Managing emotions is an important skill that is necessary if you want to develop psychological resilience. By their nature, emotions are overwhelming. When you are consumed by emotions, it feels as if you can’t act and think different from what your emotions dictate you. You may find yourself doing and saying things you will regret about later. By developing a greater self-awareness you can notice the emotion as it happens to you as if it was happening to another person. Noticing the emotion separates you from it, so you can evaluate it, challenge it and take steps to gain back your balance.
At the core of emotional management is the ability to recognize the emotions right from the beginning. To do this you must pay attention to the signs of the emotion that get expressed in your posture and body, like clenched fists or gritted teeth for example. Also emotions get reflected in your thoughts. It is common that certain thoughts come to you only when you are experiencing negative feelings, like thinking that things will never get better. When you are in your normal condition you don’t think this way, but once you are upset you get these negative thoughts. In such a case these thoughts are also signs of the negative emotions that start to overwhelm you. Observe what triggers these bad feelings. The triggers could be particular situations, people, places, objects, words or thoughts. Once you know the triggers, this could help you prepare yourself for facing them, so they don’t catch you off-guard.
Once you noticed that emotions are happening to you, you need to identify them by asking yourself questions like this: what am I feeling now? what does this mean? what do I want now? what conclusions I’ve made and are they accurate? Answers to these questions are the keys to managing emotions. Your body reactions reflect your psychological state, like if you were talking to someone and suddenly your face starts to get warm, you are probably embarrassed. If you feel butterflies in your stomach, you must be nervous. If you feel tense, your heart pounds, and you feel cold, you are probably frightened.
Managing emotions is recognizing them, understanding them, and then taking the steps to improve them. If you recognized that you are feeling sad, you can take steps to improve your mood, instead of acting in self-destructive ways. You give yourself space to calm down and look for a good solution with your goals in mind, rather than acting upon the impulse. By managing emotions you become more psychologically resilient, as well as you avoid many additional problems that negative feelings push you towards.