tips to learn how to manage your emotions || control your emotion

Emotions constantly inhabit us and inform us about our inner state. But many of us have not learned to tune into emotional life, seeking instead to repress some of our emotions. Learning to identify them and decode the message they send us allows us to create better relationships, with ourselves and others.


Learn to identify your emotions

  • Express emotions
  • Understand the origin of your emotions
  • Distinguish our interpretation of the emotion felt
  • Bypass an unpleasant emotion thanks to positive emotions
  • Breathe when the emotion is strong
  • Be kind to yourself

It's not always easy to manage your emotions. First of all because we cannot really control them, but also because we do not always identify them correctly. Of course, feeling joy, gratitude or admiration when everything is going well around you is easy. Where things get complicated is when, precisely, all is not well. In these moments of crisis, we can easily let ourselves be overwhelmed by our unpleasant emotions (anxiety, fear, disappointment, anger...). How can we stop being victims of our negative emotions? What can we do to manage them when they invade us?

Before trying to master them, let's already remember what emotions are. An emotion refers to a psychological and physical reaction to a situation. It is the fear, anger, joy, or shame that manifests in our body (increasing heart rate, pinching, blushing, clenching fists, etc.) and in our head (desire to scream, crying, laughing, etc.). Some are pleasant, others unpleasant, but they are all useful because of the importance of the message they convey. Marilyse Trécourt, coach in professional and personal development and author of 50 exercises to bounce back thanks to positive emotions (Eyrolles editions), gives us her advice on how to learn to manage your emotions and no longer suffer from them. "By understanding our emotions and the needs associated with them, we can play with them like a joystick and find solutions to our daily problems," she says in her guide.

Learn to identify your emotions

The first step in learning to control your emotions is first to be able to identify them precisely. This phase makes it possible to connect the emotions in the head and in the body (a tightness, a pinch, sweaty hands, a tightness in the chest, etc.). The idea is to identify the signals that your body and your mind send back to you in the face of different situations and to be aware of them. “The first thing to do is to become aware of this unpleasantness in the body and try to specify. To do this, you have to take a freeze frame when you feel bad, by putting words on it, ”explains Marilyse Trécourt. Putting words on our emotions allows us to become aware of them, to put them at a distance, to seek to understand their origin and above all to find solutions to remedy unpleasant emotions. Is it fear, anger, sadness, boredom or even disgust?

Express your emotions

Have you recognized an emotion and identified it? For some, this first step will allow them to take more control over how this emotion will be expressed. The important thing is not to repress it, but to verbalize it (or write it down). Marilyse Trécourt is formal: “Above all, you must not chase an emotion because an emotion that you try to stifle will take more and more momentum”. If we deny our unpleasant emotions, if we keep them inside, the physical manifestation will intensify and they may come out in a very bad way. “It can be uncomfortable to take this step, but it is essential and beneficial in the long term, to get to know yourself better but also to harmonize your relationships with others,” adds the coach. Learning to express your emotions in a context-appropriate way is not an easy exercise, especially during an argument. For example, we would prefer to say “what you told me made me sad”, rather than “you are wrong”. “Jacques Salomé (a French psychosociologist and writer, editor’s note) said the “you kill”, because it kills the relationship. Whereas when you talk about yourself, your emotions, your needs – the basis of non-violent communication – you really enter into an authentic relationship, which really allows you to find solutions”, explains Marilyse Trécourt.

Understand the origin of your emotions

To no longer feel victimized by our emotions, we must learn to use them to our advantage. This step therefore consists of taking the time to reflect and understand why an emotion has arisen. When an unpleasant emotion arises, Marilyse Trécourt invites us to identify the need that our body seeks to satisfy (need for serenity, kindness, to be reassured...). What need do you really want to satisfy? "If I'm frustrated, maybe it's because I need esteem, for example. I can then remember all my successes, all my successes, or ask a close friend about my most precious qualities”, specifies the specialist. Seeking to identify his need helps to find a better strategy for solving his problem. "The more we take care of ourselves and our emotions, the more we will be able to be good with others and not let our emotions interfere in our relationship with others," she adds.

Distinguishing our interpretation of the emotion felt

We told you above, when we find ourselves subjected to an unpleasant emotion, we tend to generalize and interpret in our own way, which is human. But sometimes our interpretation, in tune with our emotional state, misleads us. This is why it is necessary to distinguish the facts from the effects, that is to say their interpretation of the emotion felt. Let’s take the example of a couple’s argument. My spouse does not give me enough time. Interpretation: He doesn't care about me. Emotions: resentment. Underlying need to satisfy: love. So, rather than using the “you who kill” by blaming him for never being there, we will try to explain to him that we need him/her, to spend more time together. By identifying our emotion, we are better able to testify to our need, which opens the door to a peaceful discussion conducive to problem solving.

Bypass an unpleasant emotion thanks to positive emotions

In her book, Marilyse Trécourt recalls the ten existing positive emotions: joy, gratitude or recognition, serenity, interest or curiosity, hope, self-esteem, fun, inspiration, admiration and love. These emotions are precious allies to bounce back and counter an unpleasant emotion. When we feel grief, we can then activate our joy by watching our favorite movie, calling a friend who is sure to make us laugh, or listening to music that makes us happy. For the personal development coach, positive emotions serve as an antidote to unpleasant emotions: "It's about becoming actors in our emotions and no longer suffering from them, and using positive emotion as a real tool to to advance. When we learn to do this, we strengthen our emotional intelligence and we make better decisions. It is a learning process, which sometimes does not prevent us from failing, and it allows us to make better decisions for ourselves”. His trick? Establish in advance a list of about twenty things that each give us positive emotions to use when needed.

Breathe when the emotion is strong

When the emotion is very strong and overwhelms us, because we have perhaps repressed it for too long, take the time to breathe. We settle down, if we can, in a quiet place, with our eyes closed, in full consciousness. Mouth closed, we inhale through the nose by inflating the belly, we keep the air for a few seconds (three to ten seconds), then we exhale through the mouth by retracting the belly. This deep breathing exercise allows you to focus your attention on something else and avoid overreacting and exploding.

Show kindness to yourself

We can express our emotions differently. Sometimes, when an emotion arises, we feel the need to exteriorize it, to verbalize it. But it is not always easy to express your emotions. Sometimes you need a little time and a step back, to change your mind and do something else. It does not matter, and it is even a rather good sign according to Marilyse Trécourt. "All the little failures will be lessons that will strengthen your emotional intelligence," she says. When the emotion has been recognized, we can simply congratulate ourselves, thank it for having warned us of a need and then set a more appropriate moment when we can, alone or with someone, understand our origin. “This failure can lead us to reflect and improve: react a little earlier next time, or not wait to reach an extreme stage”, continues the coach. Last advice: “Be kind to yourself and trust yourself. Sometimes our emotions know better than us what to do. It is up to us to listen to them.

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