Mind read

Learn To Control Emotional Impulses And Secure Your Success

by Mindvalley February 22, 2018

Emotions are the driving force behind motivation, feeling, behavior, and physiological changes in our bodies. If we can learn to control emotional impulses, we will have greater mastery over our inner and outer beings.

If you find yourself constantly at the whim of your erratic emotions, it’s time to slow down and take the time to understand why you’re experiencing what you’re experiencing. By learning to control emotional impulses, you will learn how to navigate the often tumultuous waters of your subconscious emotions, passions, and desires for greater autonomy and success.

Emotions Versus Feelings: Not the Same

Emotions and feelings play a powerful role in how you experience and interact with the world. But contrary to popular belief, emotions and feelings aren’t quite the same thing.

There are distinct differences between feelings and emotions:

  • Emotions – are physical and instinctual, and can be recognized by blood flow, brain activity, facial micro-expressions, and body language. Scientifically, emotions are lower level responses that originate in the subcortical regions of the brain (the amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortices). The amygdala causes emotional arousal and regulates the release of neurotransmitters essential for memory. The meaning you apply to an emotion is entirely individual to you.
  • Feelings – are sparked by emotions and influenced by your thoughts and memories subconsciously linked with that particular emotion. Feelings originate in the neocortical regions of the brain, and are mental associations of emotions. Feelings are essentially an expression of a certain emotion, influenced by personal experience, beliefs, and memories.

By becoming aware of your emotions and feelings – fully understanding them, determining their root causes and applying conscious thought followed by deliberate action – you can choose how you navigate through life and experience your world. You can learn to control emotional impulses so that they no longer govern your self of sense.

If you can learn to control emotional impulses and the feelings they trigger, you can transform your body and mind from chaotic reactivity to a calm, proactive state.

control your emotions

Different classifications of emotional response

Paul Ekman in his book, Emotions Revealed, presented six basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise). It is said that our most basic emotions evolved in response to the ecological challenges we faced as more primitive beings. These emotions are now hardwired into our brains, and each correspond to a distinct and dedicated neurological circuit.

Basic emotions are innate and automatic. They are part of a universal experience we all share. It’s entirely natural to feel angry, afraid, or sad. But we judge these emotions and experience negative responses to them that only exacerbate the problem.

By learning to control emotional impulses, we can better navigate our responses to negative emotions and be less swayed by them during periods of critical thinking and decision making.

How To Control Emotional Impulses

If you tend to react quickly and often feel that your emotions are getting the better of you, it may be time to invest in some cognitive training that can help you learn to control emotional impulses.

While this may seem like an arduous task, it’s certainly a worthwhile skill to acquire, and can profoundly impact your life for the better.

Here are 11 ways to better manage emotions and control emotional impulses.

learn to control your emotions

11 Strategies for Conquering Your Emotional Reactivity

1. Identify
Identify the emotion you are experiencing. Ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? Am I really feeling this [emotion], or is it a disguise for something deeper? The more clarity you can gain here, the more effective you’ll be in controlling the challenging emotion.

2. Appreciate
No matter what emotion you experience – do not resist it. Accept it. Appreciate it. Resisting it will prevent you from turning this emotion into something that you can learn from as you move forward. Acknowledge the emotion and search for its personal meaning and significance.

3. Analyze
Look at the emotion from all angles. This will open doors to new perspectives and opportunities that can help you gain unique insights. Ask yourself: What does this emotion offer me? What is the true value of this emotion? In what specific ways does this emotion serve me? How can I make things better?

4. Get confident

Consciously choose the new emotional response you’d prefer to experience in future encounters of this nature. See if you can recall a time in the past where you handled this emotion successfully and found a way to transform it into a learning experience.

5. Become resilient

In order to strengthen your resilience, build an emotional fortress. Your emotional fortress is a safe place you create in your mind that keeps you strong during difficult times. Imagine a special place, your personal sanctuary, that will help you find solace, strength and guidance. Here, you can communicate with anyone you desire for guidance. Use your emotional fortress when you need to remove yourself from your circumstances, which will assist in responding in more desirable ways.

6. Psychological transformation
Your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and perceptions all work together to create the reality you experience, and influence the emotions that follow. Choose your thoughts consciously and monitor your self-talk for self-sabotaging scripts.  

better control emotional impulses

7. Breathe
When you are feeling emotionally drained or charged by negative emotions, center yourself by breathing consciously. When we’re stressed or upset, we tend to breathe much higher in the body, up near the top of our lungs and into our shoulders and neck. Navigate your breathing back down into the belly. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths.

8. Communicate
Learn to communicate your needs and desires. Also ask others how they feel, why they feel that way, and how they would like to potentially resolve their feelings. Learning from others will help you better understand others and yourself.

9. Get physical
Research from Harvard published in the journal, Cognition and Emotion – recently discovered that acute exercise can help you regulate your mood and boost your resilience to emotionally toxic states before they happen. Exercise also helps combat the stress hormone, cortisol, to give you a healthier, happier brain.

10. Make the conscious decision to be in control

You are always in control of your emotions, no matter how overpowering they may feel. You have the ability to choose how to interpret the emotions you feel in your body. Stay present and conscious when challenging states threaten to overwhelm you.  

If you’d like to learn more about how to control emotional impulses and responses in just three minutes, check out this video by Mindvalley Masterclass teacher, Jon Butcher:

Gain Instant Clarity On What You Really Want In Life – And Have It All

There’s a reason that so many brilliantly talented, naturally creative, intelligent and capable people never reach their potential, and it is, quite simply, a lack of direction.

Even if you have a vague goal in mind, you still need a plan, a process to get you there.

You can have the most expensive, fastest car in the world, but if you set off without a clear idea of where you’re going, then the rusty old Beatle with a map and compass will beat you there every time.

If You're Ready To Experience The Extraordinary Life Design System That Gives YOU The Power To Author Your Ultimate Life, Then Join Jon & Missy Butcher's Free Masterclass

Where You will Learn:

Are you stuck on the hamster wheel of life, instead of rushing towards your fullest potential? Discover how to escape the 3 soul-crushing reasons most people unknowingly cheat themselves of their greatest lives.

Do you always set goals and rarely achieve them? It’s not your fault – traditional goal-setting is seriously incomplete! Discover how Lifebook empowers you to rapidly and consistently take charge of your life, and realize your every dream.

Experience the ‘Instant Clarity’ exercise: a powerful visualization exercise that guides you through your ideal day – and gives you instant clarity on who you really are, and what kind of life you really want to be living.

Step Into The New Year With A Crystal-Clear Vision For Your Ultimate Life

Do you want to learn how to better control emotional impulses? Do you struggle to maintain balance and perspective when challenging emotions take over? Tell us about your experiences below.

by Mindvalley
Mindvalley is creating a global school that delivers transformational education for all ages. Powered by community. Fueled by fun. We are dedicated to ensuring that humans live happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives by plugging in the gaps that conventional education failed to teach us. We do this by organising real-world events around the world and producing world-class quality programmes in several areas of transformation, including mind, body, and performance.

Related Articles