how to control your emotions in relationships and at work


They are essential. They motivate us to take decisions and action. Recognizing emotions in others helps you communicate without words. You can understand them, and they can understand you.

And yet, they often are the root cause of suffering.

We begin something with positive emotions and good intentions. Slowly, we discover that the garden was not as rosy as we pictured. We lose control of emotions, lose patience and give in to negativity. People are terrible, events are hopeless, and the world is filled with gloom and outrage. Or so we think.

And so, back to being angry. Back to overthinking, paranoia and resentment.

Most of us function like this.

There is an alternative. You can live a happier life and control your emotions. But it involves a process, not an event.

Emotions are like water, Bruce Lee had popularly philosophized. When water stagnates, it spreads disease. When it flows, its freshness and beauty mesmerizes us, exuding serenity. It can be held in a tiny cup, yet is strong enough to corrode rocks. It can cause destruction, but chooses to be the elixir of life.

The key is not to be devoid of emotions, but let them flow like water in a fresh spring.

“Be one in whom feeling is not sticky or blocked.” – Bruce Lee

Control of self means control of the world, John D. Rockefeller’s mother taught him. To control your emotions and yourself, go with nature instead of against it. Acknowledge your emotions – good, bad, beautiful, ugly – and let them flow. Let the next moment receive your complete attention. Remember, emotions are a part of you, but they are not you. Nor are they permanent.

If you set both eyes on what you want, finding your way is tough. You will miss stumbling blocks or pits lying in your path. This, according to Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, is very inefficient. But if you have both eyes on the road, you will find your way.

This is what ‘surrender’ means. It doesn’t mean to passively endure, but to look at the end of a process. Instead of putting all your focus on what you want, focus on the road ahead. Rarely does nature take us someplace we don’t like.

You might find that where you end up is far more beautiful than where you wanted to go.

Forcing your emotions is tough. Chances are, you will implode. Letting them flow, not blocking them within you, is easier.

So let your emotions flow. When they do, you will learn to flow with the tide instead of fighting it. Inner peace will increase and anxiety will lessen. It will make you wiser, and happier. It will make you blossom as a human being. This, in turn, will enhance your personal and professional life.


Vishal Kataria

    COMMENTS (18)

  1. Shilpa Gupte


    A good post to begin my day with!
    You are so right, Vishal. I have learnt it over the years; learnt it the hard way, that my emotions are my best friends only if I learn to control them instead of handing over the reins to them. Only then will I be in a happier, more peaceful space!


  2. Shailaja Vishwanath


    This is a post I heartily agree with. Every emotion is there for a reason. Moderation in everything is worth cultivating. This doesn’t mean we don’t give in to excess joy or sadness but it’s necessary to acknowledge them and then come back to a sense of balance. Then again, you know me and my love for all things Zen.

    I really look forward to your weekly posts, Vishal. Keep writing.


  3. Nabanita Dhar


    This is something which makes so much sense. I have actually been reading a book on Vulnerability in which one of the things the author speaks about is not being afraid to feel and express even the negative emotions. It reminds me of a speaking tree article I had once read. To bottle up anger or hurt or even hate will only result in a poison tree within us. It couldn’t do much good, could it? A thought provoking post. Thank you for writing and sharing this with us.


  4. Vidya Sury


    Emotions are great lessons. I love Bruce Lee’s wisdom; likening emotions to water is an excellent analogy. Acceptance, and then letting go after retaining the learning is a good habit to follow!


  5. Beloo Mehra


    As the Upanishad says – only a swarat can be a samrat. Only one who has conquered the self can conquer the world. This is what I was reminded of when reading this post. Controlling and becoming master of our emotional nature is a big part of this self-mastering journey we are on. The methods you describe in this post can be very helpful aids. And there are other methods too as per some of my reading. Certainly, an active surrender when understood and done rightly in the right spirit can be a great help along the way. Thanks for writing this helpful post, Vishal!


    • Vishal


      Thanks Beloo. Loved the part ‘only a swarat can be a samrat.’ Other methods are effective, but I believe the most important one is to surrender to nature instead of trying to swim against its tide.


  6. Rachna


    So very true, Vishal. While some people think losing control of their emotions is just them expressing themselves, there are others who just bottle it all up inside till they implode or explode.

    Emotions are such a tricky terrain. While we all want to revel in the happiness and joy. Hurt, grief, anger are often difficult to let go and even sometimes difficult to confront. Sometimes, it varies from situation to situation. Of course, the right course is to experience the emotion totally and then let go. The challenge is in doing it every single time.


  7. Arti


    Indeed emotions are like water, as you mentioned, and they are such an integral part of our being as water is to nature. To honour their presence in whichever way and as and when they arrive within us and to channel them wisely is essential for the growth of our own Self. As long as we can remain centred in our core identity, emotions can serve as wonderful road maps to getting further and higher in this journey of life.

    You have touched a very interesting subject here Vishal, thank you for writing this, it reminded me of one of Rumi’s poems, one of my personal favourites too, The Guest House.


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