We've all been there; that moment when we calm down and realize that our emotions just completely took over our bodies and caused us to behave in a way that we now regret.
While this is natural and human, the frequency of this experience is completely contingent upon how we've learned to regulate our emotions on a regular basis.
The reality is that how we identify, accept and overcome emotions is entirely within our control. We don't need to become slaves to our feelings--riding the unpredictable waves of emotional highs and lows. Instead, we can reflect on some of the things that people with more emotional control don't do -- and try to stop doing these things ourselves.
Here are seven things that people with emotional control simply don't do:
1. They don't ignore their feelings
Too often, we might recognize that an emotion is creeping in--but choose to ignore it. People with emotional control don't ignore their feelings. Instead, they recognize that each emotion has a purpose and an origin. Rather than ignoring feelings, they move through the healthy process of awareness, acceptance and letting go.
2. They don't neglect how their feelings affect their bodies
Sometimes it is extremely evident how an emotion affects our bodies. When we are sad, maybe we cry. If we are happy, we smile. But, it's not always this straightforward. People with emotional control have mastered the art of picking up on even the subtler emotional affects on their bodies. They recognize that stress can result in a clenched jaw or unsettled stomach. They appreciate that sadness can decrease energy and increase lethargy. These are all cues from our bodies that our emotions are starting to take a toll; people with control over their emotions are paying attention.
3. They don't simply reject emotions without working through them
Those with emotional control not only identify their emotions and how they affect their bodies, but they learn how to process them. They choose to let them go rather than push them away--recognizing the key difference between these two options. They understand that an emotion can only be released after it has been processed. They know that rejecting emotions is a futile task because it allows them to return as something bigger and stronger later on.
4. They don't disregard the activating event to their feelings
The truth is, we don't just wake up one day feeling happy, sad, angry, hurt or excited. There is always an activating event to an emotion. People with emotional control have learned how to identify what event sparked their emotional response. This is a necessary step in moving from emotional neglect to emotional acceptance and eventually--authentically letting the emotion go.
5. They don't disregard the thoughts they were having before the emotion
Those with emotional control recognize that after an activating event--there is a thought. This thought is what cultivates the emotional response. They understand that events don't elicit emotions, but rather, our thoughts surrounding events are what spark our emotions. They see that most events in life are outside of our control--but the thoughts we have before, during, and after an event are entirely within our control. With this knowledge, people who have a stronger handle on their emotions are able to shift their thoughts about an event in order to replace negative emotions with emotions that better serve them.
6. They don't ignore the consequences of acting on emotional impulse
There are consequences to acting strictly on emotional highs and lows. People with control over their emotions bring awareness to the consequences of their actions and accept responsibility for these outcomes. Rather than trying to place the blame on the event or another person for the consequences their emotional impulse created, they acknowledge that it was their own behavior that caused the consequences. They use this as a reminder to create more space between the feeling and the action in the future-- thus decreasing the likelihood of acting solely on impulse again.
7. They don't continue repeating unhelpful emotional patterns
Emotions can be cyclical--and people with emotional control understand this. They see that activating events spark an internal thought and that internal thought directly impacts the emotion that follows. This emotion becomes the driving force to the follow-up behavior or action.
People with control over their emotions have learned, probably through trial and error, that whichever behavior follows their emotions ultimately influences the environment around them to respond appropriately. This just creates another event for them to respond to, which sparks another internal thought and follow-up emotion.
People with emotional control understand that if they can interrupt this cycle and take more control over their emotions by refocusing their thoughts, the entire pattern can be broken -- manifesting a healthier and happier way of living and dealing with their feelings.
Read more from Alissa Lastres on her website and sign up for her newsletter to receive a free issue of her wellness e-book series, "Open the Door to Your Authentic Self."