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How can I learn to control my emotions when I don't even know what they are?

257 Answers
Last Updated: 04/20/2020 at 6:41pm
★ This question about Managing Emotions was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Shawn Wilson, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I provide supportive counseling and psychotherapy. I utilize cognitive-behavioral and solution focused strategies to address client concerns. Personal coaching is available.

Top Rated Answers
January 17th, 2016 10:58pm
Accept the feeling even if you cannot label them and be nice to yourself. Trying to push against them will only make them persist.
January 24th, 2016 1:18am
The easiest way to control our emotions is to think of the consequences that we might have to face if we display them. You might not know the exact emotions going through you but you might have a general idea of what is troubling you. When I go through such moments, I take time to sit down, meditate for a while and try to organize my mind.I go through things that bother me and find out the exact reason for my distress.This helps me sort my emotions and if I know what is troubling me then I can go further ahead and try to find a solution to the cause of my unhappiness.
January 24th, 2016 6:32pm
Feel what your body is doing, tense or relaxed muscles, fast or slow heart beat, and shallow or deep breathing, and see if noticing what your body is doing helps calm extreme or long felt emotional states
January 27th, 2016 4:31pm
This is a good one! Something I have found that helps for me is writing. I have several of those college ruled 70 page notebooks that one might buy for school, and I have a lot of pens. I basically always have a notebook that I am currently writing in, and whenever I feel a certain way, I just sit down and write for a while! This REALLY helps me when I can't seem to figure out what exactly I feel, but I know I feel bad. I might feel angry for what seems like no reason, which makes me even more upset! But, after writing about my day for a while, I eventually am able to write about why I feel angry. Writing has helped me understand myself so much, and it helps me calm down :) It allows me to say things that are hard to say out loud, and it is a place to get everything off my chest. I keep these notebooks private, and my friends and family respect that. I can also share my notebook with certain people if i choose so! It is really up to you what to write about and when to write. I start my entries with the date and time, and then just let loose! Sometimes I write in sentences, other times I just write lists of thoughts to get them all out of my head. I can always go back later and read what I wrote, and usually I can see even more clearly why I felt the way I did. It is all about learning yourself really, and getting in touch with your mind. With writing, I have learned to recognize patterns in my emotions, and I can see certain things in my life that affect me. It is a great feeling being able to calm myself down through writing. And I am usually able to come up with my own solutions to how I am feeling, therefore controlling my emotions better as time goes on. Maybe you can give it a try! If you don't like to write, you could also type a little bit of your thoughts out on the computer! You also don't have to save what you write, you could throw it out if you wished, but getting it out and getting a clear mind will definitely help you feel more in control! :)
January 28th, 2016 5:51am
You can control your emotions by relaxing. You may feel depressed or not your usual self and the best way answer is to calm down and take a deep breath. Also, express what you feel by writing, painting, or doing your favorite hobby.
January 30th, 2016 1:16am
Personally I dance and it helps me to let my emotions out. Put all my power into my moves. Just to dance I feel weight less. When im angry or sad I dance.
January 30th, 2016 4:08pm
Be sensitive about yourself. You obviously can't control emotions if you are not aware of what's the root of a certain thing that leads to your certain emotion.
February 2nd, 2016 3:54pm
If you are teenager, just take it easy, emotions are like bubbles, first they are just flying around, flowing free, and then, boom, dissapear... Its magic :) we cant explain perfectly how our brains work, just give it time...
February 5th, 2016 7:40pm
Why do you want to control your emotions ? C'mon, emotions are meant to be expressed and if it's a positive one it may make ones day.
February 7th, 2016 7:37pm
It is all about learning what emotion is what, once you start to learn and understand your emotions, it may become easier to "control" them, If you don't know what they are you can't control them. Take care!!
February 10th, 2016 5:18pm
Think of ways of coping. For example breathe in and out, or writing a story based on you, or even a story from random. Talking to your friends, family or teachers. Homework or studying. Basically focusing yourself to something else rather than your feelings.
February 11th, 2016 4:37pm
It's difficult sometimes to learn how to control something you don't know very clearly about. And like many other forces on Earth, you can only master it when you know how it works, its patterns. So I suggest the first step in learning to managing your emotions is to define them. Different ways work with different people but one of the most effective and common ways is to keep a journal. You can write about your emotions, how certain people/behaviors/situation make you feel, answering questions like Should I be feeling like this? Are my emotions too shaky/more on the negative side? Soon enough, you will be able to see a pattern - how you would feel around certain things or people. situation. From then, you can sit down and reflect on each of them, figuring out how to control your emotions the next time you encounter similar scenarios,
April 25th, 2016 7:02am
I start by writing everything I feel and think. I use a pen that I enjoy the feel of and I write and write until things start to make sense. It is a release, for me. As I write, my thoughts start to organize themselves and I find myself more in control of myself.
July 12th, 2016 11:43am
First of all, you have to stop overthinkng about what your emotions may be.....then get some deep breathes and calmly think what possibilities of your emotions maybe....when you come at this point you'll get a strong feeling on what emotion it could be or sometimes it happens that you know what you feel but you can't accept it so try to embrace whatever you feel your emotion is and then think of how you can avoid it
October 3rd, 2016 4:36pm
To control our emotions we first have to figure out and know what they are. Life can through fast balls and curve balls and take us on an emotional roller coaster. Once we define what we’re feeling the next step is to accept it in all its glory; both the good and the bad. Know that what you want to learn to control isn’t the emotion, but rather your reaction to. Our reaction to situations can either work towards making the situation better or fueling the fire of a downward spiral. For example, if I’m feeling stress over money. Complaining and worry isn’t going to do anything for my emotional welfare. It’s time to throw all of my possible solutions on the table and begin to piece the puzzle together. Learning to control our reactions will keep those emotions in check.
October 3rd, 2019 2:55am
I too agree that emotions are weird things that are hard to control. To me, it is very difficult to control your emotions, but it is really easy for your emotions to control you. The number of times that wonder to myself why I did what I did further proves this. Not knowing what you are feeling makes it difficult to control your emotions, but not impossible. Sometimes, I feel like doing nothing and either ignore the feelings or wait for them to pass. Other times I try to control my emotions by looking at the cause and affect. I concentrate on what I am feeling and think, is a good emotion or a bad emotion? Do I want to feel this emotion again? I then try to identify the cause of the emotion. If it is a positive emotion, I either do nothing or try to repeat the cause/trigger of the emotion. If it is a negative emotion I try to prevent the cause/trigger from happening again.
April 20th, 2020 6:41pm
What has been happening that makes you feel you need to control them? When you look at each and every situation that has brought you to this point, what is the common denominator? Find out what that is and try to resolve it from there. If there isn't one single one, that is okay! In my experience, when I needed to inspect myself, there were a lot of different emotions that I needed to look at and try my best to control. It may take you a while, but that's okay! It took a while for me, but I took as much time as I needed for each "chaotic" kind of emotion, and was able to help each. I can't say they're all gone, but I'm working towards each and every single one!