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How to Manage Emotion

Kirjoittanut: Ayush Kumar - tiimistä Sointu.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

Pleasure and Pain in the Brain
Morten Kringelbach
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.

Managing our emotions, especially when things don’t go as planned, can be a complex task, but it’s a skill that can significantly impact our well-being. Imagine you and your friend dedicated a lot of time and effort to study for an exam, aiming to avoid summer school.


When the results came back much lower than expected, you found yourself deeply upset, while your friend seemed to take it in stride. This difference in reactions might make you wonder why it’s more challenging for you to accept the situation.


This is where the Process Model of emotion regulation comes into play. It’s like a guide or a roadmap that psychologists have developed to help us understand how our emotions work in a step-by-step manner, showing us that we have the power to alter our emotional responses at various stages.


Here’s a breakdown of the Process Model:


  1. Attention: Initially, something happens or we think about something that captures our attention. This could be an event, a memory, or anticipating something in the future. In my case I was worried about my career where is it going and if it’s going right or not.


  1. Appraisal: Next, we evaluate this event or thought. We consider whether it’s beneficial or harmful to us, which sets the stage for how we feel about it. It’s beneficial when I think in terms of evaluation of my actions towards my career and if I had unrealistic expectation compared from actions then it’s harmful. It helped me know what to appreciate in my life.


  1. Response: Our evaluation then influences our emotions, which in turn can affect our behaviour. For example, if we perceive an event as negative, we might feel sad or angry, which could lead to avoiding similar situations in the future. I am still figuring out my response but I have changed a lot from what I was before, my actions are so clear that people come to appreciate me.


At each of these steps, there are strategies we can employ to navigate our feelings more effectively:


  • Situation selection: Avoiding situations that we know will make us feel bad. For example, deciding not to attend a party where an ex-partner will be.


  • Situation modification: Changing aspects of a situation to make it more bearable. If we attend the party, we could make an effort to stay in different areas from the ex-partner.



  • Attentional deployment: Directing our focus towards something else that can improve our mood. At the party, we might engage in fun activities or conversations with others to divert our attention.
  • Cognitive change: Altering the way we think about a situation. Instead of dwelling on the presence of the ex-partner, we can remind ourselves that their life choices no longer impact us.


  • Response modulation: Managing our emotional responses directly, such as through deep breathing, physical exercise, or seeking support from friends.


My top 3 learnings are:


Understanding my Feelings is Important: The first step to handle your feelings well is to really notice and understand them. Pay attention to how you feel at different times and try to figure out why you feel that way. It’s not just about knowing if you’re sad, happy, or angry, but also about seeing the many layers of your feelings. This helps you decide how to deal with those feelings better.


Being Flexible with my Feelings: It’s really important to know that there’s not just one way to deal with your feelings. What helps in one situation might not help in another. So, learning how to use different ways to manage your feelings—like changing where you are, focusing on something else, thinking about things differently, or calming yourself down—makes you stronger and more able to deal with tough situations. Being flexible means you can pick the best way to handle your feelings depending on what’s happening. When problem comes you might forget to do this so make it as your lifestyle.


Accepting Feelings Instead of Hiding Them: A big lesson from using the Process Model is understanding that trying to hide or ignore bad feelings usually doesn’t help. All feelings, whether good or bad, have their reasons. For example, being sad can help you understand others better(give it a thought you have done this), and feeling nervous can make you prepare more for something important. Accepting your feelings means you know they’re there, but you also know they won’t last forever, and you can learn from them. This way, you don’t have to pretend to be happy when you’re not, but you can find the best way to deal with your feelings.



Understanding and practicing these strategies requires effort and patience. It’s a skill set that we develop over time, starting with being mindful of our emotions and recognizing that we have the ability to influence how we feel.


However, it’s essential to acknowledge that striving for constant happiness is neither practical nor beneficial. Our emotions serve various purposes, including the negative ones. Feeling sad can foster empathy and deepen connections with others who are experiencing tough times. In some situations, anxiety can motivate us to prepare more thoroughly for future challenges.


Attempting to suppress or ignore our negative emotions can backfire, leading to increased stress and emotional discomfort. Accepting that it’s natural to experience a range of emotions, and knowing we have strategies to manage them, can make us more resilient and emotionally flexible in the long run.


In summary, the Process Model of emotion regulation teaches us that while we can’t always control what happens to us, we can exert some control over how we respond emotionally. By understanding and applying this model, we can better navigate our emotional landscape, leading to improved well-being and more meaningful connections with others.

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