Emotional Control Techniques: 10 Effective Strategies

Any event, no matter how simple, arouses very different emotions. This is because a large part of our brain, the Limbic system, Take care of them and make emotions so ingrained in the nature of human beings that we can see them as part of us and of how we react to the world.

Emotional control techniques

Each of the memories that make up the story of our life has an emotional charge associated with it, and that is that there is nothing that makes us feel more alive than emotions. Perhaps this is why one of its great representative icons is the figure of the heart, the organ that sustains our lives. Emotions make us bring out the best in ourselves, but they can also bring out the worst in our being, and by that I don’t mean just negative emotions like anger or fear, because even an excessive load of positive emotions like joy can lead. us to euphoria and therefore to the uncontrollability of our behavior.

For this reason, almost none of our emotions escape the filter of the consciousness. If we consider that we are continually feeling, we will easily recognize that we are continually channeling or repressing our feelings, so that we all have some emotional control which we perform automatically and therefore subconsciously. But despite this control that we have, partly learned and partly written into our genetic material, all people at some point in our lives have felt altered or out of control because of our emotional experiences.

Feelings and emotions create a dynamic

We all know that feelings change the way we think. In fact, many psychological and psychiatric disorders often result from a disproportionate emotional response that the person is unable to control. In the 1930s, psychoanalyst Franz Alexander discovered that people who suppressed their feelings suffered from permanent high blood pressure.

Repressed emotions become overflowing seeking to be released and produced psychosomatization, Which consists of the expression of the psychological through physical symptoms, so that the body is also sick. But the key to living with our emotions is also not to suppress them, because not suppressing them in any way can lead to other types of even more serious disorders, and get into more of a mess. What you may regret. In this regard, I recommend that you read the article by Bertrand Regader, entitled “The 10 essential rules to release the emotional burden”, in which you will learn other techniques for managing your emotions.

We cannot disconnect or choose our emotions, but we can try to lead them through emotional control, which should not be understood as a form of suppressing emotions., But as a means of regulating them, and thus being able to change our mood and our feelings, if necessary. The goal of control techniques is to prevent a negative emotion from being triggered, we crawl and express it in a vivid way that we may regret later. Here are some techniques to help you control your emotions and feelings.

Non-cognitive techniques to regulate emotions

Although psychologists do not like to prescribe to avoid or flee from situations (the avoidance and flight management style is ineffective in solving problems), in the case of controlling negative emotions I like that a lot other colleagues, I will make an exception and declare that the first and the simplest emotional control technique is to learn to avoid what generates negative emotions in usWhether it’s about people or situations, like trying to avoid a person who overwhelms us every time we see them, not going to an event that we know our ex-partner is going to attend, or if we are on a diet, avoid having to deal with prohibited foods, for example.

Deep breathing techniques

Another of the simplest and most useful techniques for controlling both emotions and physiological reactions, before, during, and after dealing with emotionally intense situations, is deep breathing. On the one hand because it oxygenates our organs and makes the brain function better, and on the other hand because he relaxes and with that he manages to calm us down.

There are several techniques to perform it, a well known one is to perform the phases of breathing by doing a count, this count can vary because we all have different breathing rhythms and it is not a question of forcing the breath, l The ideal is to find the number that best suits ours. Here is an example of how to perform deep breathing:

  • Inspire deeply by mentally counting to 5

  • Hold on breathe while mentally counting to 4

  • Let’s go the air by mentally counting to 10

  • (Repeat several times until you feel more relaxed)

This way we will have one slow breathing and a little more intense than our normal breathing. You can check that you are breathing correctly by placing one hand on your chest and another on your abdomen, you are doing it correctly if when you breathe only the hand in the abdomen moves (for this reason, deep breathing is also called abdominal or diaphragmatic.).

Cognitive techniques to regulate emotions

When we experience a negative emotion, our attention is focused on the thoughts that keep that emotion active, and if we continually turn those thoughts back, we strengthen the emotions. But if we think less about the event that brought out the negative emotion, it goes down. We see in this fact how much emotion and thought are intimately linked.

for the Cognitive-behavioral psychology human psychology is expressed in three levels which are in constant interaction, as shown in the following diagram:

As I said before, emotions cannot be changed, but since emotion and thought go hand in hand if we change the way we think, we can regulate both our emotions and our actions. This is the fundamental principle of cognitive techniques such as those presented below.

positive affirmations

It is already part of the popular knowledge that thinking positively makes us feel better, we can even find brands in the market that have made positive statements a form of “ branding ” and sell us a product that appeals to the brand. emotion. So, if positive affirmations have become so popular, it’s because they have to work. In order to fill our mind with positive affirmations, we have to empty it of negative thoughts, so we must first detect which thoughts generate, maintain or increase our negative emotions and make us sad, angry, anxious, afraid, etc.

Once identified, we need to replace them with more positive thoughts, for this, although it can be done mentally, I recommend annotating each negative thought and the thought that replaces it. Once this is done you just need to put it into practice and whenever the negative thought pops up automatically change it to a positive thought. What seems so simple will manage to decrease both our cognitive and physical anxiety.

Stop thinking

This strategy is aimed at controlling thought and can be used before, during or after the situation that generates a negative emotion. This is the moment when you start to notice yourself, get nervous or upset, pay attention to the thoughts you are having, and identify the negative connotations that it has for you. Once you’ve done this little analysis, give yourself orders to look for the thought interruption that evokes emotion, like: “STOP!“,” Per! “,” Now! “,” Sufficient! After this self-instruction, replace the thoughts detected as negative with affirmations positive.

The only difficulty with this simple technique is that in order to identify the thoughts that evoke negative emotions in us and turn them into positive thoughts, it takes a bit of practice.

mental test

Sometimes when a person knows they need to do something that they don’t feel confident about, like speaking in public or taking some kind of test, like an exam, we anticipate the angst of the moment and settle into the present moment, which makes the anxiety before the act more and more great, as with negative thoughts, they reinforce each other negatively and enter an upward spiral.

To prepare us to face these situations and combat the anxiety they generate, the technique of mental test it is ideal, apart from the simple. It is about visualizing that the dreaded situation is developing smoothly, and that you feel safe and relaxed because you are happy with the way you are acting. You can also repeat yourself slogans such as: I’m fine, I’m relaxed, the audience likes it … this will strengthen the technique. Plan your performance for the event and mentally practice it repeatedly. With each mental test, the anxiety level will be reduced and this feeling will give you more confidence to overcome the situation successfully.

Change of perspective

There are two big mistakes people tend to make that can affect our emotional balance. On the one hand, we are egocentric and take our point of view as the only correct or valid one, and on the other hand, we give to other intentions that may not be correct. It can lead us to arguments or to feel bad for no reason. This is why it can be useful to try to change our perspective on people or facts. There are many ways to change the perspective we have and adopt a different one, below I will explain 2.

The first one I recommend is broaden the scope of the situation, Because the closer we are to something, the less we see. We can do this by moving away from the situation literally or mentally by trying to see the big picture and re-analyze the situation from that perspective. Another way to change perspective is put yourself in the other person’s shoes, And think about how that person may be feeling or the circumstances that may motivate their behavior.

In this way, from the empathyIt is very likely that we will develop more tolerant attitudes towards this person and reduce our negative feelings towards them. If, for example, you are in a restaurant and you start to get angry because the waiter isn’t taking care of you, think about the fact that maybe he has a lot of work to do or something is wrong with the room. cooked. Moment, and it will surely help you feel more relaxed and have more patience.


The techniques that I have presented in this article, although simple, have proven to be effective in clinical practice, which is why few psychotherapists refuse them in their daily professional practice, but like most things in life to become – lo in a skill that we need to be exercised.

If you can integrate them into your repertoire of behaviors, you will most likely have more control over your emotions. and the feelings that arise in your everyday life.

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