How to Manage Your Emotions During Times of Stress


There is something that happens to everyone when they begin to feel stressed out. An emotional roller coaster begins to operate.

You might feel energized when the stress first hits. Some people even feel creative. Over time, the good feelings go away like an afternoon crash after eating lunch.

You begin to feel exhausted. Simple things might make you angry. Even though you feel tired, you struggle to get to sleep because you’re worried or anxious about what is causing your stress.

We cannot eliminate stress completely from our lives. What we can do is manage how we emotionally react to stress when it occurs.

By being aware of our emotional states, we can prevent the roller coaster from starting. In return, there is lower anxiety, less anger, and more energy to enjoy.

Seven Tips & Tricks for Managing Your Emotions Successfully

Below are some of the methods that you can implement right now to ease your frustration with whatever is bothering you.

#1. Label Your Negative Feelings and Emotions

Labeling your emotions can help you determine which area of your thoughts you should focus on.

The tendency that we all have when stress comes around is to ignore the difficult stuff. We encounter something stressful, then feel something negative, and we shove it down somewhere in an attempt to ignore it.

If you store negative energy, it will fester into difficult emotions over time. Try to ignore too much negativity and it will eventually explode out of you in a tidal wave of energy.

To prevent this from happening, it is important to label your negative feelings. Embrace the emotions you experience when something stressful happens. Do not generalize your emotions.

By giving it a label, you’re creating the first step of a plan to make things better. You put yourself onto a path that leads to personal growth and eventual freedom.

#2. Write Down Your Feelings and Thoughts

A visual list of your thoughts and emotions can act as a form of stress release.

Far too often, emotions are processed without any words being associated with them. Think about it like this: if you tell someone that you love them, you’ll get a very different response than if you say nothing at all, leaving the other person to assume how you feel.

Writing things down eliminates the uncertainty which happens during communication. When stressful situations come around, it is important for your logical mind to communicate with your emotional mind.

Keeping a daily journal or diary of your emotions and reactions to stress will help you process the information in the environment around you. If there are patterns to your anger, joy, and sadness, you’ll be able to spot them.

Most importantly, you’ll be getting those emotions out instead of stuffing them somewhere inside.

#3. Find a Way to Control the Situation Whenever Possible

Know what is you can control and what you can’t and forget about the latter.

The reason why stress becomes such an impactful experience is that it occurs in situations that are often outside of our control. If someone goes through a stop sign and almost hits your vehicle, you’re forced into a reactive response.

To control stress, you must shift from being reactive to becoming proactive.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you know that your boss gets upset if a project is turned in late. You know that a deadline is coming tomorrow. If you can turn in your work today instead, you’ll be proactively stopping stress in your life.

Always look for pieces of a situation that can be under your control. Then take control of it to limit your stress response.

#4. Keep Everything in a Perspective That is Realistic.

Wrong impressions are often the cause of stress.

Have you ever heard of the expression, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill?” That means the problems that we think are big are really small. We often panic when stress arrives, which alters our personal perception of what is happening in the present moment.

To keep a realistic perspective during stressful situations, think of how concerned you’ll be a year from now. Or 2 years from now. Or 3 months from now. Take an honest look into the future to see if you’ll care about the incident you’re dealing with today.

Our deepest stressors tend to come from trivial events. If we take a whole-life look at a situation instead of one that happens in-the-moment, it becomes easier to manage our stressful emotions because we have the correct perspective.

#5. Look for Healthy Ways to Distract Yourself

Exercise tends to relax both body and mind.

There are times when the stress isn’t going to go away. To avoid having an emotional reaction that could be negative, it can be helpful to find distractions that will take you out of the stressful world for a few minutes.

There are healthy distractions and unhealthy distractions. We need to use the former, not the latter, whenever possible.

A healthy distraction might be listening to a few of your favorite songs. An unhealthy distraction might be to eat an entire quart of triple chocolate ice cream.

The goal of a distraction is to reset your emotional state. Your stress isn’t going away. You are simply changing your mindset, through distraction, to get to a point where you can begin to cope with what is stressing you out.

Other healthy distractions include walking the dog, jogging, playing a game with a loved one, or cleaning the house.

If you use this option, remember to come back to the stressful emotions to cope with them.

#6. Talk It Out

Sharing is caring.

Having close relationships with family and friends is good for your health. When you encounter a stressful situation, it can be helpful to talk with someone you trust to balance your emotional state.

Talking about what you feel will also help you gain a different perspective on whatever happens to be going on.

Social relationships can improve your outlook during a stressful situation. It is important to remember, however, that unloading on someone constantly when you feel stressed out is not healthy for the other person.

You feel better, of course, because you are able to vent about your stressful frustrations. In the meantime, your counterpart has just absorbed all of that negative energy from you. Now they need to do something with it.

Emotional venting can be very therapeutic. It can also be devastating to a relationship when it is always a one-sided experience. Don’t take all your stress to one person. You might even find it helpful to join a group that meets regularly to discuss stressful situations that are similar to what you encounter.

#7. Get to Know Your Spiritual Side.

Learn to bring calmness into your life.

There are many ways to embrace the spiritual side of life. Some use religion or prayer. Others practice meditation. Some people look at the world of science to find answers to their spiritual questions.

Use what works for you. When you embrace your spiritual side, one of the natural side effects is a reduction of stress.

Spirituality helps you to manage your emotions during times of stress by encouraging you to look at a bigger picture. You learn to find ways to forgive yourself. It can give you a sense of purpose that leads you toward what you feel is most important in your life.

This option is not a one-and-done solution. Spirituality must be cultivated for it to be effective.

How you cultivate it is up to you. From religious worship to a long walk down a nature trail, the options here are numerous. Just choose something that is meaningful to you, then build the activity into your daily routine.

Managing emotions during stressful incidents is possible. That doesn’t mean that it is easy. You’ll need to recognize your negative energy, then do something about it. These ideas will help you take the first steps in the right direction.