6 Simple Steps to Mastering Your Emotions

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Emotions are the lifeblood of the human experience. They’re the driving forces that shape our decisions, actions, and reactions. Whether it’s the passionate love that leads to marriage or the rage that can incite war, emotions are the ultimate power – the core of what calls us to action.

Yet, many of us struggle to manage our emotions, especially the uncomfortable ones. Consequently, we end up feeling controlled by them. So, mastering our emotions isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity for enhancing the quality of our life. Here’s a simple yet profound equation for mastering emotions:


In other words, the meaning you give to an experience determines how you feel in that moment. For example, suppose someone holds the door for you and smiles at you. How does that make you feel? Does it mean they’re trying to take advantage of you, causing you to feel angry? Or does it simply mean they’re being thoughtful, causing you to feel appreciative? When you learn to master your emotions, you don’t merely react to life – you shape it, directly enhancing the emotional quality of your life.

But before we dive deeper, how do you currently deal with your emotions?

Most people tend to deal with emotions in one of four ways. Some attempt to avoid them, sidestepping their true feelings. Others try to resist or deny their emotions, a method bound to fail since emotions build up until they inevitably erupt. Then there are those who make emotions a competition, challenging others with sentiments like, “You think you feel bad. Well, I feel even worse!”

The only truly effective approach is to learn from and use the invaluable messages our emotions provide. It’s crucial to recognize this, because by harnessing the power of our emotions, we become architects of our destiny.

The 6 steps to mastering “negative” emotions

The truth is, there are no “negative” emotions because they all serve a purpose. Think of them as action signals that offer valuable messages, empowering us with a choice to change. Yes, some emotions are tough, challenging us at our core. But recognizing their signals is essential for growth.

To truly master your emotions, follow these 6 steps of emotional mastery:

Step 1: Identify the emotion

The first step is always to identify the negative emotion – or more accurately – the action signal. What type of emotion is it? Frustration? Sadness? Are you simply hungry? Which emotion are you really feeling? Uncovering the core emotion will empower you to discover its valuable message.

Step 2: Appreciate & clarify the message

Once identified, immediately acknowledge the value of the emotion and clarify what it’s trying to tell you. At the most basic level, it tells you something must change. Do you need to change by shifting your actions (e.g., how you’re communicating)? Or maybe by shifting your perception (i.e., the meaning) of a situation? Use the table in the next section to help clarify both the emotion and its powerful message.

Step 3: Get CURIOUS

Get curious about how you want to feel by asking these four questions:

  • How do you want to feel?
  • What would you need to believe to feel that way right now?
  • What are you willing to do to feel that way now?
  • What’s great about this situation or what can you learn from it?

Learning why a problem occurred will help you prevent it from happening again and helps you see that every problem is a gift.

Step 4: Get CONFIDENT from past success

Think back to a specific time when you successfully dealt with a similar emotion. How did you triumph over it? Relive that moment as a comeback story and let the confidence wash over you. Recalling times when you were able to master your emotions gives powerful reassurance that you’ll navigate through this emotion once more.

Step 5: Get CERTAIN about mastering the emotion

Strengthen your vision of how you’ll handle this difficult emotion by imagining several strategies that help you experience the emotion you want to feel. If one doesn’t work, try another. Rehearse until you feel certain you can deal with the emotion.

Step 6: Feel excited and take ACTION

Do something right away that shows you can master your emotions. Express the emotion in a healthy way that reinforces what you rehearsed and changes the way you feel.

Remember, you always have a choice when it comes to mastering your emotions and it all begins with the steps you take now.

Decoding the action signals

Every emotion is an action signal. It’s your body’s way of communicating with you. But sometimes, it’s challenging to determine the precise message. Here’s a guide to help you decode these signals:

On the left are the most common categories of emotions and the right shows its message. So, if the specific emotion you identified is not listed, then choose the category that’s most similar. For example, at its core anxiety is basically fear. Keep in mind that for all these emotions, sometimes the message is to simply change your perspective of the situation.

Cultivate positive emotions with daily priming

To truly master your emotions and gain a deep sense of emotional meaning, we must proactively nurture the positive emotions we want to feel. Whether it’s more love and warmth or more drive and unshakeable confidence, the best way to strengthen them is through habitual practice.

That’s why Tony Robbins designed his priming ritual. It’s one of the most effective ways to cultivate positive emotions, build upon past success, and condition both your mind and body for an extraordinary life.

Armed with these 6 steps and Tony’s daily priming ritual, you’ll have the power to master your emotions, live in more beautiful states, and create the life you desire on your own terms.

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