1 • assess your emotional management style

The way you deal with and manage your emotions is what determines whether that emotion has a positive or detrimental impact on your health, life and relationships. In this exercise you are going to discover your emotional management style. While you might use a few, depending on the situation and how you are feeling at the time, one tends to dominate - it’s that one I want you to identify. If having done this your mind starts to judge you, resist engaging with those judgments. The purpose of this exercise is to show you what a mature emotional management style looks like and to help you see where you are at now. 


The Mature Style


Someone with a mature emotional management style


  • Understands that emotions are information and is able to welcome them fully without needing to change, control or sedate them
  • Does not label emotions good or bad, but regards them simply as movements of energy
  • Feels comfortable with experiencing the full range of emotions, from sadness and anger to happiness and peace
  • Knows how to express and use their emotions in ways that are appropriate to the situation
  • Is more understanding of other people when they are experiencing emotions and will allow them move through their emotions rather than closing them down 
  • Knows how to take care of themselves if they do experience strong emotions – for example by calling a friend or becoming fully present to what they are feeling


The Open Style


Someone with an open emotional management style


  • Understands that emotions are an invaluable part of being human
  • Will allow themselves to experience their emotions, for instance anger or sadness, but unlike those that use a proactive approach are more likely to identify with their emotion and will just wait for the emotion to pass
  • Will tolerate other people being emotional, but not necessarily be comfortable with the situation and will experience some degree of resistance
  • Will lose sight of their authentic sense of self when feeling emotional


The Closed Style


Someone with a closed emotional management style


  • Keeps their so-called negative emotions, for instance anger, sadness or fear, hidden, because they are uncomfortable with them
  • May or may not be aware of what they are feeling
  • Will be fearful of expressing emotions, because, commonly, they have a fear of being criticised, losing control, being weak (if they have believe that showing emotion is a sign of weakness) or upsetting others
  • Will find it difficult to experience intimacy and connection because they struggle to reveal and share their inner experience
  • Will be upset, intimidated and/or overwhelmed by those who do show their emotions
  • Will tend to project their emotions onto others, for example falsely accusing someone of being angry, when the truth is that they are angry themselves
  • Will probably use food, alcohol, smoking, drugs, work, sex, gambling and so on to control and sedate their emotions
  • Will dismiss others who are emotional, perhaps by saying ‘you really shouldn’t be upset’, ‘it’s not that bad’, ‘look on the bright-side’ and so on


The Anti-Emotion Style


Someone with an anti-emotion emotional management style


  • Will either reveal very little emotion or be blown hot and cold by their emotions – there is no healthy middle ground
  • Respond to other people’s ‘negative’ emotions with hostility, for example a mother might say to her child, ‘If you don’t stop crying I’ll give you something to cry about’ or ‘You can stop that now you ungrateful little so and so’
  • Is constantly involved in power struggles and knows only how to ‘feel in control’ by putting other people down
  • Is emotionally unstable and unpredictable, which can be very intimidating for people close to them
  • Will probably use food, alcohol, smoking, drugs, work, sex, gambling and so on to control and sedate their emotions


Having read through these descriptions you can probably guess that the healthiest way to manage emotions is the mature one, followed by the open approach, closed approach and then the anti-emotion approach. The good news is that these are not fixed levels, if your dominant way of managing emotions is one of the latter three, that just indicates the potential for you to enrich your health by learning and using skills you will learn in this section


 now move onto the next section














LinkedIn Facebook
To contact us call +44 20 3239 4118
or e-mail us at info@academyofhumanpotential.org