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Perhaps you have trouble controlling your anger and irritation, and you frequently snap at others rather than showing them tolerance and acceptance. Or perhaps you experience worry and uneasiness, regularly losing yourself in doubts and fears rather than going forward with confidence. Perhaps you even find it difficult to control more “pleasant” emotions like exhilaration since you are easily distracted by one shiny object after another and find it difficult to concentrate on a single task. Of course, this is understandable given that the majority of us never received instruction in emotional regulation. You see, the ability to control your emotions is a prerequisite for every other ability and skill in life that matters. If you can’t control your anxiety and perfectionism, no matter how hard you study, you’ll never achieve your academic potential. No matter how hard you try to get better at communicating, if you can’t control your anger, you won’t get very far in your romantic relationships. No matter how fantastic a new business opportunity may be, if anxieties and limiting beliefs prevent you from pursuing it, it will be difficult. The most significant aspects of your life all depend on your capacity for effective emotion management. Fortunately, this ability can be learned. In fact, there are a few particular abilities you may hone that will enable you to control challenging emotions in just about every circumstance. Metacognition, or the capacity to be aware of and evaluate what is happening in your own mind—thoughts, emotions, beliefs, moods, expectations, self-talk, etc.—is the scientific term for this. Most of the time, we react to events on autopilot. For example, if your spouse gives you a harsh look, you might respond with a terrible reply.

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