5 Simple Tips for Managing Your Emotions Through Meditation

Nearly each and every day offers a unique opportunity—the opportunity to scream, shout, and throw a tantrum about something. Did someone cut you off on the freeway? You could shout. Did someone in front of you at the grocery store pay in pennies and spend seemingly hours counting them out? You feel like screaming. Did your boss just inform you that the project you’ve been working on for months is no longer needed? That’s tantrum-worthy, for sure. It takes work to live in this world as a human being and not blow up when faced with anger-provoking moments.

And what about the other types of emotional moments? Think about all of the other extreme emotions you could experience throughout your day. You may feel heart-wrenching sadness when you’re reminded of a lost loved one. You might feel utter frustration when you can’t open a jar of marinara sauce. Your heart may want to burst with delight when you’re snuggling with your puppy.

Managing Your Emotions

When faced with a difficult moment, managing strong or negative emotions is not about suppressing them. You need to feel what you feel. However, it is possible to honor your emotions without acting out unskillfully, like flying off the handle when you get angry or falling into a spiral of sadness or anxiety when you get bad news.

Thankfully, a meditation practice can help you gain emotional control—day in and day out. By practicing in your mind, you can handle moments with skill when you face them in real life.

If your idea of meditation is to sit on a cushion and clear your mind, your practice might not be giving your brain the workout it needs to skillfully control your emotions.

Here are some tips for using meditation as a practice ground for emotion regulation.

1. Find an Anchor

Thanks to the fact that you’re born with a human brain, you can’t really control your mind. Some refer to it as the “monkey mind,” in fact, because it often jumps from place to place with no rhyme or reason, similar to how a monkey jumps from branch to branch.

When the mind is jumping around, it’s not easy to manage strong emotions. You may get caught up in a story that leads you down an anger-provoking path, and that path may lead to another story that riles you up even more

Think of your mind like a snow globe; when you let it settle down, you can see more clearly. You can calm amplified emotions when you still the mind. You can be in the moment instead of spinning in your head.

You can practice calming the mind by focusing on something during your meditation. Each time your mind wanders away from your focal point, gently nudge it back. When you bring your focus back to one anchor, again and again, you’re doing the brain version of bicep curls. You’re strengthening neuro-pathways that make it easier to come back to the present and not get caught up in your monkey mind.