Four Effective Emotional Control Techniques

Being in charge of yourself isn't always easy. Applying a series of emotional control techniques isn't easy. Continue reading to learn how to put them into practice!
Four Effective Emotional Control Techniques
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Some effective emotional control techniques can greatly change your life. Making better decisions, improving our relationships with others, having more resources to face daily adversities, understanding why you feel the way you do… In fact, this decisive aspect, which many often neglect, can be good for you in many areas of your life.

Daniel Goleman was dead on when he said that it doesn’t matter how intelligent a person might be if they aren’t aware of their emotional universe. This is because anyone who can’t control their anger, lacks empathy, and can’t express themselves skillfully and assertively will seldom get far. Still, there are many people who move through society lacking it.

Nevertheless, you need to understand that it’s always a good time to change. Most people have enough resources, potential, and capabilities to awaken this ability. Being the captain of your emotions won’t guarantee your success nor your absolute, permanent happiness. What it will offer you is a better quality of life, control over yourself, and a much greater understanding of the people around you.

“What we feel is a choice.”

-Piyush Shrivastav-

A brain with a heart.

The most effective emotional control techniques

A common mistake people make in the area of emotions is to repress them rather than regulate them. This is basically due to poor education in this area of life. People become used to phrases such as “You’re weak if you cry”, “Get over your anger”, or “Worrying is silly, cheer up” and, thus, neglect their emotional needs.

Almost without realizing it, humans have been inoculated with the idea that you must hide whatever hurts. Sadness, anger, disappointment, frustration. You must swallow these emotions. However, whatever you hide stagnates and contaminates, which leads to the anxieties, depression, and hidden suffering that afflict a good part of the population.

Understanding, mastering, and applying effective techniques of emotional control will be of great help to you. Continue reading!

1. Emotional technique for halting thoughts

The thought-stopping technique aims to control the cycle of ruminant and negative thinking introduced by psychiatrist Joseph Wolpe in the 1950s. The goal was to offer patients a strategy for dealing with obsessive and phobic thoughts.

This resource has a simple cognitive line and allows you to achieve adequate self-control of the weary flow of ideas that increases discomfort, stress, and anxiety.

How to apply this technique

  • Take a deep breath and relax when you become aware of the presence of negative and obsessive thoughts. Now visualize yourself making a stop sign to stop such thoughts.
  • To do so, capture any ideas that come to your mind and don’t repress them. Understand the emotion behind the thought and then let it go as if it were a leaf blown by the wind.
  • Finally, replace it with a positive thought. You can use any phrase that reaffirms your self-esteem.

2. Emotional volume control technique

Another effective technique for emotional control is volume control. To understand this, think, for example, of the last time you got angry or experienced anguish due to a bad experience. Many sensations and loud thoughts that make you angry and emotions that become entangled with each other intermingle when these things go on in your mind.

Your inner world is quite loud and can keep you from hearing what you need to hear.

How to apply this technique

You must stop when you go through a time when you get caught in your emotions and feel on edge. Thus, you must take a few hours to rest and connect with yourself in a calm manner.

  • Imagine the mind is a badly tuned radio. You hear so many channels at once but can’t understand the message.
  • The volume is too high and the sadness screams and mixes with rage. You’re going to reduce that intensity a little but do so carefully, as you don’t want to turn off those voices. In fact, you must try to listen clearly to what they’re actually telling you.
  • Now that you’ve reduced the volume, it’s time to identify each voice (each emotion) and understand it (“I’m sad because…” “I’m angry because…”).

3. Logical emotional reasoning

Some say there’s a logic to emotions and emotional logic. However, what often happens is that people allow themselves to be kidnapped by their emotional universe. Thus, they stop taking action and thinking and deciding rationally.

Something like this leads to poor decisions and to argue about everything and nothing. Also, it leads to regret.

How to apply this technique

  • Analyze the thoughts that come to your mind, such as “You better not do that because you’re going to fail and you’re not even good at it”.
  • Then, identify the emotions behind that thought. Is it fear? Insecurity?  Frustration? Anguish?
  • Finally, you need to rationalize. “What’s the truth in that statement? Why am I a failure? Haven’t I ever succeeded in anything? What’s the use of telling myself I’m no good at what I’m hoping to achieve? After all, I’ll never know it unless I try.”
A woman breathing deeply.

4. The mirror is a good emotional control technique

One of the most interesting effective techniques of emotional control is the use of a mirror. It’s interesting to resort to it at times when everything seems to be going south. Also, in those moments when your self-esteem is low and you think you’re losing control of reality.

This exercise helps you reset yourself, become aware of your own emotions, and give yourself encouragement as you see your face and truly connect with your external and internal being.

How to apply this technique

The first thing you need to do is take an hour’s rest away from any distractions. Thus, go to a quiet and intimate place. Your bedroom is a good choice. For this exercise, you’ll need a mirror that’s wide enough to see yourself comfortably reflected.

Then, sit in front of it and focus on your eyes. Now, ask your reflection, “How do you feel?”

It’s very common for emotions to emerge after you ask yourself this question. Thus, cry if you feel like crying and let off some steam. Take as much time as you need to.

Once you’re done, look at yourself again and do so with affection. Connect with yourself through compassion, caring, and approval. Tell yourself that everything will be okay. That you’ll make new decisions, attend to new life perspectives, and follow up on any changes you need to make to feel better.

In conclusion, while it’s true that there are other effective techniques of emotional control, you can always start with the ones we shared here, because they’re simpler. Actually, doing them is rather cathartic and their effective application can lead to overall well-being.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Davis Martha, Mckay Mathew. Técnicas de autocontrol emocional.Madrid: Paidós

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.