Emotions are pesky creatures. They can creep up on you when you least expect it and throw your whole day into a tailspin. They can be good, bad or somewhere in between, but often come up unexpectedly. Understanding your emotions is the key to personal development as they are often a window to your soul.

Relax before you React

Strong emotions are often the reaction to stressful situations. To take control of your emotions, embrace relaxation techniques during stressful times. Something as simple as taking a few deep breaths can help you to remain in control of the situation, rather than having an uncontrolled emotional reaction.

Shift your Focus

Every situation is going to have aspects you can and can't control. Instead of dwelling on the things you cannot control, focus on what you can do. The more control you have over a situation, the better your emotional outlook. If you focus on what you can do, you will feel less overwhelmed and more positive overall. The key is to let go of the aspects that are outside of your ability to control because they will just cause you more stress.

Give yourself an Outlet

Controlled emotions are still emotions. They still need to be addressed to maintain your emotional health. Talking with a trusted friend and writing in a journal are good ways to examine your emotions. Emotional control does not mean ignoring emotions, it just means not letting them rule your entire life. Exercise is a great way to deal with negative or stressful emotions. It releases endorphins in your body that make you feel good. Many people find running, weight lifting or using a punching bag to be a great way to release pent-up frustration.

Be able to Forgive

Jealousy, anger and resentment are strong emotions that can take over your life. To be in control of your emotions, you must be able to honestly forgive people who have wronged you. So many relationships are destroyed or create more harm than good because of an inability to forgive. If you can't truly forgive someone who brings out this emotional response, you will need to limit your exposure to that person.

Avoid Stressful Situations

Obviously you can't avoid all stress, but you can put yourself in control sometimes. For example, if running late makes you anxious, you can plan ahead so you will be ready to leave on time or a little early. If a crowded grocery store frustrates you, plan to go at a less busy time of day. While this isn't avoiding the stressor completely, planning ahead like this can limit your level of frustration.

These tips will help you to gain some control over your emotions. Remember that it is important that you don't neglect your emotions, just don't let them control every aspect of your life.

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