How To Become EMOTIONALLY STABLE
How to Become Emotionally Stable
Whether it's an insecure relationship, a chaotic work environment, or just your family driving you absolutely crazy, you’ve probably had those moments where you feel emotionally out of control. However, even when you feel like your emotions aren't your own, remember that you can still choose how to react to those emotions. With a little mindfulness and a bit of practice, being emotionally stable is achievable. Emotional stability starts from you, but don’t hesitate to get help managing your emotions if you need it.
Retraining Your Emotional Reactions
Compare your emotions to the weather.Like a passing rainstorm, your emotions are something that you cannot directly control. However, just like that rainstorm, your emotions are also temporary. You can’t stop yourself from feeling an emotion any more than you can stop the storm, but you can control how you react and take measures to deal with them better.
- Instead of trying to resist your emotions, recognize them without judgment.
- Once you’ve allowed yourself to experience the emotion, take a moment to reassess the situation and your reaction to it.
Practice the art of reappraisal.Ignoring your emotions will not help you deal with them more effectively, but neither will focusing on them too much.If you find yourself getting over-emotional, take a moment to acknowledge your emotions. Then think about the situation you are in, and try to figure out how you can view it in a more positive – or at least less catastrophic – way. To get on the right track, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are the positives about this situation? It can be hard to see any positives when you’re overwhelmed with stress. Try thinking of at least one good thing about your situation in the moment, even if it’s something as simple as being in good health or the weather being nice.
- What are the other ways I can look at this? Is my current viewpoint objective? It can help to imagine what a good friend would say to you about the situation.
- How can I think of this as a stimulating challenge rather than a problem?
Stabilize yourwholeself.Positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in such a way that having one helps you have the others, increasing your general happiness.In other words, when it comes to stabilizing your emotions, you can't ignore other areas of your life, like your friends and your physical health. Instead, focus on achieving "life stability," not just "emotional stability."
- In taking care of yourself, make sure you eat right, exercise, and do things you enjoy, whether it's by yourself or with others. Make sure you take a little bit of time each day for yourself so you can destress and stay your best.
- Remember that even negative emotions give you useful information about the overall state of your life. For example, if you feel stressed and tense all the time, this may be a sign that you need to take more time to relax and do things you enjoy.
View failures and setbacks as opportunities to grow.Failures and setbacks are a normal and healthy part of life. It’s difficult to succeed at any important effort in life without failing a few times. Take these setbacks as opportunities to learn, grow, and become stronger.
- Instead of focusing on the failure, think about what you did accomplish, and consider how you can use what you learned from the experience going forward.
- Take an introspective look at how you deal with failures and stressful situations. Do little things that go wrong drive you nuts, keeping you from seeing the bigger picture? What can you do to realize that you are in control?
Method 1 Quiz
Instead of trying to resist your emotions, you should first:
Modifying Your Thinking
Learn how to compartmentalize your thoughts.Those who are emotionally stable are fantastic at compartmentalizing – in other words, they're mavens at making sure the areas of their lives that are super stressful don't leak into the good parts of their lives, ruining everything that's going well. So if work sucks, make the active decision not to take it home with you. Realize that just because one aspect of your life isn't going how you'd like it to go doesn't mean that your entire life has to be affected.
- Take a look into yourself and think about what is riling up your emotions and knocking you off your horse. You can't isolate stress until you know where it's coming from.
Reframe your memories.Memories are not as stable as you may think. In fact, they can change each time you recall them.If you’re being bothered by a troublesome memory, make a conscious effort to reframe it in less negative way. Instead of dwelling on the negative emotions that you felt during the experience, pick a more neutral or positive aspect of the memory to focus on. With enough practice, you can build new associations around that memory.
- For example, if you keep thinking about the day you broke up with your girlfriend, try to focus on some other aspect of that day. E.g., what was the weather like? What were you wearing? What did you eat for breakfast?
Replace negative thoughts with neutral ones.If you’re used to thinking negatively about yourself, it can be hard to “think positive.” Instead, next time you think something negative, replace that thought with something more realistic. Once you get into the habit of thinking more realistically, it will be easier to start thinking positively.
- For example, instead of thinking, “I’m a horrible cook. I will never be good at this!” try telling yourself, “If I keep practicing, I will get better at cooking.” This is a more realistic thought, and also easier for a negatively-wired brain to accept than something like, “I am the best cook ever!”
Be mindful.“Mindfulness” is the art of being in the moment. When you are mindful, you are focusing on what is happening in the here and now, rather than fixating on the past or worrying about the future. All it takes is being self-aware and having a gentle understanding of yourself.
- Take time not only to be aware of what is happening around you at any given moment, but also to be aware of what you are feeling, physically and emotionally. Don’t judge your feelings – just notice them. For example, you might think to yourself, “My knee hurts. I’m feeling a little sad. The breeze feels nice.”
- A good way to find the quality of mindfulness is meditation. Focus on your breathing patterns, try not to think of anything else, and find your center. It's a break away from life that can help you see the bigger picture.
- If you’re not sure how to start, try a free mindfulness app, such as Insight Timer.
Question your thoughts and assumptions.The human mind has the fantastic ability to see, hear, and think what it wants – regardless of the reality of the situation.It's important to keep this in mind whenever you find yourself feeling an emotion you'd rather not be feeling. Take a few moments to assess the situation before jumping to conclusions and acting on your emotions.
- For example, if someone says something to you in an unfriendly tone of voice or gives you what seems like a dirty look, don’t jump to the conclusion that they dislike you or are angry at you. Sometimes people are unaware of how they look or sound to others.
- If you have a question about someone else’s feelings or intentions, the best way to clear the air is to ask. For example, you might ask, “What did you mean by that?” or, “Are you upset with me about something?”
Method 2 Quiz
In order to isolate stress, you must first:
Modifying Your Habits
Build social connections.You know the phrase, "It takes a village?" Well, it does. Emotions are better handled when you have a strong support group to help you get through them. When you know you have shoulders to lean on, it becomes easier to handle anything – even without their help.
- Talk therapy can be a very effective treatment for any emotional issue, and you don't necessarily need to go to a therapist to find it. When you get wrapped up in an emotional cocoon that you'd rather not be in, talk it out. You may find that getting the words out lets the emotion out, too.
Be around emotionally stable people.While having a wide social network is great, you want to be sure you're banking a net positive when it comes to that network. If you're constantly around people who have mood swings or aren't stable, you'll be better off meeting some new people. Drama can be surprisingly contagious, and can also be emotionally draining. If you find yourself regularly being pulled into your friends’ drama, try spending less time with those people or cutting off contact altogether, if necessary.
- When you're around people that are emotionally toxic, anxiety, mistrust, and even fear may start to feel normal. If you have a friend who leaves you drained and feeling down, they're probably a toxic friend.
Set healthy boundaries.If you’re feeling drained, stressed out, or overwhelmed by your relationship with another person, that may be a sign that you need to establish better boundaries. Setting boundaries might mean spending less time with the person, asking them to stop doing something that bothers you, or simply saying “no” to some of their requests.
- For example, you might say, “Susan, I’ve been feeling really stressed out about politics lately. Can we avoid that subject for a couple weeks?”
- The other person might be upset or disappointed, especially if they’re not used to you setting boundaries or telling them “no.” However, a good friend should respect your wishes, even if their feelings are a little hurt.
Own your emotions.You've probably been told before that "no one can make you angry but yourself," or something similar. And it's true – your feelings come from within you, and only you can choose how to react to them. Just because someone ran into your car doesn't mean theymadeyou feel a certain way. So the next time you get angry at someone, take a step back, consider where that feeling is coming from, and recognize that you have the power to choose how you react.
- Next time you have a moment when you feel like someone else is pushing you to your limit, instead of getting heated up, take a breath and step away. Don't have the argument. Don't make the obvious insult. Think it out and stay in your zone. You will feel better and more in control of the situation and your own emotions.
Look for signs of co-dependency in your relationships.Co-dependency can happen if you become too emotionally reliant on another person. Becoming aware of these tendencies is one of the first steps to overcoming them and becoming more emotionally independent. Once you start thinking of yourself as your own person with your own thoughts and feelings, you will begin to feel more in control of your emotions. Think about your relationships with friends, partners, and family members. The following are common signs of a co-dependent relationship:
Take care of yourself.If you're not eating, sleeping, and taking care of yourself, there's no way you can take care of your emotions. Before you even go about tackling the bad habits of your superego, you need to back up a bit. Take care of your primal needs first. You can't walk before you can run.
- Make sure you get plenty of sleep. The more well-rested you are, the better your mind can function. The better your mind can function, the more logical and stable you can remain.
- Eat a healthy diet. A crappy diet can make us feel just that – crappy. Filling your body with good, healthy foods will make it easier to think good, healthy thoughts.
- Exercise. As you probably know by now, exercise releases endorphins, the little happy-makers in your brain. If you're ever feeling down, go for a quick jog. Odds are the bad feelings will start to dissipate.
Treat yourself.While it’s important to be kind to others, it's just as important to be kind to yourself and take time to do the things you enjoy. When you're feeling a little down or out of control, treat yourself like you would a friend going through the same thing. Take your bad mood as a cue that you need to splurge on that concert or go get that ice cream.
- Enjoying the little things that please you makes it a lot easier to calm down, step back, and realize that you have it okay. Life may not be perfect, but treating yourself helps you realize that there are reasons to stay positive.
Wait it out.It can be helpful to remember that our formative years are often characterized by emotional chaos and a lack of feeling assured. In other words, the older you get, the more stable you'll likely become.With age comes wisdom, but also a sense of calm. So if you're still young, don't be too hard on yourself. Your peers are probably struggling with their emotions, too.
Get help, if you need it.If your emotions are causing you a lot of stress, or if they are interfering with your ability to work, go to school, or have stable relationships, seek help from a counselor or doctor. They may be able to help you with strategies for managing your emotions, or even identify and treat an underlying condition that might be making your emotions more unstable.
- If you have severe mood swings, talk to your doctor. Emotional instability can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as bipolar disorder, major depression, hormonal disorders like premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or thyroid problems.
Method 3 Quiz
Overly strong reactions to the moods and opinions of others may indicate that:
QuestionHow can I distract myself from my feelings of hopelessness in order to study?
Licensed Professional CounselorLicensed Professional CounselorExpert AnswerAcknowledge the feelings first and accept them. Re-frame your thoughts by realizing the resources you currently possess and get active. You may consider also doing some aerobic exercise to clear your mind and come back to the task at hand.Thanks!
QuestionIs it really important to be stable? I ignored my bad feelings until l reached a point where l couldn't push myself to do a simple task.
Licensed Professional CounselorLicensed Professional CounselorExpert AnswerSounds like you became depressed when you ignored your feelings. It would be best to acknowledge your feelings and engage in some self-care.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I overcome heartbreak?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou really just have to wait it out and try not to let it consume you. Keep yourself busy and don't think about it more than you have to. When you're ready, try dating again, but don't rush it.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I deal with failure in life and stay emotionally stable?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerEverybody fails. It's a part of life. The person you admire more than anyone in the world has failed, probably many, many times. Reflect for a little while on what you can learn from this failure and then let it go. Forget about it and move on, try again, etc.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I move on from someone I've made extraordinary memories with?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMake new extraordinary memories, either with someone else or by yourself. Distract yourself with things you enjoy and find fun. You'll always have those fond memories, but eventually it won't be so painful for you to think of them.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I eliminate stress?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDo something that makes you happy and relaxed to get your mind off of whatever is stressing you.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I become more emotionally stable if I am sleepless due to people harassing me over of some physical issues I have related to paralysis on one side of my body?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGet the support of your parents and never give up in life. Tell people who laugh at your that they are mean-spirited and need to expand their compassion. Believe in yourself, change the polarity and learn how to make a threat turn into an opportunity in life.Thanks!
QuestionIf eating junk makes someone feel bad, how is getting ice cream going to make you feel better?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIce cream isn't really that bad compared to junk food; it's yourself getting you to feel bad, not the stuff you eat.Thanks!
QuestionI'm very aware of my emotions. When I feel negative ones, I feel at times I must hurry up and let go of them. Is there a time frame to deal with my negative emotions?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you must take the time you need, otherwise you are ignoring it and it will build up and eventually bite your butt. Try to process your negative emotion and understand the cause of it. Once you understand the cause, you can try change whatever has caused it (if possible), or at least learn from it so that you do not get yourself in that situation again. After this point, there is no need to dwell.Thanks!
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