Taking control of your emotions

business career mindset Aug 05, 2019

As we move into August, many people are on holiday, the rush hour roads and trains are quieter and it’s perhaps a chance to reflect and get some strategies in place to reduce stress and increase your levels of calm and peace.

August is a 4 Monday month this year, so look out here and in my Monday Munch email, for some top tips to help you move into the autumn in a positive and stress-free state.

Emotions: reflex or choice?

Have you ever had any of these reactions (either yourself or you’ve heard someone else say it), or something similar:

  • You make me so mad!
  • He really knows how to push my buttons!
  • She makes me feel stupid

The common factor in these examples is that “you”, “he”, or “she” (i.e. someone else) is doing something, and you are reporting an emotional response. That response (reaction) is probably in the way that you always react, and you probably do it almost instantly.

It has become an almost instinctive response and you might say “I can’t help it” or that “it’s just the way I am” or even “you can’t help how you feel”.

But, actually you can change this. If you choose to.

It’s just Data

When something happens outside of us we have an emotional response – in the case of the examples above, a generally negative response.

However, if we were to stop for a split-second and recognise consciously that we’ve experienced an emotion and what that emotion is, we can treat it as data. It really is just information, and as with all information, it’s telling you something about what’s going on.

In my examples above, the emotion you feel is telling you that something isn’t right: you’re feeing mad, stupid or like you’re having your buttons pushed. So, if you stop, even for a split second, and recognise it, you’ve created a space where you can choose a different response and a different feeling.


It takes a bit of practice, but it can dramatically reduce your stress levels and increase your feeling of wellbeing. 

Next time you experience a feeling you don’t like:

  • Stop (a lot of people I work with, if it’s appropriate in the situation they are in, will say that word out loud to start with.)
  • Now you’ve stopped, notice what you are feeling. Name the emotion.
  • Ask yourself “what would I rather have and feel?”. See if you can come up with at least three different options.
  • Now act on the best option.

Further Resources

The key mindsets here are:

  • I am in charge of my mind and therefore my choice of action or reaction in every situation
  • I notice what I am getting and if it isn’t what I want, I do something different.

If you want to discuss this more, why not join my Career Journeys Facebook group and post your questions in there.

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