Getting Naked—Emotionally: 3 Simple Steps to Master Your Emotions

If emotional nakedness got as much attention as physical nakedness, we’d be much happier.

Of course, it’s not about baring your soul and putting your emotions behind a loudspeaker, it’s about being in-tune with your emotions — being as familiar and aware of your emotional self as you are with your physical self.

But it’s not as easy because they’re not as obvious. Emotions can arise mysteriously and be misleading, often going against your better judgment. You get angry over what’s fickle, upset with what’s spoken in jest, and fall in love with the wrong people.

Happiness comes in being congruent with your emotions, to be aligned with them. Oscar Wilde said, “I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, and to enjoy them.”

Emotions can be broken down into 3 major components:

  • Subjective: your perception, awareness, and experience of the emotion.
  • Physiological: how your body reacts to the emotion.
  • Expressive: your actions and behavioral response to the emotion.

In order to master your emotions and these three components, here are 3 effective strategies:

1. Notice & Label

Self-awareness is the beginning of change. Label your emotions as they arise. Say what you’re feeling out loud. Do it without any judgement. Imagine stepping outside yourself and watching yourself process the emotion. This is key for creating a break in “acting on your feelings;” realizing that your actions are not at the mercy of what you’re feeling.

When this strategy was applied by people with spider phobia, researchers found that they had lower physiological reactivity. It’s like hitting the release button on a pressure valve.

2. Reframe & Replace

As you label and become more aware, start reframing your emotions and your situation to ensure they’re working to your advantage.

Begin to ‘listen’ and see every emotion as your helpful little messenger, steering you to the best possible scenario. Rather than avoid and shut out negative emotions, reframing turns frustration into a teacher for patience; anxiety becomes preparation and a precursor for courage; sadness and rejection becomes excitement about a redirection.

Another effective strategy is to see someone who’s angry with you as having a bad day. Reframing techniques are ancient, Marcus Aurelius said, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

3. Breath & Stand Tall

Tony Robbin’s popular teaching and phrase “motion begets emotion” highlights your ability to manipulate your emotions through changing your physical state. A forced smile or laugh will still cause the brain to release endorphins; power poses are now common practices; yoga practitioners teach breathing techniques and physical postures for inner change.

When negative emotions arise and you’re struggling to push through them. Change your physiology — close your eyes and take in a few deep breaths; take a power pose; smile; do ten push-ups; or go for a walk.

Changing your body will help to readjust your emotions.

13 Responses to “Getting Naked—Emotionally: 3 Simple Steps to Master Your Emotions”

  1. January 15, 2015

    Russell Reply

    Thai, this is another example of Think/Be/Do integration. Pay attention to reality, reflect on your actual identity and allegiances in light of that identity, and then act in accordance with that informed identity.

    • January 18, 2015

      [email protected] Reply

      Great connection Russ — I hadn’t even noticed. The frequency of the framework certainly highlights its effectiveness.

  2. […] go can be difficult, but you’ll torture yourself mentally and emotionally by holding on. Breathe deep, and let it go. Life doesn’t always follow the script; rules are […]

  3. […] Emotional awareness is key. Begin to observe your feelings, label them as they arise, describe your experience as if you’re interviewing yourself. As you master and become more familiar with your inner-self, you’ll start to better perceive and intuit what someone else is going through. […]

  4. […] go can be difficult, but you’ll torture yourself mentally and emotionally by holding on. Breathe deep, and let it go. Life doesn’t always follow the […]

  5. […] go can be difficult, but you’ll torture yourself mentally and emotionally by holding on. Breathe deep, and let it go. Life doesn’t always follow the script — rules are […]

  6. October 1, 2015

    Randy B Reply

    These are worth living by ” 3 Simple Steps to Master Your Emotions”

  7. October 4, 2015

    Rose Costas Reply

    Thanks for such a great read. I think the lack of control is what makes most of us react so very negatively to our emotions.

    • October 5, 2015

      [email protected] Reply

      Thanks Rose. For sure, using these strategies to place yourself in an active role and in control rather than passive is key.

  8. October 5, 2015

    Joe Lee Reply

    Changing your physiology may not be as effective as it sounds. I won’t deny that it won’t help, but emotions has a lot more power and attachment. It may not be as simple as changing your state of physical. Lately I just experience intense emotion, and it’s not as simple as changing my state.

    • October 5, 2015

      [email protected] Reply

      Hi Joe, I agree, emotions are very powerful, and I’d never advocate a one-dimensional approach to mastering your emotions. Hence the multi-dimensional approach: to breathe and change your physiology needs to be combined noticing and labeling; reframing and replacing.

  9. October 8, 2016

    Coryanne Hicks Reply

    It’s funny how you can discover things at just the right time. A part of me wishes I’d read this article when you first posted it, but another part of me is glad I didn’t so I could discover it for the first time right now, when I need messages like: “Begin to ‘listen’ and see every emotion as your helpful little messenger, steering you to the best possible scenario” more than ever. I love the idea of reframing your negative emotions as opposed to only trying to make them go away. Reminds me of the book The Gift of Fear. We become so busy with our conscious chatter we forget to listen to the subconscious chatter. Thank you for this, Thai!

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