Emotional self-control to manage anxiety

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Robert Maurer


Emotional self-control to manage anxiety

In the chaotic world we live in, it is essential to learn to calm the mind in order to manage situations that cause anxiety. To do this, it is possible to implement a series of emotional self-control techniques. Let's find out which ones.

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

Emotional self-control for anxiety management starts from a fundamental premise: in a world of variables that are beyond our control, it is important to learn and keep at bay the aspects that depend on us. What are we talking about? Mainly of our emotional states.

We live in a reality dominated by uncertainties and constant changes. No wonder that anxiety and stress have become protagonists in the lives of the majority of the population, and with them the psychological challenges that arise from it. We are now used to living in chaos, not knowing how to react to what happens to us, feeling control slip from our hands.

But even in the midst of this flurry of sometimes disconcerting emotions and feelings, it is possible to react by developing emotional self-control. Calming the mind through the right strategies will be like lighting a beacon that illuminates the world around us.

Managing emotions is a lifesaver that can help us get back to the surface after difficulties. It allows us to understand how to fight anxiety in the worst moments.

What is emotional self-control to manage anxiety?

In recent years they have increased studies on how good emotional self-control affects the perception of anxiety. The area of ​​self-awareness and the control of psychophysiological states are key elements in combating anxiety disorder. But there is a detail not to be forgotten.

When we speak of "self-control" we tend to associate the term with concepts such as "containment, repression or attempt to dominate something, in the face of a high energy expenditure". This is wrong.

Controlling emotions means identifying, accepting and regulating them. It's not about repressing suffering or hiding anger a priori, but analyzing those feelings and understanding what's behind it. Only when we fully understand what hurts us will we be able to reduce its negative impact.

The study carried out at the University of Arkansas indicates that anxiety and fear are one side of the same coin today. Fear is nothing more than a defensive emotion that serves to warn us.

By educating the person in the field of emotional self-control we will facilitate a better management of these psychological conditions. Here are some key points about emotional self-control of anxiety.

It is not about avoiding, but about accepting

Unfortunately, we are used to avoiding at all costs everything that disturbs us, hurts us or worries us. We are all too adept at avoiding annoying emotions, without thinking that by doing so we end up intensifying them further. An example: often the simple idea behind a threat scares us much more than the threat itself.

Or again, the anxiety about an upcoming exam is often out of proportion to the actual difficulty of the test. The first technique of emotional self-control therefore consists in accepting every emotion, giving it the right space. Let's accept them for what they are: psychophysiological states with a concrete purpose.

Fear is for action. The anxiety to take action to resolve a situation that generates anguish. Sadness brings introspection, reflection and awareness. Anger, for its part, spurs us to eradicate the element that takes away our calm.

Focus on what we can control, accept what is not up to us

Life is made up of challenges, twist of fate and unexpected complications. We don't have the ability to control most of these events, the only thing we can do is deal with them in the best possible way. This is where our emotions come in.

  • We have the right to feel fear, anger, astonishment and despair… But let's not let these states block us.
  • We have control over ourselves as well we have to direct our reactions towards a specific purpose: to adapt to what is happening. Adapting does not mean giving up, but responding appropriately to be able to move forward with balance, intelligence and resilience.

Emotional self-control of anxiety: becoming aware of your emotions

In the face of anxiety and anguish, we have the habit of withdrawing or reacting disproportionately (as through a panic attack).

A good strategy for working on emotional self-control of anxiety involves becoming aware of the present moment and releasing emotions. How? Here are some tips:

  • What are you feeling right now? Grab a pen and paper and write down your thoughts and feelings. Try to analyze them and rationalize your ideas.
  • If you are aware that you are on the defensive and in constant state of alert, as if something bad is going to happen, ask for help. Talk to someone you trust to address fears and concerns together.
  • For days you have been having a whirlwind of thoughts in your head, you are tense, your body hurts and your mind seems to burst. The time has come to release some tension ... Play sports, go for a walk or run or engage in a creative activity. 

To conclude, these strategies are not enough to permanently combat anxiety disorders, but they are a good support for managing daily anxiety and stress attacks. Keep them in mind and apply them when you feel the need.

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