Control Your Emotions With These 10 Moves for a More Productive You
It’s not easy to control your emotions. That’s especially true in a culture that encourages fast responses and short wait times. But it’s your responsibility to ensure that your emotions don’t get the better of you.
Doing so keeps you happier and more productive. In this article, we’ll be examining 10 ways that you can stay in charge, no matter what obstacles may come. Read on, and take note of where you struggle, where you excel, and where you haven’t given things enough thought.
1. Call Out Perfectionism
the purpose of perfectionism is not to ensure that everything gets done flawlessly. No, it’s quite the opposite. Perfectionism pretty much ensures that things don’t get done at all.
It’s about avoidance, fear, and excuses. We know this because of the masters of their craft. The people who do get things done. Even Academy Award-winning directors will go back to their seminal works and pick out a million things they would change if they could.
Look at what George Lucas did to Star Wars, for Pete’s sake! In the end, though, the greats understand that if they allow their perfectionist qualities to win out, their greatest works would have never seen the light of day.
So, it’s time to squash that idea that you’re a perfectionist. Instead, commit to being a doer. Nothing’s to stop you from going back over your assignment, test, or project to make it better. But you’ve first got to have something to improve before you can actually improve it.
2. Be Vulnerable
Another way to be in charge of your emotions is to be out in the open. Don’t allow shame to keep you from being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is about accepting your negative qualities, being able to acknowledge them so they have no hold over you, and taking action from there.
Those unable to be vulnerable will always have something that holds them back. They will give power to the negative qualities and emotions that are going to be there regardless. Therefore, you have to ask yourself one question.
Do I want to pretend these things don’t exist and allow them to control my life? Or, would I rather confront them head-on so I can reclaim my power and move on with the things that I’ve got to get done? Virtually no one in their right mind wants to be held captive by their own thoughts.
3. Let Out Frustrations
Frustrations can certainly be a hindrance when it comes to your productivity. There’s only so much you can take before it wells up inside of you and comes out in healthy ways.
If you feel like you’re at that point, then make sure you have a healthy outlet. This could be a quick text or phone call to a friend. It could be handwriting your frustrations into a journal. Or, it could be the simple act of opening up a word processor and letting it rip for a few minutes, only to delete whatever you’ve said immediately afterward.
You needn’t jeopardize relationships or reputation when letting out your frustrations. However, you should get them out of your body so they no longer have a chance to poison your progress.
4. Learn to Let Go
Establish a healthy practice for letting out your emotions, and this one should come easy. See, you cannot control everything that happens to you in a given day. You can’t decide what side of the bed someone else will get up on. But you can determine your own attitude for dealing with it.
Come to accept that all of us in life will be unfairly judged at some point. Accept that you may have to eat a little crow — justly and unjustly. Sometimes, you won’t get to set things right or be vindicated.
Realizing this is part of life and that there’s no time-traveling backward to undo what happened. You can only chart a course forward. The sooner you’re able to do this, the easier it will be to use the past as a learning tool instead of a stumbling block.
5. Find Time for Mindfulness
Mindfulness offers another great method to control your emotions. It does this by forcing you to block everything out of your mind that seeks to distract or upset you. All you really need are 10-15 minutes per day, a little quiet, and a comfortable place to sit.
These ingredients allow you to take a seat, set aside your screens, and get in touch with what’s going on inside your brain. Best of all, it’s very simple to do. Here’s how you should start.
Set a timer. Then, close your eyes while sitting comfortably. Rest your hands on your legs or knees or in whatever position comes naturally to you. From there, just count each breath movement. Inhale, one. Exhale, two. Inhale, three. And so on!
As thoughts pop into your head, return to your breathing and counting. You probably won’t succeed in staving off those thoughts, but you’ll learn how to effectively brush them aside and regain control of your emotions. In time, you’ll be able to stay focused and productive as a result.
6. Foster Positivity
Being negative is not a helpful tool when it comes to controlling your emotions. That’s because negativity is based in the past. Something didn’t go right, so this next thing won’t either.
You have to keep your brain returning to those past transgressions to continue to fuel how you approach new challenges. It takes a toll on your feelings, your relationship, and your overall happiness.
Being positive isn’t always easy. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, and you may even have to “fake it till you make it.” But once you learn how to let positivity be the prevailing attitude in your life, you can’t help but look forward instead of back. Each new challenge is a chance for things to go right.
This positivity will also foster good relationships with those around you. And that can be incredibly useful with networking and problem-solving.
7. Spread Out Physical Activity
You’ve heard the advice to take part in at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day? That’s still valid, but it really doesn’t go far enough. That’s because it means you run the risk of grouping all your activity to one block of time while sitting and being unhealthy for the remainder of your waking hours.
Sitting too long — as in more than six hours per day — has very harmful effects. These can take the form of increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It also might elevate your risk of some cancers.
Thirty minutes per day simply isn’t enough movement if you’re sitting the rest of the time. Therefore, try to spread out your activity levels more throughout the day. Yes, make time for that vigorous exercise. But also have times throughout where you get up and walk.
Activity breeds more activity. It also keeps you from frittering away most of your time doing unhealthy things.
8. Recognize Your Freedom to Choose
Freedom of choice isn’t something that the US has the market cornered on. Everyone has it. From the freest of the free to the most brutal dictatorships. That choice may not result in anything more than a decision regarding how you’re going to feel about something. But it’s still there.
The construct of choice works like this. There’s a stimulus, or call to respond of some kind. There’s a gap that can be anywhere from a few minutes to a second or two. Then, there’s the response.
It’s during the gap that you decide which type of response to give. Your response is your choice. You can choose to respond with a defeatist attitude. You can choose to run, fight, or hide. Fortunately, most of us will never know what it’s like to have to make some of the truly awful choices that those in war-torn countries may have to make.
Let us be grateful for that! And let us take that realization to make better choices regarding how we respond to the good and the bad in our lives. Doing so will help control your emotions that much better!
9. Learn How Others Work
Another key method to control your emotions is to understand how other people work. That means having patience where you need to. Not everyone moves at the same skill level or timetable. That can get very frustrating when you’re needing an answer or to move ahead on a project.
The key to being able to cope with how other people work is to have enough on your own plate that you aren’t reliant on anyone else to stay productive. That means creating a punch-list of items that you have to deal with yourself.
Answer not ready? Still waiting on someone to finish their part? Keep yourself busy with the other projects that you’ve got going on.
10. Give Yourself Time
Understand that putting yourself under too much pressure can cause your negative emotions to spike. When you feel like you don’t have enough time to get everything done that needs doing, you start making mistakes, getting burned out, and giving up.
Look at the challenges ahead. What’s a realistic timetable for being able to accomplish everything? Check in daily to make adjustments as necessary. By managing your time better, you’ll manage your emotions better as well.
3 Potential Obstacles
Okay, so now you know how to control your emotions. What can possibly go wrong from here? Well, plenty, but not if you know the potential obstacles to your goal. Here are three of the majors that could end up holding you back.
Feeling Like an Impostor
Also known as “Impostor Syndrome.” You engage in tons of negative self-talk. You convince yourself that you can’t possibly accomplish everything you need to accomplish because you’re not good enough. And eventually the whole world will know it.
Dismiss any notion of negative self-talk, whether some of it’s true or not. Don’t listen to it. Instead, reel yourself back in by focusing on your objectives and the resources available to you to address them.
Giving In to Pride
On the flip side of Impostor Syndrome, there is overconfidence. The old saying, “Pride goes before the fall” applies here. You can allow an inflated sense of self to take on more than you can handle.
By the time you realize it, it’s too late. You’re destined for failure. Be careful not to buy into your own hype. Stay humble in your confidence.
Procrastinating is a close relative of perfectionism. You avoid doing what you need to do because you’re afraid or lazy or convinced it’s not worth your time in the present moment. You may even be underestimating the task.
Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing. It could be that some tasks you put off really don’t need to be done. But the real obstacle is in your inability to judge a necessary task from an unnecessary one. How will you make the determination? Will others make that determination for you?
Making These Moves and Being Aware of Obstacles Will Help You Control Your Emotions
We know it can be difficult to control your emotions when you’re up against deadlines and a mountain of work. But employing the strategies that we’ve shared here will make you a master of yourself. And it will enable you to tackle any challenge ahead. Good luck!
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