During my practice as a hypnotherapist, there is one question that I get again and again from people who deal with all kinds of problems. Because in the end, this is one of the main issues people have. That question: “How to control my emotions?”. This article will help you to master and manage your feelings.
One of the first steps in being able to control emotions is to recognize them clearly. You might think that this is not necessary, as you already are acutely aware of your emotions. But it’s really about being able to pinpoint your emotions, clearly distinguishing them from other emotions. There are dozens of different emotions, that together create hundreds of different combinations that we deal with during the course of a normal day.
The most common emotions people want to control are fear and anger. But there are many different kinds of fears, many different kinds of angers. Get to know which one you’re dealing with, and get a clear picture of the sensations in your body, and how they affect your thinking.
Another thing about emotions is – they don’t just pop out of the blue. There are causes. There is some event that either takes place in the outer world, or in the inner world that creates an emotional reaction. An event in the outer world could be someone shouting at you, or looking at you in a certain way. An example of an event in the inner world would be if you think something that causes you to worry, to become angry or afraid.
Many times it’s a series of both outer and inner events that leads to intense emotions.
What’s happening in the Brain?
One way to answer the question how to control my emotions is to look at the neural activity in the brain. Our brain is made up out of different functional units. We won’t go into all here, but instead focus on the two functional units that are most relevant to controlling emotions: the amygdala and the neopallium.
The amygdala is something that you can find in almost every animal – it’s the part of your brain that is in charge of emotional responses. A monkey has an amygdala, a monkey has one, a crocodile has one. That’s why they can be angry or afraid.
But a neopallium – now that’s a differnt thing. The neopallium evolved much later in evolution. It’s the part of our brain that is involved in logical reasoning and higher thinking skills.
What happens when you get upset is that your amygdala takes over. That’s a useful survival mechanism – but in our modern world, it often leads us to react in ways that simply aren’t appropriate anymore.
Neuroscientists have shown that classical meditation is a good way to train the brain to better be able to manage emotions. However, the downside of meditation is that it often takes many years of daily practice before you notice the positive effects.
Hypnosis fast-forwards the whole process, because it communicates directly with your subconscious mind and allows you to better control your emotions.