5 Ways to Get a Handle on Your Emotions

Medically reviewed in January 2021

Ever feel like you're on an emotional roller coaster? Life can bring on a variety of emotions, both positive and negative, that range in intensity from mild to severe. If you don't have a handle on them, they have a way of getting a handle on you. Try these 5 strategies to keep your emotions in check.

  1. Let it out
    Emotions like to linger. Sometimes you have to kick them out. Bottled-up feelings of sadness or anger can sap your energy and interfere with your relationships and other areas of your personal and professional life. So let people know when something's bothering you. If you're having trouble verbalizing, try purging yourself of intense emotions by pouring them out in a journal. 
  2. Count to ten
    Emotions are powerful. And they can surface at any time: at work, at the grocery store, out with friends, at the dinner table. When you find yourself in emotionally charged situations, step away and count to 10 before you say or do anything. This will give you a chance to calm down, assess the situation, and consider the possible positive and negative consequences of your reactions and comments.
  3. Say when
    Emotions love overachievers. If you have a tendency to take on too much, watch out! Resist the temptation to be Wonder Woman or Superman by handling everything on your own. Ask for a helping hand. Break large projects into smaller portions and delegate, even if they are just small tasks. And do it BEFORE you get overwhelmed. Learning how to recognize and express your limits is vital to avoiding meltdowns.
  4. Talk to yourself
    Emotions are sneaky. One minute you're fine, the next you feel yourself sliding downhill. Worry creeps in. Something, or maybe several things, didn't go as well as you'd hoped, and you're headed down a dark path. Before you get too far into the darkness, talk it out with yourself. Ask yourself what you can learn from the situation and how you can plan more effectively for similar challenges in the future.
  5. Fuel up
    Emotions don't play fair. They attack when you're most vulnerable: when your schedule is packed with events, chores, and responsibilities. Make sure you first take care of basic needs like food, water, sleep, and exercise. You'll find it much easier to stay calm, cool, and collected when you're exercising regularly, eating healthy meals, and getting enough sleep.

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