Like anything else you want to master, learning to control your emotions takes practice.
Luckily, there are some tools you can use to make the process easier. I’ll get to those. But first, you have to know this.
If you’re bad at controlling your emotions, it probably means you’ve been taught methods that require you to deny and/or deaden sensations in your body.
When you deny or deaden the sensations in your body, there are two possible outcomes.
- The amount of emotion in your body overwhelms your capacity to deny it, and it flies out of you in a destructive way. (Toward yourself, others, or things)
- You are so unaware of feeling, and tense in your body, that you don’t feel anything, including joy, happiness or love in your relationships.
In the first instance, you are out of control and probably have “anger management” issues. In the other, you are dead inside; the world is blah.
Next you need to understand something about regulating emotional energy.
Regulating the energy of feelings/emotions is no different than regulating the energy of, how do I say this delicately… big bathroom-business and small bathroom-business, or #1 and #2, if you catch my drift.
I know that might sound like a stretch, but bear with me.
When you were young, you were taught to control your bowels as a normal part of regulating your body. One of the first lessons was that there is a special place to do that business. It involved going somewhere private and letting go of the energy that had built up in your body.
Well, the energy of emotions is no different. Sometimes, the energy is “#1” type energy and it’s no big deal to get rid of. It can be quick and easy. It doesn’t stink up the place, and nobody “knows” about it. Maybe you work out, get a drink after work, or watch some comedy that makes you laugh a lot.
Sometimes though, the energy is “#2” type energy, and getting rid of “#2” type energy is more difficult to conceal. It can leave a stench, or worse.
If you are like most people, when you have to do #2 business, you are conscientious about when and where you do it.
The process is the same with certain types of emotional energy.
You find a private time and place and get rid of the excess energy built up in your body.
Here are two very powerful tools you can use to do so.
1. Pounding – Stand in front of a soft surface like a bed, couch or foam cube, arch backwards with arms overhead and discharge by hitting the surface with your forearms and fists, or a tennis racket, and yelling or exhaling strongly until you are exhausted.
2. Adult tantrum – Lie on your back on a thick mat or mattress. Simultaneously perform the following 3 movements. Kick your legs, slamming your heels into the mat one-at-a-time. At the same time, alternate slamming your arms and fists at your side and above your head. Lastly, shake your head back and forth while exhaling loudly or yelling.
An important caveat regarding these movements. They are not meant to be a communication. If you are angry or overwhelmed, it is appropriate to perform these movements, but not in front of the person you are angry with. You must pick a private time and place for them.
Additionally, regarding the idea that performing these actions is “out of control.”
What you must remember about deliberately taking the time and making a private space for these actions is that by doing so, you are IN CONTROL of them. In the same way you are in control of when you decide to take care of your #2 business. You might feel out of control of the feelings, but by choosing the time and place for the movements, you are in total control of yourself.
Any hesitation or reticence you have to perform these actions in a private time and place is about something other than whether you are “in control” or not.
Any questions? Give me a call. I’ll explain it all in much greater detail.
p.s. Chapter 8 of my book, Emotional Utopia, is all about putting bioenergetic exercises to work for you. If you are interested, I’ll send you a copy. Just shoot me an email.