User Reviewed

How to Become Emotionally Stable

Three Parts:Retraining Your Emotional ReactionsModifying Your ThinkingModifying Your Habits

Whether it's an insecure relationship, a chaotic work environment, or it's just your family driving you absolutely crazy, we all have those moments when we feel emotionally out of control and all over the place. However, even when we feel like our emotions aren't our own, we have to remember that we still have the wheel; our minds feel what we decide they feel. With a little mindfulness and a bit of practice, being emotionally stable is achievable in any situation. Emotional stability starts from you, you need to learn to control the way you feel and not let people control it for you.

Part 1
Retraining Your Emotional Reactions

  1. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 1
    Practice the art of reappraisal. Counter to intuition, it's not the ones who ignore their emotions who are emotionally stable. Less surprisingly, nor is it the ones who delve deep into their emotions and feel them all to their core. Recent research says that the ones who are the most emotionally stable are the ones who practice reappraisal.[1] That means they actively take their thoughts and put them in a better light.
    • Easier said than done, huh? To get on the right track, ask yourself a few questions:
      • What are the positives about this situation?
      • What are the other ways I can look at this? Is my current viewpoint objective?
      • How can I think of this as a stimulating challenge rather than a problem?
  2. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 2
    Realize that your emotions are not the weather. Most people tend to think of emotions and emotional changes as just some inevitable part of the human experience. While this is partly true, it ignores the fact that you have control over your emotions. Believe it or not, if you really don't want to feel a certain way, you won't. The next time you find yourself experiencing a feeling you don't want to experience, realize that your mind decided, without your consent, that you would feel this way. You have every right to veto that decision and choose another way to feel.
    • Let's say someone at work made fun of how you laugh. The old you might take this to heart, go curl up in a ball in the corner, and never laugh again for fear of the public shame and humiliation. This may be an inclination of yours to feel, but if you reappraise that feeling, you find yourself thinking, "There's no such thing as a "bad" laugh. Who is this person to judge? What do I care what they think, anyway?" That urge you feel inside will go away and be replaced with a more welcome nonchalance and stability.
  3. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 3
    Stabilize your whole self. Results suggest that positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in such a way that having one helps you have the others, increasing your general happiness.[2] In other words, when it comes to stabilizing your emotions, you can't ignore your friends and your physical health, too. It's impossible to tackle one aspect of your life, leave the others alone, and expect to experience a widespread change. Instead, view this as a time for "life stability," not just "emotional stability."
    • In taking care of yourself, make sure you eat right, exercise, and do things you enjoy, whether it's by yourself or with others. Make sure you take a little bit of time each day for yourself so you can destress and stay your best.
  4. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 4
    Refuse to fall off the bicycle of life. Those who are emotionally stable and tough are often resilient and ambitious. They refuse to get knocked down, try as though the world might.[3] It's easy to take your situation and complain and bemoan it, and throw yourself a little pity party. But with a little determination, you can decide that whatever the world throws at you, you'll be fine. Take whatever gets to you as a challenge not a problem. This, too, shall pass. Because you know what? You will be fine. And it will pass.
    • Take an introspective look into yourself. Are you quick to whine about a situation, not realizing what you have going for you? Do little things that go wrong drive you nuts, keeping you from seeing the bigger picture? What can you do to realize that you are in control?
  5. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 5
    Look to the "emotional stability" scale for examples. Scientists are hard at work pinpointing human emotion and likely will be for a while. They've recently determined what they call the "emotional stability" scale and what aspects of the human personality determine it.[4] Take a look – which do you think leads to stability and which do you think leads to chaos?
    • Pessimism vs. Optimism
    • Anxiety vs. Calm
    • Aggression vs. Tolerance
    • Dependence vs. Autonomy
    • Emotions vs. Logic
    • Apathy vs. Empathy

      If you read the steps below, you'll probably notice that we'll talk about a lot of these qualities. If you're interested to see where you rank, talk to a psychologist who can administer the test for you.

Part 2
Modifying Your Thinking

  1. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 6
    Learn how to compartmentalize your thoughts. Those who are emotionally stable are fantastic at compartmentalizing – in other words, they're mavens at making sure the areas of their lives that are super stressful don't leak into the good parts of their lives, ruining everything that's going well. So if work sucks, make the active decision not to take it home with you. Realize that just because one aspect of your life isn't going how you'd like it to go doesn't mean that your entire life has to be affected.
    • Take a look into yourself and think about what is riling up your emotions and knocking you off your horse. You can't isolate stress until you know where it's coming from.
  2. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 7
    Reframe your memories. There has been a ton of research done in the realm of memory and it all points to a common theme: memories can change each time you remember them. What's more, they can change with how you remember them.[5] What does that mean? It means if you go back and remember that one ex-boyfriend that broke your heart and think of him as sad, lonely, and a little mentally ill, the next time you think of him, you might think of those same things. Soon enough, and crazily enough, the original memory is gone, replaced by what you remember of what you remember.
    • Let's say you're told to picture a park. It has a few trees, a dog running around chasing a Frisbee, and a couple spread out on a blanket. It's summer, the sun is shining, and the wind is roaring through the leaves. A week or so later, you're asked about that vision of that park in autumn. Your mind quickly formulates something to match that query – and the original picture is modified accordingly. This is a simplification, sure, but it's the basics of how the human mind works.
  3. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 8
    Think positive. Simply put, the more positive you think and the happier you are, the easier it is to think logically and control those negative emotions when they do crop up.[6] Though initially it'll take work, once it's habit, it'll be something you do automatically.
    • Let's say you're struggling with your current relationship. It's making you a little crazy, you feel a little clingy, and you're just not being the person you want to be. Instead of freaking out about the fact that you're freaking out, try to focus on it as a learning experience. What is it about the relationship that needs fixing to make you happy? How can you communicate better? Is it possible therapy might help and that there's a bigger issue at hand?
  4. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 9
    Be mindful. Those who are emotionally aware are often more emotionally stable. They have a sort of calm about them because they've accepted their feelings and realize that 99% of the time, it's no big deal. This is what psychologists and scientists call "mindfulness." All it takes is being self-aware and gentle understanding of yourself.
    • A good way to find the quality of mindfulness is meditation. Focus on your breathing patterns, try not to think of anything else, and find your center. It's a break away from life that can help you see the bigger picture.
  5. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 10
    Think flexible, accurate, and thorough. The human mind has the fantastic ability to see, hear, and think what it wants – regardless of how reality really is. [7] It's important to keep this in mind whenever you find yourself feeling an emotion you'd rather not be feeling. You're constructing your reality, so you can change it, too!
    • Here's another example: you're hanging out with your boyfriend, and a text appears on his phone from an unknown number that you can't help but see. It says, "Hey! I had a great time last night. Call me soon." You immediately assume he's cheating on you and start planning your break up speech. You stew for a couple of days, not eating or sleeping, and eventually confront him in an angry rage that's been building up inside you for what feels like forever. Turns out it was his sister. He even calls that number to prove it. In retrospect, you see that you should've taken a breath, admitted that you saw the text, and calmly asked him what was up. There are more ways to interpret a situation than just the one you jump to.

Part 3
Modifying Your Habits

  1. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 11
    Build social connections. You know the phrase, "It takes a village?" Well, it does. Emotions are better handled when you have a strong support group to help you get through them. When you know you have shoulders to lean on, it becomes easier to handle anything – even without their help.
    • Talk therapy can be a very effective treatment for any emotional issue, and you don't necessarily need to go to a therapist to find it. When you get wrapped up in an emotional cocoon that you'd rather not be in, talk it out. You may find that getting the words out lets the emotion out, too.
  2. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 12
    Be around emotionally stable people. While having a wide social network is great, you want to be sure you're banking a net positive when it comes to that network. If you're constantly around people who have frequent mood swings or aren't stable, you'll be better off socializing and meeting some new people. Drama can be surprisingly contagious.
    • When you're around people that are emotionally toxic, it becomes normal. Being wrapped up in anxiety, mistrust, and even fear becomes par for the course. Sometimes it's hard to realize a relationship is toxic because you're used to everything being negative. If you have a friend or two that leaves you drained and feeling down, they're probably a toxic friend. If this sounds familiar, try reading wikiHow's How to End a Toxic Friendship for more information.
  3. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 13
    Practice tolerance. You've probably been told before that "no one can make you angry but yourself," or something similar. And it's true – you determine your feelings, not anyone else. Just because someone ran into your car doesn't mean they made you feel a certain way. Sure, they're a reason you feel that way, but they have nothing to do with the little receptors going off in your brain. So the next time someone makes you angry, take a step back. The more tolerant you are, the more stable you'll become.
    • There are an infinite amount of things that make most of us angry – it can vary from the person that stands a little too close to us in line to hypocrites and bigots that just won't open their minds and see the light. We all have our intolerant moments where we feel someone else is in the wrong or that we're being wronged. Find that next moment of yours – if you're like most people, it won't take too long – and instead of getting heated up, take a breath. Don't have the argument. Don't make the obvious insult. Think it out and stay in your zone.
  4. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 14
    Do your own thing. When life throws obstacles at us, it wouldn't be so bad if we knew what was coming and felt prepared. Instead, we're dodging bullets and feel totally out of control. It's not so much the bullets that are the issue but that we have no power over what's happening – and this lack of power drives us a little crazy, rendering us emotionally unstable. And while you can't dodge every little thing life comes up with, you can get in more control of your life. The more autonomous you are, the more stability will seem easy to maintain.
    • For most of us, the hurdles of life are inevitable. We have money problems, relationship problems, existential life problems – but the one thing we can do is not rely on others for our sense of self and validation. When others are at the helm of our lives, it's virtually impossible to feel stable because we don't have control. If someone else is driving your life, determining your emotions, it's best to put a stop to it. Only you can make you happy – no one else.
  5. 5
    Take care of yourself. If you're not eating, sleeping, and taking care of yourself, there's no way you can take care of your emotions. Before you even go about tackling the bad habits of your superego, you need to back up a bit. Take care of your primal needs first. You can't walk before you can run, you know?
    • Make sure you get plenty of sleep. The more well-rested you are, the better your mind can function. The better your mind can function, the more logical and stable you can remain.
      Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 15Bullet1
    • Eat healthily. A crappy diet can make us feel just that – crappy. Filling your body with good, healthy foods will make it easier to think good, healthy thoughts.
      Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 15Bullet2
    • Exercise. As you probably know by now, exercise releases endorphins, the little happy-makers in your brain. If you're ever feeling down, go for a quick jog. Odds are the feelings will have started to dissipate.
      Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 15Bullet3
  6. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 16
    Treat yourself. So many of us make it a priority to be kind to others. And while this is important, it's just as important to be kind to yourself. So when you're feeling a little down or out of control, take the time to treat yourself like you would a friend going through the same thing. Take it as a cue that you need to splurge on that concert or go get that ice cream.
    • The little things that please us make it a lot easier to calm down, step back, and realize that you have it okay. Life may not be perfect, but treating yourself helps you realize that there is a reason to stay positive.
  7. Image titled Become Emotionally Stable Step 17
    Wait it out. Though it's not exactly active advice you can go out and do, it can be helpful to remember that our formative years are often characterized by emotional chaos and a lack of feeling assured. In other words, the older you get, the more stable you'll likely become.[8] With age comes wisdom, but also a sense of calm. So if you're still young, don't be too hard on yourself. Your peers are probably going crazy, too.
    • That being said, this does not account for mental illness. If you're emotionally stable to the point where you can't function, that is another issue entirely. Seek out a psychologist to talk about your issues – you may have a disorder that requires active treatment.

Article Info

Categories: Emotional Health