help calm yourself down.
Gather your inner resources and at least force a smile–this has been shown to have a positive effect on your mood.
I always used to wonder, “Why am I so emotional?” but after taking control, I have been able to handle difficult situations with more grace.
It is ok to get emotional; it is a normal and healthy reaction to certain situations. But if your emotions often get out of control, or you find you stop yourself from expressing them at inappropriate times, it is time to learn how to manage them.
Allow yourself to have feelings, but try to put your emotions into perspective before reacting to a negative situation.
If you can do this, you will gain a new sense of self-awareness that can help you control your feelings and calm yourself down during tumultuous times.