How to Become Less Emotional: 10 Strategies For Mastering Your Feelings and Regaining Control

You’ve been told a lie about emotions.

Society has told you to show your emotions whenever you feel like it, wear your heart on your sleeve at all times, and allow your “feelings” to determine the decisions that you do and do not make.

It’s time to put an end to that because frankly, it’s terrible advice.

Yes – you do have emotions. Yes – these emotions are valid.

However, the truth is that for most men, their emotions are doing more harm than they are good.

We need to make sure that you do not become one of these men. We need to make sure that you become a man whose emotions do not dictate the flow of his life.

We need to make you a master of your emotions, and not let your emotions be the master of you.

Whoever’s in control gets to decide what kind of experience you’re going to have.

Here are 11 essential tips for taking back control over your mind from your emotions.

1. Learn to Identify and Name Your Emotions

The first step to preventing your emotions from dictating the actions you make in your life is to learn what your emotions are.

According to psychologists, there are 6 basic emotions that people experience:

  • Sadness
  • Happiness
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Surprise
  • Disgust

A great kid’s movie talks about 5 of these 6. In Inside Out, however, they left “surprise” out of the film.

Either way, the point here is that you need to get past this idea that you don’t have emotions. You have emotions and they’re never going away – no matter what.

However, what people miss is that you can have emotions and not be an excessively and impulsively emotional being. You can have emotions and not allow them to dictate how your life goes.

The first step is to learn to name and identify your emotions as you’re experiencing them.

The better you get at identifying and naming your emotions, the easier it will be to not allow them to control you.

A man who controls his emotions controls his life.

Let’s make you that man.

2. Do Not Aim to Remove Your Emotions, Aim to Understand Them

As you are getting better at naming and understanding your emotions, you will enter the next phase of emotional development.

Once you can understand that you’re feeling happy, angry, sad, or any of the other basic 6 emotions (or any of the more complex emotions), it’s then up to you to figure out why you’re experiencing them.

This is a bit more complicated, but also more important.

Most people get to step one of identifying their emotions (a lot of us learn this in kindergarten) but never step two of understanding what’s causing our emotions. It’s a lot harder to go into your mind and start to correlate unconscious reactions (emotions) with experiences than it is to just feel things and act based on our feelings.

Overcoming this requires time, practice, and self-awareness. You might even want to try some journaling or talk therapy to figure out why you’re experiencing the emotions you’re experiencing.

Once we know why we’re experiencing an emotion, we can seek to develop healthy outlets for that emotion in a way that isn’t destructive to others.

3. Develop Healthy Emotional Outlets

Writing is a great outlet for emotions. Drinking booze is not.

Working out is a great outlet for emotions. Sleeping with a new girl every chance you get is not.

Make sense?

In theory, probably yes.

However, if you’re like me, you probably grew up thinking that these behaviors were okay.

You probably know that it’s bad to drink, overeat, skip workouts, or sleep around, but you do it anyway.

The reason? Habits.

James Clear’s Atomic Habits is largely about building good habits, but he also talks quite a bit about what happens when you have bad habits as well.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” – James Clear

In life, when we encounter difficult emotions, we’re very likely to revert back to old habits that have comforted us in the past. Even if these habits are bad (like binge eating, for example), we’ll stick with them because they make us feel comfortable.

This is why it is essential to develop healthy outlets for your emotions so that when emotional experiences arise (as they will), you are prepared and equipt.

Here are a few common healthy emotional outlets:

  • Art
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Working out
  • Martial arts training
  • Squeezing a stress ball
  • Writing/Journaling
  • Volunteering
  • Talking to a friend
  • Seeing a therapist/support group
  • Dancing

Next time you’re feeling emotional, instead of lashing out, try one of these. It might feel silly at first, but trust me, you’ll feel better.

Better to go dancing than pick a fight with your girlfriend, friend, or boss.

4. Study Stoicism and Its Origins

Did you know that Marcus Aurelius’s (the founder of Stoicism) wife was a serial cheater?

You probably didn’t. I didn’t until recently.

Imagine your girlfriend just cheated on you. It feels like you’ve been stabbed in the back by the person you love the most. Your life is in shambles.

Everything is wrong.

How do you manage your mind through all this? How do you handle the stress and the heavy emotions?

Oh, and by the way, you’re the Emporer of one of the largest empires in the history of the world. You’re the most powerful man in the world, and you can’t even get your wife to stop sleeping with other men.

Look, I’m not saying your wife or girlfriend is going to cheat on you. I’m also not saying that if they do, you should handle the affair exactly the way Marcus did.

However, the affairs (and his other experiences) that Marcus dealt with helped him develop Stoicism, one of the world’s most powerful philosophies when it comes to building strength, leadership, and focus.

There are principles in Stoic philosophy that can give you the ability to control your mind as you go through the most emotional experiences of your life.

If you keep allowing yourself to be guided by your emotions, you will miss out on the best years of your life.

That’s why, whether that’s an affair, the early days of building a business, or the anxiety of a new relationship, it will definitely help to study Stoicism – a philosophy designed to help people stop acting erratic and emotional.

5. When You Do Express Emotions, Express Them Well

Remember the folk tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf?

In the story, a young shepherd boy keeps telling people that there’s a wolf coming to attack his town’s flock in order to get attention drawn to himself. After a few times “crying wolf”, the townspeople grow tired of the boy’s complaints, and they stop believing his complaints as real.

Of course, when this happens, a real wolf finally comes for the flock, and the wolf eats the boy. It’s kind of a dark story.

The moral of the story is to stop giving false alarms. Tell the truth.

At the very least, don’t lie.

Lying makes it seem like you stand for nothing. Authentic self-expression makes you a leader.

It’s really that simple.

In terms of relationships, if you’re emotional and erratic, people are at first going to believe what you’re saying. Over time, they’re going to start to think you’re an emotional and erratic person, and they’re going to eventually start to dismiss your emotions.

The problem is, when you struggle for real and need help for real, no one will believe that your struggle is real. People will invalidate you, and it will be all your fault.

The solution is simple: do not express yourself unless you can do so confidently and accurately.

The more you talk, the less you say.

This is true in romantic relationships, business relationships, and every single form of expression in your life. If you do not say much, people are going to be more likely to listen when you speak.

The caveat is that you must express yourself well.

Practice expressing yourself through writing, journaling, and thinking, and master your own mind. Then, when the time comes in your real life, speak calmly and confidently.

Men who express themselves well have the ability to alter reality in ways that suits them best.

6. Improve Your Diet

People forget that diet and mood are closely correlated.

Caffeine doesn’t directly cause anxiety, but caffeine can make your anxiety symptoms worse. Likewise, excessive sugar intake can increase anxiety, depression, and other mental issues.

I’m not saying that your diet has to be nothing but hard-boiled eggs and salads, but I am saying that you need to be thoughtful about the foods that you are putting in your body and how they are affecting your mood.

Carbs (not the refined kind) can be great for your mental health because they increase serotonin in your brain. Protein decreases anxiety.

I also know that for me personally, if I start slacking on my hydration, the symptoms of depression and anxiety are soon to follow. Scientific evidence corroborates this.

If you eat nothing but doughnuts and drink nothing but caffeine and sugar all day, you’ll feel like crap. You’re going to feel sad, anxious, and angry.

The more intense these emotions are, the harder they will be to control.

7. Sleep Enough

In his book Why We Sleep, sleep scientist Matthew Walker said something that made me drop the book on the floor and change the way I live my life.

“The shorter you sleep, the shorter your lifespan.”

But not sleeping enough doesn’t just make you die sooner, it also decreases the quality of the years that you are living. It also makes it harder for you to control your emotions.

Sleep deprivation can increase your risk of suffering from anxiety and depression. In fact, the CDC even states that not sleeping enough is akin to being drunk.

It’s very bad for your health and happiness to not sleep well. It’s also very bad for your impulse control.

Not sleeping makes you more illogical, more impulsive, and less thoughtful.

If you take nothing from this segment, consider that sleep deprivation is the worst thing you can do for your health and your emotional control. Sleep is the hidden key to mastering your emotions.

8. Stop Having Relationships That Make You Emotional

Toxic relationships bring out the worst in us.

That’s why they’re called “toxic relationships”.

If you find yourself in relationships that make you unseen, uncomfortable, or demeaned, you’re probably on a slippery slope to also being in a relationship that makes you overly emotional.

Cutting people out of your life probably isn’t the advice you want to hear, but if the relationship is really making you lose control of your emotions, it might be time to find some new people to hang out with.

Relationships should bring out the best in us, nurture us, and allow us to grow into what we’re truly capable of becoming.

Do not waste valuable years of your life in exhausting relationships.

If your relationship makes you an emotional mess, it’s not a good relationship.

9. Interact With Men Who You Look Up Too

Having great control over your emotions isn’t something that comes naturally to all of us.

Going to therapy, joining a men’s group, or working with a men’s coach who wants to help you get better control over your emotions are just a few great strategies that you can use to build better emotional control.

At a certain point, you need to stop experimenting and start learning. All of the tools that you might need to become the man that you’ve always wanted to be are available to you, you just need to hunt them down.

It can be transformational to have someone doing the hustling for improvement with you, instead of against you.

In addition to optimizing your diet, sleeping well, and educating yourself on better emotional strategies, you also may want to find a “master” who can show you the way.

10. Develop a Mindfulness Practice

I used to think that being mindful meant that I had to be sitting on a cushion, chanting sutras, and wearing those big ole elephant pants.

This made me hate mindfulness – until I found a better way.

There’s nothing wrong with following a mindfulness practice that’s more traditional like the one I described above, but the truth is that all you really need to do to be mindful is just to take time out of every day to reflect.

This could be journaling. This could be as simple as mindful walking. This could be practicing yoga, doing martial arts, surfing, swimming, or even riding your bike.

You need to find some activity that gives you a connection between your mind and body. Connect your mental experience with your physical one.

The path to true emotional control requires some daily habit where you are constantly reflecting on the state of your mind and body.

Mindfulness is the key to overcoming your emotional impulses.


Learning to control your emotions is a challenge for even the most level-headed of men.

We all have experiences in our lives that can make us excessively stressed, sad, or angry, and learning how to navigate these experiences healthfully is an essential aspect of self-development.

To put it bluntly, if you’re a man who can’t control his emotions, you’re a boy. People won’t respect you until you are the one driving the bus – not your feelings.

The problem is, it’s hard to control your emotions. You’re probably going to need some guidance. 

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