Managing Emotions on the Spectrum

By Trina Muncy

Emotional control gives us the ability to manage our emotions during stressful situations, to assess and evaluate our behavioral responses, and to strategize a set of practices that give us a clear mind and a positive attitude. Although emotions manifest themselves in our physical expressions—when we laugh, smile, or cry, for instance—they can also have a powerful influence on our daily actions and personal relationships. Emotions not only make us feel, but they connect us to others. Being conscious of our emotions and learning how to deal with them when they arise, gives us insight as to how our actions might affect others and what strategies we can employ to make better decisions.

Before we find ourselves spiraling down a path of emotional distress, we must first ask ourselves, “Why am I so upset?” Hitting the pause button between emotion and action forces us to take a step back, breathe, and look at the big picture. You may find that during this brief respite, you feel yourself getting calmer, more level-headed, able to see things from a different perspective. Instead of getting upset when a situation turns out differently from what we might expect, we can learn useful techniques to help us practice more healthy habits of mind.

To adopt any new habit is to realize that change is possible. Irrational fears, self-doubt, unrealistic expectations, emotional outbursts: these are all emotions that everyone struggles with. The key is to identify the unwelcome feeling, assess the situation, and respond with a healthy coping strategy. For example, do you find yourself frequently getting upset when things go awry? Do you lash out at others? Does criticism feel like the end of the world? Reacting to these types of situations in a positive manner gives us the motivation to overcome our fears and prioritize what’s important. By making these small strides toward emotional control and positive behavior, we start to feel better about ourselves and our ability to forge meaningful relationships.

To learn more about how to manage your emotions, enroll in our TASK MASTERS Program.