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Emotional Self-Control

We all have the ability to activate our emotional self-control. It can be innate or acquired - but its goal is to ensure that our emotions do not overwhelm us.

Lack of emotional self-control is often associated with aggressive people or dominant personalities. But in reality, we all lose control at some point. And this means that we do not achieve our goals and sabotage ourselves. The most important thing is to learn how to recognize these strong emotions and use the right techniques to control them. For example, lack of emotional self-control are: Trouble with a customer or colleague or constantly changing goals because we feel insecure.

Every event and every thought triggers a physical and emotional reaction. This can be appropriate to the situation or, on the contrary, insufficient or even exaggerated. If a stimulus is too strong, it can cause the physical or emotional symptoms that cause the person to suffer.

Emotional self-control does not mean "not having emotions" or "not being oneself," as some people spontaneously state. Learning to handle emotions correctly contributes to the development of our emotional intelligence and helps us to deal better with ourselves and others and to achieve our goals. Through emotional self-control we learn to recognize our motivations and become aware of the interplay and the relationship between emotions, thoughts and behaviour.

Let's take an example. Peter (name changed) is 37 years old and was recently promoted to head of department. After his professional advancement he had developed physical and psychological symptoms. At first glance, this reaction seems paradoxical, because when he learned of his promotion, he was pleased, proud and grateful for the recognition of his work.

The reason why Peter came under pressure because of the new situation was that he was afraid that his colleagues who were suddenly his subordinates would lose respect for him. At the same time, he was afraid of disappointing his superiors, because they trusted him. Peter had observed that there were clearly disloyal, incorrect behaviors in the team that affected work performance. However, fearing reprisals or negative remarks about him, he was unable to talk to his former colleagues about it. He was afraid that they would call him a bad boss, authoritarian or no longer "the same" because of his new position. His thoughts went round in circles: "You will not respect me", "You will call me a bad boss", "I am not good enough to lead them and be a great boss"... His restlessness increased and his concentration at work decreased greatly.

This negative mental concatenation led Peter to physical symptoms such as palpitations, shortness out of breath and muscle tension. He was in a rage. Wherever possible, he avoided complicated situations and confrontations. He became increasingly dissatisfied and his suffering and constant fear grew steadily.

Peter learned the following techniques to interrupt his spiral of fear. These exercises were about him learning how to control his impulses and reactions and how to master them again.