Control emotions so they don’t control you

Have you ever said something in anger that you later wish you could take back? When you act on your emotions too quickly, you often make decisions that you later regret.

Your emotions are connected to key drives in your psych. They can seem to creep up without warning and completely take over. Emotion regulation allows you to recognise and manage your feelings so they don’t drive your behaviour.  

Emotional Intelligence expert Daniel Goleman has shown that emotion regulation is one of four key skills that contribute to professional success. Like any other skill, emotion regulation takes time and practice.


Here are four strategies I share with participants in my Dealing with Difficult People workshops.


Use a mood tracker

Keep a mood tracking diary or use a mood tracking app. This helps you identify emotional patterns and triggers so you can start to address them. 


Learn mindfulness

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment. In this state, you calmly acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. This teaches you to pause and reflect on a situation objectively without letting your emotions cloud your judgment. 


Shut down irrational self-talk

According to leading positive psychologist, Martin Seligman, pessimistic prophecies are self-fulfilling. He suggests disputing your own pessimistic thoughts. When you intercept a negative thought, use the ABCDE model to reframe it positively.


Ask yourself: so what?

Ask yourself, “What happened?” Run through the facts instead of focusing on how you feel about them. Then ask yourself, “So what?” Evaluate your emotions and the implications of the incident. Finally, think about what you might do differently next time and the key lessons that you can take away from the experience.



Want to improve your emotion regulation skills? Success mindset coaching can help.

Success mindset coaching is a one-to-one learning conversation with a specialist in positive psychology. The benefits of mindset coaching for emotion regulation can include:

  • Greater self-awareness
  • Improved ability to set boundaries (and stop other people pushing your buttons)
  • Reduction of strong, negative emotions
  • Improved ability to influence yourself and others

I’d love to work with you to build your emotion regulation skills. Find out more about success mindset coaching now.


About the author of this article 

Eleanor Shakiba teaches smart professionals to build their social and emotional intelligence. Since 1994, she has been teaching talented people – like you – how to think, communicate and behave in ways that build success. Eleanor holds qualifications in Social Anthropology, Applied Psychology, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. Find out how Eleanor can help you and your team.