Did you know that the average person has 48 thoughts every minute? If you add that up, you could be thinking over 70,000 thoughts in a day!

There is an endless amount of thoughts and emotions that take up space in our brain and impact how we respond to others. This can be everything including our to-do list, comparing ourselves to others, fears, injustices, hopes, dreams, judgments, criticisms, unrealistic expectations, worries, assumptions, disappointments, and the list goes on and on and on.

I used to believe that what I was feeling in a moment, whether that was anger, joy, disappointment, or anything else, is how I should respond to a situation. But that’s not actually the case. Our emotions are a response to what is going on around us in our external world, but they can also be triggered by things we experienced in the past.

When we don’t take the time to check and process our emotions, they can run our lives and make decisions that we would not make otherwise or that we regret after the feelings pass.

Are your emotions running the show?

Does this sound familiar? You come home after work to find a sink piled high with dishes, the trash still needs to be taken out, and dinner hasn’t even started yet. You feel the emotions boiling up—frustration, anger, disappointment. As your husband comes to ask about your day, your emotions spill over: How come you didn’t start dinner? Why am I the only one to do things around here?! Don’t you think of anyone other than yourself?

This is a prime example of what happens when our emotions run the show.

You see, we learn how to deal with our emotions, particularly the stressful ones, from our families growing up. But the way we learn to handle our emotions is typically not the most healthy. So when we get frustrated or sad or mad, most of us either lash out or withdraw.

I know I’ve had more than one silly argument that was driven by my emotions in the moment.

Just because we feel an emotion doesn’t mean we have to believe it or act on it. We actually have the power to choose what we believe and what we allow into our minds, but we can only do this when we take the time to process our feelings and take them captive.

READ MORE: Why Changing Your Thoughts Changes Everything

Learn How to Handle Your Emotions

I’m not saying we need to turn off our emotions and be “logic robots.” What I am saying, though, is that we need guardrails to keep our emotions in check while still creating space for them to run their course without running the show.

Here’s how to do this:

1. Awareness – It all starts with paying attention when you feel strong emotions rising up. Pause and pay attention to how that emotion may be affecting how you want to respond to conflict. (Many people say that it’s actually helpful to think of the word “pause.”) There are sometimes even things from our past that are triggered in the present. These can cause conflict which seems to come out of nowhere or transfer emotions you had about something in the past into the present situation.

2. Take a Break – Instead of expressing your emotions, lashing out at your spouse, or other reactive or avoiding responses, take a moment to pause and notice what you are feeling. You might choose to go journal about what emotions are coming to the surface and the underlying reasons behind them. This is the time to allow yourself to feel your emotions without acting on them or trying to make them go away. Also, you may take a moment to consider how the emotions you are feeling about a situation may connect with an event in your past.

3. Practice Regulating – Once you have fully felt your emotions, it’s time to help your body regulate and return to normal using some self-soothing techniques. This might be letting yourself cry it out, journaling, deep-breathing, taking time to pray, or going for a walk. Regulating allows you to release those emotions and regulate your nervous system.

Now that you have taken time to feel your emotions and return to normal it’s time to…

4. Make a Choice About How to Respond – We can only make a choice about how to respond after we have dealt with our emotions. This allows us to make a conscious choice that takes into account both our emotions AND what we value and think.


By taking a step back from the situation that caused our emotions to come to the surface, we can appropriately let our emotions run their course without letting them run the show in our lives. When we do this, we are in control of making decisions and responses based on both our values and emotions.

Take some time to put this into action by considering…
When was a time when you reacted based on your emotions and regretted it later?
What would it look like to practice getting control over your emotions?
How does this process allow the Holy Spirit an opportunity to work in our lives?
Let me know what you’d add in the comments!


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