Simple Process to Manage Emotional Outburst

Lately I’ve been talking to a lot of people, who are either screwing up big time or just melting down during an emotional outburst.

How the experts define emotional outburst?

Emotional dysregulation (ED) is a term used in the mental health community to refer to an emotional response that is poorly modulated, and does not fall within the conventionally accepted range of emotive response. ED may be referred to as labile mood (marked fluctuation of mood)[1] or mood swings. – From Wikipedia

An outburst is an intense release of emotions. The dictionary tries to define outburst by describing it as a volcanic eruption, an outbreak or a strong release. An outburst can occur in various forms, and it can have a multitude of causes. What qualifies an emotional release as an outburst is society’s definition of appropriate behavior in a specific environment. – From

So, how I define emotional outburst?

It is something when one or many emotion(s) takes over your logical brain. In a normal state of mind you wouldn’t act the way you act during an emotional outburst. I’ll give you an example,

A kid who has been playing an iPad for 20-30 minutes and suddenly, the iPad is taken away by mum or dad.

Booom !!!

Anger, Frustration, Sadness all those emotions take over the little brain, thus loosing control on the behaviour (something external world can see). Emotions are not visible all the time, but the behaviour out of emotions are.

Shouting, screaming and crying starts. Even throwing things at parents could start. This to me is emotional outburst, where you are not in control of you actions.

For an adult, who is working on many things and the boss comes out and says, leave everything and focus on this new report, I want this by tomorrow morning.

Being an adult you might not be screaming, shouting or crying but you could be angry, frustrated or sad. You might go for a smoke or stomp your feet or shout at your colleague/wife.

Emotional Outburst disturbs you, it is painful and not productive (most of the time).

So I use a simple step by step process to move things to a better outcome

S: Slow Down
T: Take Note
O: Open Up
P: Pursue Value (What is important)

S: Slow Down

Being a preacher and practitioner of mindfulness. Slowing down is the first and most important part when emotions are taking over a situation. This is a skill which can be built by practice. Take a moment to slow down.

T: Take Note

Take note of the trigger. Take note of the emotions and thoughts you are experiencing. Acknowledge them.

O: Open Up

Instead of fighting with those emotions by using distractions or unhelpful behaviours. Just observe those emotions as they are. Let them be and give them some room. This will help you calm down a little bit and plan strategies to deal with the situation better. Rather than managing the sadness or anger, you are seeing the emotions as they are.

P: Pursue Value (What is important)

If you’ve done above steps, you’ll be in a calmer mental state by now. This will help you make choices, choices which will be aligned to your goals or dreams. You can ask the question, is having a good relationship with my boss important? If the answer is yes. Even if the Boss gives you suddenly more work and you are in control of your emotions. You’ll be able to calmly explain them logical reasons for not getting the work done.

As I say it’s simple but not easy. The S.T.O.P technique helps me manage emotions better and hope it helps you manage things better.

If the emotions are regular and long term, following step by step interrogation could be helpful.

For example, having anxiety and fear of public speaking.

  • What is this emotion stopping you do?
  • Is this all the time or sometimes?
  • What is triggering the emotion?
  • Are you able to change the trigger? (Yes or No)
    • If Yes, How and When?
    • If No,What are the resources you need to change the trigger? (physical & emotional)
      • Do you have the resources or skills to get them?

And lot more depending on where the flow is going………

With these kind of systematic approach, you’ll be able to identify the triggers which is causing the emotional outbursts and plan to get unstuck.

When we slow down and notice things with all the senses, things are much more easier to handle.

Best of Web

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Mrugank Patel