How To Manage Emotions Without “Faking It”
“Fake it til you make it.” Weren’t we all raised on that saying?
In some cases, “faking it” during something annoying but temporary can be worth it. Like math class in high school! Fake being alert and engaged for an hour, then you’ve made it.
That’s better than the alternative of being scolded or getting lunch detention, right? So the saying has some value.
But when learning how to manage emotions, “fake it til you make it” just won’t cut it. Nor is it healthy or sustainable in real life. Here’s the smart, long-term approach to controlling emotions, especially under pressure.
1. Why Learn How To Manage Emotions?
Imagine yourself like a soda bottle. When events shake you, all sorts of emotions build up inside.
It’s best to release that buildup slowly, purposefully, and consistently. Easing the bottle cap off.
Otherwise, like the bottle, you’ll end up exploding violently. Buried emotions lead to pent-up anger and frustration. Uncharacteristic outbursts usually stem from poorly managed, buried emotions.
Completely unharnessed emotions also lead to unhealthy and even dangerous outbursts. Learning to manage your emotions (learning to ease the cap off) will help you avoid undesirable eruptions.
2. Serious Emotional Situations
There are many different situations in life that require emotion management skills. They range from performance reviews at work to right after a car accident. From family drama to addiction recovery.
Of course, some situations are more serious than others. Let’s use addiction recovery as an example.
Addiction recovery requires tremendous emotion management. Every step, every choice must be purposeful and logical.
Many of your strongest emotions, like anger, sadness, and desperation, will side with your addiction. So your decisions must NOT be emotion-based if you’re on the path to sobriety.
Committing to a healthy lifestyle can greatly benefit your addiction recovery and emotion management. It’s remarkable what a clear head and a strong body can accomplish together.
If addiction recovery is your current path, you can recover here. Don’t let your emotions control your life, you can control them!
3. Three Simple Steps To Emotion Management
Learning how to manage emotions is a vital, lifelong skill. There are three simple steps to this skill, although they are easier said than done. They take commitment and practice.
- Pause: When something happens, pause. Don’t react right away! Your instinctive reaction is usually bursting with bad emotions like defensiveness and resentment.
Learning to pause your gut reaction is essential to getting a handle on your emotions. You’ll be less embarrassed about your actions later if you took a moment to pause.
- Think: After you pause, think. Ask yourself, “why is this my immediate emotion? What’s going on inside of me?”
This gives you a chance to change your thoughts, not be led by them. Even under pressure, you have the availability to stop and think before acting!
- CHOOSE: Now that you’ve paused and thought, you can properly choose. This is the only scenario in which YOU’RE choosing your action, not being acted upon by your emotions!
4. Manage Your Emotions For A Better Life
Burying your emotions isn’t healthy, neither is letting them explode. To function productively in real life, you must find a balance.
If you don’t, your un-managed emotions create personal and relationship issues. They affect your day-to-day life, whether you’re at home by yourself or at a party with 100 people.
Learning how to manage emotions will benefit you long-term. These three management skills will help you. Check out other options for coping skills available to you as well.