5 Smart Ways to Help Manage Your Emotions

If you ever find yourself becoming overwhelmed by stress, step back, breathe, and try these strategies.

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Updated on June 28, 2023.

Ever feel like you're on an emotional roller coaster?

Life can bring on a variety of emotions, both positive and negative, that range in intensity from mild to severe. Without tools to help manage those emotions, strong feelings and stress can often feel overwhelming. Thankfully, though, there are simple strategies you can employ in your daily life to help keep a handle on strong emotions. Try these today:

Let it out

Emotions tend to linger, but sometimes you have to give them an opportunity to play out.

Bottled-up feelings of sadness or anger can sap your energy and interfere with your relationships and other areas of your personal and professional lives. So let people know when something's bothering you. If you're having trouble verbalizing, try airing out intense emotions by writing about them in a journal. 

Count to ten

Emotions are powerful things. And they can surface at any time: at work, at the grocery store, out with friends, at the dinner table. When you find yourself in emotionally charged situations, step away and count to 10 before you say or do anything. This will give you a chance to calm down, assess the situation, and consider the possible positive and negative consequences of your reactions and comments.

Say when

Emotions love overachievers. If you have a tendency to take on too much, watch out. Resist the temptation to handle everything on your own. Ask for a helping hand. Break large projects into smaller portions and delegate, even if they are just small tasks. And try to do this before you get overwhelmed. Learning how to recognize and express your limits is vital to avoiding meltdowns.

Talk to yourself

Emotions are sneaky. One minute you're fine, the next you may feel as if you're sliding downhill. Worry creeps in. Something, or maybe several things, didn't go as well as you'd hoped, and you're headed down a dark path.

Before you get too far into the murk, talk it out with yourself. Ask yourself what you can learn from the situation and how you can plan more effectively for similar challenges in the future.

Fuel up

Emotions don't play fair. They often emerge when you're most vulnerable: when your schedule is packed with events, chores, and responsibilities. Make sure you first take care of basic needs like food, water, sleep, and exercise. You'll find it much easier to stay calm, cool, and collected when you're exercising regularly, eating healthy meals, and getting enough sleep.

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