Our emotions will affect how we think, what we say, and what we do. Whether we can regulate and control our emotions can have a huge impact on our relationships.
Whilst it’s important to never repress emotions, we can take steps to better manage our feelings. This can help us communicate better in our relationships, leading to a stronger, healthier bond.
Below, we explore some tips to better control your emotions in a relationship.
Pause before you act or speak
Pausing before you act or speak is one of the most important ways of controlling your emotions in a relationship. It can be all too easy when you’re hurt or angry to react and say or do something in the heat of the moment that you later regret.
This can just result in making the situation worse. So, instead, take a moment – consider what will likely happen if you do or say your initial reaction. Will it help matter or will it create more problems?
Take deep breaths
Taking deep breaths might sound too simplistic, but it’s an easy way to help control emotions. When you’re upset, you’ll likely go into flight or fight mode. This can make it a challenge to deal with a situation calmly.
When you regulate your breathing, you can help regulate your nervous system. It can reduce feelings of anger and stress and help you to feel calmer. When you’re calmer, you’ll be able to process and regulate your emotions easier. You’ll be able to approach the issue with a clearer mind.
Identify and process your emotions
This one can be tricky, but it’s important. You’ll need to be able to identify what you’re feeling. This will help you to process and manage your emotions better.
For example, if your partner says or does something that makes you upset, take a second to try to determine exactly what it is you’re feeling. Are you angry? Are you frustrated? Perhaps you’re anxious or sad, maybe you feel neglected or ignored. You should try to remain objective when you observe your emotions, without judgement.
Being able to identify exactly what you’re feeling will also help when you communicate with your partner. You’ll be able to explain exactly how you’re feeling and what the issue is. You should try to identify and process your positive emotions as well as your negative feelings, to help obtain better emotional balance overall.
Observe your partner’s emotions
You and your partner are a team. As important as it is to observe your own emotions, you should also look at your partner’s emotions. Of course, the best course of action will be for you both to be able to communicate your feelings with each other. However, taking a moment to identify how your partner might be feeling about a situation can help to guide your next steps.
It can be easy to get caught up in our own emotions. Recognising that there are two people in this relationship and both of you will have your own feelings can help to improve your communication.
Identify your triggers
Learning what triggers your emotions can help you to manage them better. It’s not always easy to determine what has made you feel a certain way. You might have to look back at past situations and analyse what happened to trigger the emotions you felt.
Keeping a journal can be a good way of observing your triggers. You can also look back on previous relationships to work out why you might now have feelings of jealousy or abandonment. Once you’ve identified the things that trigger your overwhelming negative emotions, communicate them with your partner.
Together, you can find ways to avoid triggers or manage the emotions that occur if the situation is unavoidable. You may find that you’re projecting feelings that were initiated from a previous relationship onto your current one. Recognising this can help you to manage your feelings better.
Don’t hold on to the negatives
It’s important to work through and process negative situations – you shouldn’t just ignore them. However, you shouldn’t dwell on them either. If a negative experience, such as a misunderstanding or conflict, has since been dealt with, you should let it go.
Dwelling on the negative will build up feelings of resentment and put more strain on your relationship. If you feel like the situation hasn’t been dealt with properly, you should communicate this with your partner, and explain how you feel. Once you have reached a resolution, you should then be prepared to let it go and move on.
Communicate without accusing
Healthy communication is a vital part of every healthy relationship. Both of you should feel comfortable discussing your feelings, both positive and negative.
When you discuss a potentially negative situation or conflict, you should take care not to accuse your partner. Focus on your feelings, using statements that begin “I feel…” or “I think…”. Of course, there may be things your partner does that triggers certain emotions. But being too aggressive or accusatory will likely make your partner feel defensive, and you’ll end up not being able to communicate with each other properly.
Keep a calm tone
As well as the words you use, the tone you speak with is also important. When you’re upset, it’s too easy to default to shouting. However, again, going into a conversation at this level isn’t conducive to healthy communication. When you shout at someone, they’ll likely shout back at you, and things can get out of control.
Even if you’re upset or angry, try to maintain a calm and even tone. Your partner will likely mirror back the tone you speak with, so it can mean you can both speak clearly to each other.
Try to look at the facts
Sometimes our emotions can get the better of us. When we’re feeling extremely sad, angry, or anxious, our feelings can obscure the facts of a situation. It can be a challenge, but taking the time to analyse what’s actually happened can help us to manage our emotions better.
It will still be important to identify and process your emotions, as we’ve already discussed. But it’s equally important to understand the facts and make sure we understand the situation objectively. Sometimes this will involve looking at a situation ourselves, but it can also involve listening to our partner’s viewpoint.
Step away if needed
Sometimes, we need space to be able to properly regulate our emotions. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in a situation, explain to your partner that you need some space. Taking some time away can help you to look back on what’s happened with a clearer mind, once your emotions have settled.
It’s important not to storm off if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Instead, communicate to your partner why you feel it’s best to take a step back and come back to the issue at another time. You might find that after taking some space, you’re both able to communicate better and resolve the issue.
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