How To Do Meditation To Control Emotions And Raise EQ [TUTORIAL]

Published by Paul Martin Harrison on

meditation to control emotions

Today, I use meditation to control emotions. This was not always the case. I learned the hard way just how important emotional control is in life.  

When I was fourteen I was at a friend’s mother’s funeral when I suddenly felt overcome with emotion. But instead of crying I laughed out loud. The old lady next to me glared at me in disgust. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I obviously hadn’t mean to be offensive. It was my emotions coming out in an awkward way. 

Social moments like these are commonplace for the billions who are unable to control their emotions.  That’s just one reason why I now use meditation to control emotions. And we could all benefit from doing the same thing.

“Your ability to regulate emotions affects how you’re perceived by the people around you,” says  Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, writing for Psychology Today. “Laughing during a meeting will lead to resentment. Reacting with rage to bad drivers will provoke the wrong kind of attention.”

The good news is that not only can we control emotions, we can turn negative emotions to positive

For some people it can be near impossible to control emotions. For instance, manic depressives.

But most people can massively increase their emotional control. And it is definitely worthwhile putting in the time to achieve this.

There are major issues for people with no emotional control.

Lack of emotional control:

  • Makes us unable to focus
  • Causes unnecessary pain for ourselves and those around us
  • Creates stress
  • Destroys self esteem
  • Impacts social skills
  • Makes interpersonal relationships a nightmare

Thankfully, we can use meditation for emotional control. And at the same time, we will also increase emotional intelligence.

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What science says about using meditation to control emotions

There are over 100 ways meditation helps us.

One of the main benefits of meditation is that it improves emotional control.

The key to controlling emotions is to develop self awareness.

Self awareness is conscious awareness of our own emotions, thoughts, actions, and character.

When we are more aware of our emotions we are more able to control them.

Thankfully there is a very easy way to improve your self awareness: simply name your emotions.

By naming our emotions we significantly boost our self awareness levels.

Brain scans have shown that when we associate negative emotions with words we calm the emotional centre of the brain. This is cited as being one of the main reasons why meditation is good for emotions, because when we sit and focus our minds we become more aware of our feelings. The best meditation for this is Vipassana.

Vipassana is a Buddhist meditation for emotional regulation. It involves mindfully observing our emotions and labelling them. This develops insight. We become more consciously aware of what is happening in the mind. This awareness, in turn, increases our ability to control our feelings.

 

Scientific research suggests we should use Vipassana meditation to control emotions

Research by UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman showed that naming emotions caused the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex region—an area associated with thinking in words about emotional experiences— to become more active, while activity in the amygdala becomes calmer, which decreases stress and anxiety. [1]

A second study conducted by Michigan State University highlighted neural evidence proving that mindfulness helps us control negative feelings. [2]

The team invited 68 female non-meditators to spend 18 minutes doing a guided meditation. Immediately after this they were shown disturbing pictures, such as a bloody corpse. EEG scans recorded the emotional response of the group.  The group were asked to observe the pictures either mindfully or “normally”. The results show that the women with higher levels of mindfulness had higher emotional control than the rest of the group. The researchers state that this proves mindfulness meditation helps us control negative emotions.

For emotional control, simply start labelling your emotions.

 

 

 

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Mindfulness Meditation To Control Emotions

This is the best meditation to control emotions. And it just takes 10 minutes. 

  1. Find a quiet spot where you can sit or stand comfortably with your eyes closed.
  2. Set a timer for twenty minutes.
  3. Adopt a position which is relaxing but in which you also feel ready or alert (best choice: kneel down or sit crossed legged).
  4. Focus on your breath. Simply allow your mind to settle on your breath coming and going in and out of your nose.
  5. You are now doing a basic meditation.
  6. Continue to focus on your breath and notice any thoughts or emotions that occur.
  7. When you feel an emotion, do not fight it or indulge in it. Let it be.
  8. Observe the emotion. Notice how it feels. Observe the pure energy that is emotion.
  9. Name the emotion
  10. Let the emotion go and return to focusing on your breath.
  11. Note: You may notice that you are crying during meditation. It’s normal. Don’t worry.

  

How I Personally Used Meditation Techniques For Emotional Control

A few years ago I went through an extremely emotional time. I broke up with my girlfriend and didn’t have anywhere to stay (I had left my home in England to live with my girlfriend in Canada, and then we broke up, leaving me nowhere to stay and without the money needed to get home, i.e. I was homeless). This was an extremely stressful and emotional time of my life and a time when I needed meditation more than ever (I also used these tricks to remain positive at a negative time).

It can be hard to balance your emotions when things like that happen. At such times, you need to rely on every strength you have. One strength I have always had is meditation, which I’ve practiced for many many years. For instance, when I am afraid of a big upcoming moment in my life, I will use Buddhist meditations for fear.

Here’s what happened when I used meditation for emotional control:

1 ) I gave my brain and my mind breathing space to relax, which helped to balance my brain chemistry.

2) I gave myself the power to accept what had happened (the breakup) and to not be so emotionally sensitive to my current reality.

3) I completely silenced my thoughts. I’d been thinking things like “I’ve ruined my life” and “I’ll never have a good relationship,” and “Now I’m homeless and have nowhere to go, I’ll probably starve”. Obviously these were extremely painful thoughts. They made me very emotional. But through meditation I was able to silence these thoughts and get a grip on my emotions.

Meditation has improved my emotional control so many times.

Even when my father died, I used meditation to overcome grief.

 

 

 

You Wont Believe The Effect Of Meditation On Emotional intelligence

Good news: you can massively improve emotional intelligence by using meditation for EQ.

All it takes is 20 minutes. And there are major benefits.

High emotional intelligence will improve your career, make your relationships more successful, and even make you a hit at your next party.

But let’s cut to the chase: just what is emotional intelligence?

What Is Emotional Intelligence? Basically People Skills

Some people just have that charm to them where they make you feel like you can sit comfortably and chat with them, knowing they’re listening, understanding and not judging you.
 
You know, the kind of people you can talk to for a few minutes and immediately feel better; people with excellent personal skills and great listening skills.
 
Other people have fantastic emotional skills; never screaming or getting angry, always calmly facing any problem that might come their way.

Accepting of criticism, not budging to social pressure, not letting cross words get to them.

What both these people have in common is a high degree of emotional intelligence.

They understand themselves and their own emotions as well as the emotions, thoughts, behaviours and needs of others.

Emotional intelligence (or Emotional Quotient) is our ability to recognise and understand both our own emotions and the emotions of others.

You can probably immediately think of someone with low emotional intelligence. They’re the people who are impossible to get along with because they just don’t seem to understand the way you’re feeling.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman [1] defines emotional intelligence as the ability to:

  • Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions
  • Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others

Goleman tells us that EI is massively important in leadership skills and management, because unless we understand the people we are working with there is no way we will work effectively with them.

And emotional intelligence is hugely important in social and romantic roles too.

But emotional intelligence goes way beyond simply being a people person.

There are major benefits of emotional intelligence.

Let’s take a look.

The heart that gives, gathers--Tao Te Ching Click To Tweet

High emotional intelligence benefits

There are some seriously impressive benefits of high emotional intelligence. Not only does high EQ help us in relationships, it even improves our health.

The top benefits of high emotional intelligence are:

Stress control:

 People with high levels of emotional intelligence are more able to identify when their stress is doing the thinking for them. Stress makes us think negatively, and this can lead to a bleak view. Emotional intelligence helps us step back and say, “This is my stress speaking”. That way, we can cut-off our stress at its source, before it alters our perspective.

Self-awareness:

Self awareness is our ability to recognise and understand our own emotions. To do this we need to be mindful of our emotions (both positive and negative). This mindfulness gives us more emotional control because we are aware of the fact that our emotions are influencing us.

Better relationships:

The number one cause of arguments in relationships is misunderstanding, and the number one cause of misunderstanding is lack of emotional awareness. When we are unaware of either our own emotions or the other persons, we are likely to respond to a situation in an unhelpful way. High EQ increases our emotional awareness so that we can react to situations in helpful ways.

Emotional regulation:

Scientific research by UCLA has proven that when we are able to label our emotions we increase our control over them [2]. This ability to label emotions is essentially EQ.

High EQ enables us to recognise our emotions and the effect those emotions are having on us, handing us back control.

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to feel what other people are feeling. High levels of empathy enable us to anticipate the actions and behaviours of others, and this can help in everything from negotiating to conflict resolution.

But bear in mind: it’s not always easy being a highly empathetic person.

Social skills

Good social skills are 85% about our ability to understand the emotions of other people. In other words: EQ. High levels of emotional intelligence enable us to understand and to interact with people more effectively. And that’s relevant in everything from business to dating.

Performance:

Scientific research has pinpointed emotional intelligence as the key to performance.

90% of top performance have high levels of emotional intelligence. And only 20% of bottom performance have high EQ.

Travis Bradberry, the coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 [AMAZON], tells us:

  You can be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the chances are slim. Naturally, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence.

If you want to make more money, train your emotional intelligence.

On average, people with high EQ levels make $1,000 more per annual salary.

At work 

Whether you’re a divorce lawyer, mental health specialist,real estate agent meeting prospective buyers, a member of the police force (who of course must be excellent at conflict resolution), or a telephone salesman trying to make a trade, the better you are at handling other people, the further you will go in your career. That’s one reason why so many people are starting to meditate at work, because meditation improves emotional intelligence (see below).

How Meditation Improves Emotional Intelligence

Afflictive emotions--jealousy, anger, hatred--can be put to an end. They are only temporary, like clouds in the sky. Click To Tweet

Scientific research has proven that meditation boosts intelligence 6 ways and has numerous positive effects on the brain.

Our research has found many ways meditation improves emotional intelligence.

First of all, the practice of mindfulness increases emotional awareness.

In the 2015 research paper Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditaiton On Emotional Intelligence, General Self-Efficacy, and Perceived Stress  Peerayuth Charoensukmongkol (2015) wrote that mindfulness meditation improves emotional intelligence in these ways:

  • Improves recognition and awareness of our own emotions
  • Helps us recognise other people’s emotions
  • Strengthens our ability to control our emotions

Mindfulness, said Charoensukmongkol, heightens our ability to determine which emotions are helpful for different situations, such that we can access appropriate emotions at the right time.

For instance, if we are at work and feeling casual and overly relaxed (emotions more suitable for home) we can be aware of these emotions and take the necessary steps to change the.

Vipassana meditation is also beneficial. This is a Buddhist meditation in which we label our emotions. Studies show that regular practice of Vipassana train the mind to recognise emotions and to titrate our emotions such that, for instance, if we are feeling excited when we should be feeling productive, we can make the necessary adjustment.

Body scan meditation, meanwhile, heightens our awareness of physical sensations in the body. One of the first places we notice emotions is in phyical sensations such as a tight chest or clenched teeth. By being mindful of these sensations we increase emotional awareness.

To be more aware of other people’s emotions, try focused-attention meditations such as samatha. These train the mind to focus on an external object instead of being lost in thoughts. This enables us to see how someone else is actually feeling rather than getting lose in our own ideas of what is happening.

The following meditation combines these techniques into one single method. This is a powerful meditation for emotional intelligence.

Meditation For EQ (Emotional Intelligence)

  1. Sit comfortably with good posture
  2. Take 5 deep breaths to relax
  3. Focus on your breathing. Let thoughts come and go while you rest your mind on the breath
  4. Continue to meditate on your breath for 25 breaths. This will take you to breath number 30. By this time you will be feeling relaxed and focused.
  5. Continuing to focus on your breath, start to label any emotions you feel. Say to yourself, “This is happiness”, “This is stress” and so on. This increases emotional awareness.
  6. Should strong emotions arise, return your focus to your breath and continue meditating in a relaxed way. Notice how you are able to control your focus even despite the strong feelings. This will increase emotional regulation. Continue up to breath 60.
  7. Begin to focus on physical sensations. Focus on the crown of your head and notice the sensations there. Then slowly move your focus down your body, noticing any tension as you go. This heightens emotional awareness even further. This stage should take 40 breaths.
  8. Take 8 final breaths to relax.
  9. Express gratitude for this meditation.

This technique combines body scan with vipassana with anapanasati for a powerful meditation. Emotional intelligence increases with continual practice of this technique.

 

 

 

Dalai Lama’s Emotional Intelligence Website

The Dalai Lama [one off our top spiritual gurus] has created a new website that he thinks will help us all understand our emotions better. It’s completely free, and you can try it today.

The Atlus Of Emotions describes and defines different emotions and sub-states of emotions, action that those emotions lead to, the triggers of the emotions, and the moods that they create.

The website shows five primary emotions, which are: Anger, Enjoyment, Disgust, Sadness, and Fear (you might notice that only one of these emotions is positive).

                     

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Paul Martin Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book Journey To The Buddha Within You.

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