Q:How do you take control of your emotions instead of letting your emotions take control of you? (ex. When you are having a very emotional day and because of that you find it hard to stay on top of the things you have to get done.)

A:Right off the bat I'll say that I've come to the realization that it's better (and less frustrating) to MANAGE your emotions than it is to try to control them.  To manage is to handle or direct with a degree of skill. That's one of the core competencies of Emotional Intelligence- your ability to manage your emotions and the emotions of others.

Now, of course I even find myself talking about "controlling" my emotions every now and then. Probably because for most of my life I didn't know anything about EQ! (Emotional Intelligence).  It's not really the actual word I'm talking about it's your state of mind and the context. If you are are trying to suppress your emotions then your fighting against yourself.

The reason that you want to look at it as managing your emotions is because all emotions have a positive intent. Look at this way. What if someone dropped something and you leaned over to help them pick it up? You didn't notice that they were also leaning over. All of sudden-BAM!  You bump heads.

Would you be mad at them?  Would they be mad at you? No. Both of you might be mad because the both of you have headaches with Excedrin written on them! But c'mon now- you were only trying to help.  Well, your emotions are only trying to help.

Since I'm not sure exactly what emotions you're talking about, I'll just use sadness as an example.  When a person is sad because a loved one has passed, the positive intent of sadness is to help the person stay close via the memories of their loved one.

So during a day when you're having trouble staying on top of things you might want to reframe your thinking. Ask yourself "How are my emotions trying to help me" instead of feeling like your emotions are controlling you. Remember- to manage is to handle or direct with a degree of skill.

There is one catch. Someone once told me that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  In other words good intentions don't always lead to good outcomes.  Like you and the person who bumped heads. Good intentions but... headaches and lumps ain't that much fun!

Neither are the results of some emotional reactions. But if you know the positive intent then instead of spending time fighting against your emotions you can manage them and find alternatives. If you and the other person realized that both of you were leaning over then hopefully one of you wouldn't have leaned over. And whatever was dropped would've still been picked up minus the headaches and lumps. 

Find the positive intent and it's easier to control, oops, I mean manage your emotions.

For more on mastering your emotions read the free e-book:

Taming the Beast: 9 Keys for Mastering Your Anger

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