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The Art Of Shifting Emotions. The Number One Mistake You May Be Controlling Your Emotions Wrongly.

One of the most common mistakes that most of us make, when trying to control our emotion, is that we end up suppressing it.

That is why I am usually quite hesitant to use the word "control" in my emotional healing philosophy. Simply for the fact that, "control" often drives us into the idea of forcing an act to stop.

Instead, I would prefer to use words with more empowering and dynamic energy such as "mastery" or "shifting, which bring forth a more open and fluid approach in dealing with any situations.

In this blog, I am going to share with you the reasons why most of us fall prey to the trap of emotional suppression when dealing with our emotions. You will also learn 4 guiding principles that will help you navigate out of your emotions in a healthier and more empowered way.

If you find yourself easily triggered emotionally such as getting frustrated, angry, panic, stressed, demoralised or hurt, I hope this article will show you the way to gaining emotional freedom.


As stress level goes up, so do our emotional triggers.

Emotional triggers are people, behaviours, places or anything that stir up uneasy and strong emotions within us.

This could be an annoying behaviour from a colleague who loves criticising someone's idea. Whenever this colleague unmutes himself in the call, your heart cringes and you become frustrated.

Or a slight nagging remark from your old mother that sets off your anger.

Another common trigger these days is listening to the number of new Covid-19 cases on the news. Your heart sank when the numbers go up and anxiety is triggered.

Our old habit of jumping the gun towards emotional triggers is often a reflection of the lack of emotional security. This has been a long-inherited caveman syndrome that all of us carry.

Our fear center, located in the middle of our brain, is wired to fight, flight or freeze when it comes to being threatened. This entire process is so automated that we hardly detect its operation.

We can see this inhibited nature amongst children, especially young infants. They express what they feel without any hesitation through crying.

However, as we grew up, adults begin to teach us about emotional control. And the way we are being educated will have major implications on how we will manage our emotions in our adult life.


For most of us belonging to Gen X and Gen Y (born in the 1970s to 1990s), it is most likely that we grew up with parents who are generally more traditional. The parenting skills are usually authoritative, with little affection.

Disciplinary bamboo canes used to be a common item sold in convenient stores. Imagine every mother buying them as a necessity like buying a hair shampoo?

I still remembered going to school, hiding my cane marks, feeling embarrassed. And I believed that was how many of us were brought up. The only relationship we have with our negative emotions is punishment.

In fact, that was how pets were being domesticated. We teach them how to behave through rewards and punishments. When the brain is being wired repeatedly through such cycles, eventually, it shapes the behaviour.

And the punishment we receive from young shapes our behaviour towards emotions.

We began to understand the danger of showing our feelings and we master the ability to restrain how we feel to avoid being punished and humiliated.

We either hide our feelings or we avoid experiencing them.

For example, when our anger is triggered, we may choose to pretend that we are cool and walk away. However, we are still very much attached to the anger and continue to dwell on it over long period of time.

Alternatively, we may immediately react with submissiveness to avoid conflicts. We panic and become scared or embarrassed. We try to say nice things to please everyone. As soon as things cool off, we beat ourselves up for being so weak and helpless. Shame and guilt arise.

In worst cases, we may even completely shutdown our emotional system and learn to live with little awareness to feelings.

A client recalled that when she was a little child, there was one day she could not stop crying, she could not really recall the incident but she clearly remembered how her father grabbed her and slapped her many times across her face to shut her up. She was so traumatised by the reaction that she did not cry again, anymore until her late 30s.

That major shock to the body and mind seemed to have snapped her out of her connection with emotions. As a result, in her adult life, she often feels emotionally detached, struggling to understand human relationships and emotions around her.

Emotional suppression is like flood control. We create barriers to contain the water current within. When the water overflows and forces the flood gates open, that immense power of release is unstoppable.

By the time we arrive at this stage, where we lose total control over our emotions, we are beginning to spiral into chronic stress, anxiety and depression.


By now, we see our behavioural nature towards emotional triggers and the destructive power behind emotional depression. All this pain can be avoided if we learn to navigate our emotional current in a more empowered and mindful way.

With that, I am leaving you with the 4 steps to the art of shifting your emotions:

Shift, don’t jump! - instead of trying to turn our negative emotions away instantly, take time to navigate out of it instead. Avoid jumping from one end of the stick to another. By doing so, not only did we fail to change our emotions, we are in fact suppressing our emotions even deeper.

Change in baby steps - just like acrylic painting, to achieve a colour tone, we try to mix in the colours, bit by bit. If we want to shift from anger to bliss, we can first lower anger into the ground of calmness. As the chaos of anger slows down, we invite intelligent reasoning into the heart space. When the heart becomes open to options, we add in the colour of patience and forgiveness. Eventually, when we are finally ready, we can shift into the space of true bliss, letting go with ease.

Emotional awareness - none of these shifts can take place if we do not have the mastery of deep awareness. This is the ability to catch our thoughts and feelings from moment to moment. Practising meditation can help install such discipline and inner power to our busy mind. Educating yourself with emotion list, knowing what they are and how they behave will also enable you to be more tuned in to your inner feelings.

You always have a choice - finally this is a golden reminder to yourself. Too often, we always perceive that our emotions are beyond our control. This is absolutely not true. Being in control is all about taking ownership of our own body, mind and heart. Stepping up to manage our own life experience is perhaps the greatest management skill that one can acquire.


I held a corporate webinar last week, the topic was "Adapting To Change Through Mindfulness".

One of the key concepts that I shared with the audiences is the art of shifting our emotions through deep awareness.

I explained that we may not be able to change our circumstances but we can certainly change our experiences by changing how we feel. In times of unwelcomed change, we can learn to shift out of fear towards hope and frustration towards calmness.

Upon sharing this, an audience asked.

He said that he practises the art of changing emotions all the time! He shared that whenever he gets angry, he is able to also forgive very quickly.

However, the problem is, he finds himself forgiving too easily which leads him to another negative emotion, which is feeling guilty about his weakness. He feels that he should not be giving in without putting up a fight.

He is confused and at a loss of this emotional shift in him. Is it right or is it wrong?

I thanked this audience for his marvellous sharing because what he experienced is so common amongst us.

Before I answered his question, I asked him, "well, do you know why you were angry?" he replied yes. And then I asked again "do you know why you forgive?" he hesitated and said no, not really, it was just an automatic response.

I guess his brief answer clarified his situation.

The key to the art of shifting emotions lies in the mastery of emotional awareness. At any one point if we are responding or changing or shifting in subconsciousness, we lose the grip of taking control.

For his case, it could be an inherited reaction of avoiding conflicts that lead him to easy forgiveness. If the forgiveness were inspired by joy and peace, there would not be the residual effect of feeling guilt.

I hope this example gave you a glimpse deeper into our topic today.

Let me know your thoughts, I would love to hear from you.

If you find this article useful and would love to explore how these steps can help your current state of emotional needs, I will be happy to chat more with you. Check out how my therapy and coaching programs can support your self-transformational journey by simply booking a free 30 min exploration call with me.

Love & light to you always.


Silvia Siow | Emotional Healer & Coach | Certified Emotion Code™ Practitioner

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