How to Control Your Emotions and Reframe Your Fears
Anger. Frustration. Hopelessness.
These are common emotions many of us feel at present, and understandably so.
You’ve been staying home, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, but not everyone is following the rules.
Even though we have entered a new stage of lockdown with tighter restrictions, infection rates aren’t dropping like the first time around.
You continue to do your best, though a feeling of powerlessness persists.
Negative emotions take hold, and it seems like there is no way out.
This is an emotional battle difficult to win.
So, what can you do?
Focus on what you can control
It is easy to get caught up in the negative details of life, particularly at times like now.
Because our brains crave certainty. And when that hunger for certainty isn’t fed, it can create panic and confusion, which creates a banquet of negative emotions that may end up consuming you and even hurting you on some level.
When you get caught up in your own circle of concern, you allow those negative emotions or thoughts to control you. Your mind goes into overdrive. Suddenly, you feel you have little control over anything, preventing you from thinking rationally.
But when you shift your perspective and pay attention to what you can control, you will see these negative emotions fade away.
And you will find yourself with a more positive and proactive mindset.
Do you have total control, some control or no control at all?
Note your concerns:
- Are you angry at the people who are behaving irresponsibly?
- Are you worried about the state of the economy?
- Are you concerned life might never go back to normal?
These concerns are all genuine – and valid – but they lie outside your circle of control.
You cannot control whether your partner keeps their job.
You cannot control people who test positive yet continue going to work.
And you cannot control people who ignore social distancing guidelines.
You may, however, have a degree of influence over some of your concerns.
Your physical health is a good example. You can make healthy decisions, but not have total control over the state of your body’s health. Similarly, you may be able to persuade someone to wear a mask or practice social distancing, but you are not responsible for their behaviour.
What can you control?
You can control your own behaviour, thoughts and feelings.
This may sound like an obvious answer but is sometimes easier said than done when you are consumed with negative emotions.
So, instead of feeling outside influences determine your life, accept that you have no bearing over these influences and adopt an internal focus of control.
Believe that you are responsible for the outcomes in your life.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about things you can control:
- Are you connecting with friends?
- Are you sleeping regularly?
- Do you have a daily work or personal routine that helps you achieve your goals?
- Can you adjust your diet to nourish your body and mind?
- Have you been exercising or practising meditation to manage negative thoughts and feelings?
Stay focused and start seeing results
When you are upset, all you see is the negative.
You will be like a dog chasing its tail – getting upset at others and feeling helpless about it in a repetitive loop.
But when you look at the positive and controllable aspects of your life, you will notice things start getting better.
If you are struggling to overcome negative emotions, remember you are not alone.
And we’re here to help.
To assist you through these challenging circumstances, we are offering a free 30-minute exploration session.
This session will help you identify your sources of stress and establish a launching pad for you to improve your mental health.