Sometimes it can be really, really hard to master your emotions. This is especially true when you’re under tremendous pressure. When faced with someone who is confrontational at work, the other stupid drivers on the road, or tough opponents in a Tae Kwon Do tournament, it can be really hard to keep your cool and master your emotions.  Not that you will be successful in every situation, but you can learn to control a lot of them.  So, how do you do it?

5 Tips to Master Your Emotions

  1. Practice makes perfect.  If you have to give a speech, or face a tough opponent, the more often you do it, the easier it will get.  Part of the reason is that your body learns what it feels like.  You also learn how to overcome that surge of anger at being bested and learn to deal with it.  If you’ve never practiced, a tournament isn’t the time to start practicing.
  2. Realize that you are going to have to deal with stupid people.  This one is particularly true when dealing with traffic, or large numbers of other people in crowd situations.  There’s no point in getting upset with a cow for being dumb.  Cows are just cows.  They’re not going to quit being bovines no matter how loudly you scream.  You’ll just give yourself a headache.  It just isn’t worth it. Accept that the other drivers are like proverbial cows.  And so are crowds of people.  You can’t change them.
  3. Don’t intentionally go into stressful situations hungry or tired.  You’re never at your best when hungry or tired.  I know that I could quite easily snap someone’s head off and snack on it when I’m particularly hungry or tired.  In fact, my husband will slowly back away from me, and feed me when I get into that mood.
  4. Make yourself count to 5 or 10 before reacting to someone or something.  This has the interesting psychological effect of making you think of something else, and distraction is great at helping you calm down.  I find that making myself not react immediately to whatever is going on means that I avoid the risk of reacting really badly to others’ poor behavior.
  5. Avoid certain situations and triggers.  There are certain situations that are going to set us off no matter what.  That’s when we learn to simply avoid those triggers, and situations.  For instance, I know that my husband loathes driving in heavy traffic.  I do my best to avoid having him drive during rush hour traffic.  That may mean that I drive, or alter the schedule so that he doesn’t have to experience it.  I may know that certain clothes make me snappish and irritable because of their texture or fit.  Therefore I get rid of those clothes and don’t wear them.  (It’s a sensory thing, trust me, certain shirts can drive me bonkers just being on my skin.)  I know that when I’m wearing stuff that annoys me, I’m a bear to live with.  So, I avoid doing that, since I know I’ll be paying for it for months.

What about you?  What tips do you have to master your emotions?  What do you do when you get super irritated?  How do you avoid getting that way in the first place?  What things always annoy the daylights out of you?