Men are often taught that being a ‘real man’ means ignoring their feelings and emotions. Yet, emotions are natural and all part of the human experience. Emotions empower us tomake decisions and give us the ability to manage dif cultmoments. If overwhelming feelings are not dealt with properly, they can induce violence and alienate people. It is therefore helpful to be understand how to manage your emotions in a positive way. 

Emotional reactions are normal, and the degree to which we experience them depend on the individual. When strong emotions take place, our physical and physiological reaction chains change. Our brain functions alter, and different areas of our brain become active, compared to when we are in a neutral state. When we face strong emotions, we tend to take the low road, focusing mainly on staying alive, consequently losing the sense of time, control and rationality. Certain factors can increase feelings of aggression, many of which occur in everyday life, like fatigue or stress. A key factor of emotion management is to collect information before the emotion becomes overwhelming. This enables you to make informed decisions. Here areve practical actions to manage your emotions.

1. KNOW YOUR BOILING POINT Knowing your boiling point enables
you to foresee risks and identify hazards before they arise. A boiling point is something that immediately brings you strong emotions and can make you lose control. Take time to identify your boiling point, as it differs from person to person.

2. BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE When emotions become overwhelming, being active can help reduce the build- up of anger. When you feel the need to vent, use your body physically through exercise such as running or jumping. Utilize easily accessible activities that can help you calm down, allowing for the emotion to pass.

3. TALK TO SOMEONE  It is unhealthy to keep a heavy emotional load to yourself. Talking about your emotions is helpful, as it enables your brain to deal with the matter in a new way. Talking to someone enables you to gain new perspective of the situation and reassures you that you are not alone with your emotion. You can speak to a friend, a family member, spiritual leader or seek professional help, such as a psychologist.

4. THINK RATIONALLY   When your emotions are in turmoil, your rationality can easily deteriorate. The Traf cLight Model can help you think more rationally.Imagine a traf c light. First is red, where youstop immediately and try to calm down. Then comes yellow, where you name your emotion, allow it to happen and research available options. Last is green, where you focus on proceeding cautiously. This process enables you to take time to stop and consider all options available before proceeding.

A mental image provides calming and clear headspace when a strong emotion takes over. It is a familiar thing or place that feels peaceful and relaxing. The tool requires concentration and repetition to be successful. For the mental image to effectively calm your body and mind, focus on the image for one minute or more by closing your eyes and imagining details.