Life is filled with challenging circumstances that make us feel angry, anxious, upset, and frustrated. While we can’t control these stressful situations, we can control how we respond to them. The fastest and most effective way to get centered is using mindfulness to control your emotions.
When you experience a negative emotion, it’s natural to want to avoid or suppress it. However, this will only prolong the pain. Through mindfulness, you can transform your negative emotions into sources of strength.
Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation
The ability to regulate emotions is a key component of mindfulness. Research on mindfulness and the brain suggests the practice of mindfulness meditation is helpful for those who need to overcome habitual ways of reacting to one’s emotions.
Achieving meditation state involves attentional effort; thus, impacting areas of the prefrontal and parietal cortex. During mindful and resting states, there is less activity in the amygdala, which leads to a decrease in emotional arousal.
A longitudinal, randomized study found people with anxiety showed a change from negative connectivity between the activity of frontal cortex and amygdala, to positive connectivity following mindfulness training.
3 Tips to Use Mindfulness to Control Your Emotions
Are you ready to mindfully deal with your negative emotions? Here are three easy steps:
1. Recognize when you start feeling emotional
You know the moment when you feel that overwhelming wave of anger, anxiety or sadness?
Instead of going down the downward spiral of negative thinking, stop for a moment and realize that you are emotionally out of control. Even if you don’t know what triggered you, the best course of action is to take a step back and distance yourself from the emotion.
2. Observe and identify the emotion
Putting yourself in the position of the observer will help you gain control what you’re feeling. For example, if you’re angry because you didn’t get a promotion at work, mentally acknowledge that you are feeling angry.
3. Accept it and realize the emotion will pass
It’s impossible to avoid negative emotions so rather than resisting them, allow them to come and go. It’s important to give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling. Rather than suppressing or ignoring the emotion, open yourself up to embrace it. In doing so, you are using mindfulness to control your emotions. You can also see that you are bigger than the anger and you are bigger than the pain. It does not define you.
It is through this acceptance that you can begin to master the way you feel.
Always remember you are the thinker and not the thought!