How To Control Emotions By Meditating And Raise EQ

A few years ago I had no clue how to control my emotions. I had rage, jealousy, sadness… you know, all the negatives.  

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 meant to be offensive. It was my emotions coming out in an awkward way. 

Awkward social moments like these are commonplace for the billions who are unable to control their emotions.     

“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 [8]. “Laughing during a meeting will lead to resentment. Reacting with rage to bad drivers will provoke the wrong kind of attention.”

It seems we could all do with learning how to control emotions. Techniques like meditation can help massively. With meditation you can control your emotions and you can even stop being neutoric.

Most people can massively increase 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 angry [hint: use meditation to stop anger]
  • 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
  • Helps us overcome fears

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


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If you want to know how to control emotions, start with meditation, says science

There are many mood benefits of meditating.

One of the main benefits of meditation is that it improves emotional control. In fact, it is so effective for emotional control that you can even use meditation for bipolar disorder.

If you have been wondering how to control emotions, meditation techniques are the best place to start. 

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 feelings 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 feelings we significantly boost our self awareness levels. And this gives us the ability to control emotions. 

Brain scans have shown that when we associate negative emotions with words we calm the emotional centre of the brain [1]. This is cited as being one of the main reasons why meditation is one of the best emotional control techniques, 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 control. 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. [2]

A second study conducted by Michigan State University highlighted neural evidence proving that mindfulness helps us control negative feelings. [3]

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.

So if you want to know how to control emotions, start by labeling your feelings. 

Mindfulness Meditation To Control Emotions

This is the best meditation to control emotions. And it just takes 10 minutes. But be aware that it may temporarily make you more emotional in certain situations, such as if you are dealing with grief.

  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. Especially if you have painful thoughts or painful past memories.


My personal experience managing my feelings mindfully  

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 mindfulness more than ever.

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 methods for fear.

How I Managed My Feelings 

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.

Meditation has taught me how to control emotions, and I am so much the better because of it. 

You Wont Believe The Effect Of Meditation On Emotional intelligence

Above we looked at how to control emotions by meditating. But it gets even better than that. You can actually 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?

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. They are the ones who already know how to control emotions, and they use that knowledge for the better of all. 

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

They are people with high emotional intelligence levels.

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

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

Raising your EQ is the best way how to control your emotions and how to improve social skills. 

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 [5] 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 EQ 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. o

 Benefits of meditation for mood


My Top 8 Emotional Benefits Of Meditation 

1.  Meditation improves relaxation

This is one emotional benefit of meditation that surely requires absolutely no proof. We all know that it makes you more relaxed. But if you would like to read more about meditation and relaxation I recommend the article o Mayo Clinic for which you can find the link below.

The Mayo Clinic tells us, “During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.” 

Source: Mayo Clinic


2. Settles restless thinking

Do you ever suffer from a restless mind? Oh wait, silly question, you are human, of course you do. But the good news is that one of the emotional benefits of meditation is the end of your restless mind.

When you meditate you create inner stillness and quietude that is conducive to a calm mind.

Source: Personal experience


3. Improves peace of mind

Is it me or can it be a challenge to keep your mind tranquil and pure? There are so many sources of stress and so much information flying through your brain that you need to take care of  your mind like a master gardener, or else you will suffer mental weeds that disrupt your inner peace.

A turbulent mind stops the flow of prana and leaves you feeling exhausted and emotionally rocked.

Sri Sri Yoga teacher Shriram Sarvotham says,  “We cannot directly force or demand peace of mind but we can prepare the mind to become still.” Meditation lets you prepare that inner stillness.


4. Helps us find our purpose in life

This one is from personal experience and also from many friends and teachers whom I have spoken to through the years. General consensus is that when you meditate you remove the noise in your mind and you begin to zero-in on what truly matters. This helps you to find and to live your life purpose.


 5. Allows us to discover consciousness beyond ego

Have you ever experienced a moment when it felt like you stepped outside of yourself? Perhaps you saw a truly beautiful scene, like an eclipse or a stunning sunset. And it took your breath away. And for a moment you forgot yourself and felt as though you were one with the universe. That is an example of living beyond your own ego.

The average person filters reality through their ego. They have their own concepts of good and bad. They think only about things as relates to themselves. They do not simply allow the universe to exist in its purest sense.

When you practice mindfulness you silence your mind and come to experience the pure reality of existence. It is a heightened state. It’s a state where you live in equanimity and complete tranquility. And it is one of the most pleasurable emotional benefits of meditation.


6. Improves synchronicity with life. 

One of the good things about meditation that is hard to prove as fact is the idea that it increases synchronicity.

Synchronicity is all about moments when things happen out of the ordinary. For instance, you and your friend happen to send each other texts out of the blue at the very same time. Coincidence? Or something more? Very difficult to prove either way.

Licensed clinical psychologist Robert Puff Ph.D says, “I believe that synchronous events happen more often when we’re meditating. Why? Here’s my theory: The central goal of meditation is to help you slow down, quiet your mind, and be still. As you develop your practice, as you learn to slow down, and as you quiet your mind, you may find that synchronous events begin to increase. Because meditation is such a powerful change agent and improves your life, I sometimes wonder if the universe or God is giving back to us to let us know that we are on the right track and remind us to keep meditating.”


7. Emotional Benefits of meditation for forgiveness

Another way meditation will help you is by promoting forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the most important traits in the world.  I’ve written an in-depth article about why forgiveness is so important in life. Essentially, the more you forgive the better your relationships will be and the less anger you will have.

What does forgiveness have to do with meditation? When you practice mindfulness meditation you give your mind a chance to stop. This, for starters, lets you take an emotional breather and gives you the chance to look at your emotions in a new light. You then become conscious of your personal prejudices and of any resentments that you might have going on. Research has shown that when you are mindful of your emotions like this you give yourself control over your emotions. And this helps you to stop feeling angry at people and to forgive them.

Source: Own experience and from teaching meditation.  


 8. Mindfulness and Vipassana benefits your inner-sage (makes you wiser)

People tend to assume that wisdom comes from old age, even though this often is not the case.  And there are many other things that can make you wise. Meditation being one of them.

The study “The Relationship between Mental and Somatic Practices and Wisdom” confirmed that meditation will make you wiser. The researchers studied 298 participants and asked about their experiences in the Alexander Technique (which is used for good posture), the Feldenkrais Method (a form of somatic education), meditation and… ballet. The participants also completed a psychological questionnaire to determine how wise they were.

The results?

It turns out that meditation makes you wiser. But interestingly, so does ballet.  The researchers also looked at which meditation practices were best for wisdom. They found that the best meditation techniques for wisdom are Vipassana and mindfulness.  


More emotional benefits of meditation

Stress control:

Because people with high emotional intelligence levels know how to control emotions, they are less effected by their feelings, including stress. . 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 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 emotional control over them [6]. This ability to label emotions is essentially EQ.

One of the benefits of high EQ levels is that it enables us to recognise our emotions and the effect those emotions are having on us, handing us back control.


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.

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.


Scientific research shows that people with high emotional intelligence levels are better performers.

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, 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

Scientific research has proven that meditation boosts intelligence 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. So not only can we control emotions, we can actually use them in a productive way. 

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.

And That Is How To Control Emotions And Raise EQ 

There is a direct link between meditation and emotions. 

Meditation is the best technique for controlling emotions. But not just this, meditation raises emotional intelligence too. 

So if you want to know how to control emotions and how to use your feelings in positive ways, I highly recommend spending 20 minutes a day meditating. 

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Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a yoga teacher, meditation teacher and writer. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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