Be Emotionless

Emotions play a crucial role in our lives.They are the senses of our psyche, and they are as powerful as our physical senses. Your emotions tell you what you like and what you dislike, what you want and what you don't, and because they deliver such important messages, you need to bring awareness and acknowledgement to your feelings. However, when you're controlled by your emotions, they can seriously affect your ability to perform and to think clearly in crucial situations. When you need to be at your best, you need a variety of tools to keep your emotions from controlling you.


Training Your Brain

  1. Accept that life just is. It's not that it's unfair, it's not that it sucks, it's not that it's great or full of rainbows; it just is. There's no changing it; there's no doing anything about it. You exist, thus it exists. There's nothing flowery or romantic or terrible about it. This is the mindset you need to get into. When nothing is a big deal, when nothing has meaning, emotions fade away.
    • Really, what is worthy of a display of emotion? Love? It's fleeting. It's all over the place and not at all unique. And often it's wrapped up in selfish or sexual motivation. Children? They may be better off not seeing it. Convince yourself that there is no point, that life just is -- and it'll all be a bit easier.
  2. Think community, not self. It's a lot harder to be emotionally caught up in yourself when you're focused on others. In highly individualistic communities, the self can easily become paramount at the expense of a sense of connection with others. In turn, this can cause us to be too emotionally self-involved because the self is all we've got to concentrate on.
    • Connecting with other people is healthy and uplifting in an individual's life. By helping others, volunteering, giving time to mentor or guide others, sharing your knowledge and your cup of sugar with other people in your community, you'll find your emotions aren't such a driving force.
    • By focusing on others, you leave less space and time for turning any inner emotions into overwhelming inaction or self-distress. When others rely on you, you find the courage get on with it and stop wallowing in your emotions.
  3. Create new mind maps. According to neuro-leadership expert David Rock, it's very hard to rewire our neural pathways. Instead, it's a whole lot easier to make new ones. And the good news is that new mind maps, or new ways of thinking, tend to be stronger because they're fresh and highly focused.
    • Rather than spending inordinate amounts of time trying to overcome an ingrained perception of yourself as sullen, hopeless and never-going-anywhere, make a new mind map of yourself as inspired, goal-oriented and exciting to be around.
    • Spend all of your energy on creating this new mental map through actions that confirm objectively that this is the person you are. With practice, you'll shape this new neural circuitry, and you can simply ignore the old wiring that had you so emotionally overwrought.
  4. Monitor your positive emotions, too. This is about being emotionless, and unfortunately, that spans the positive end of the spectrum, too. So when your mother buys you those concert tickets you've wanted, or your best friend walks in the room, acknowledge the person or the gesture, but don't let loose. Smile and be grateful, but keep it at that.
    • If you really want to appear emotionless, you won't get enthusiastic or excited about anything. The good news here is that if nothing really makes you happy, nothing can really make you that sad. You'll just have a baseline neutrality when it comes to everything.
  5. Let go of what you can't change. You may feel angry when you find yourself powerless to change a situation, but you have to acknowledge your anger to release it. Instead, focus on changing what you can so that your mind is pointed in a positive direction instead of being mired in misery.
    • Thinking positively sets the stage for emotion. While this is an option, consider not really thinking at all. Disengaging is something the human brain is capable of. So if you're looking to be entirely neutral, don't think positive or negative. Experiment with shutting yourself off entirely.

Thinking Unemotionally in the Moment

  1. Dissociate from the situation. Think of your life and what's going on around you like a movie. Rise above what is happening and pretend you're observing somebody else, not yourself. This action allows you to objectively interpret a situation without involving your emotions.
    • Imagine that you're looking at the situation as an outsider, with no prior knowledge of the subject matter and no emotional involvement. With dissociation, you don't allow yourself to be subjective; instead, you remain objective, like a doctor treating a patient. In neuro-linguistic programming, this technique is called "reframing."
    • Be careful with dissociation because it comes with inherent risks. Dissociating too often can lead to unhealthy results in your mind and your personality if you're not careful. Only dissociate on a situation-by-situation basis, not as your ultimate response to every difficult situation. Sometimes you need to face certain things head on instead of dissociating.
  2. Don't anticipate the future. Because you'll probably be wrong about the outcome! When we start thinking, "Oh God, so and so is going to do this if I do this," it's all too easy to start freaking out. If you don't concern yourself with the consequences, there's no fear or worry. Simply act on your gut. You can't predict the future, so why try?
    • If you absolutely must picture the future, imagine yourself 5 minutes from now, totally losing your cool. Do you want to be that person? Probably not! Use negative imagery to determine who you don't want to be.
  3. Think logically. Rather than assuming things based on fear, anger or similar emotional reactions, work purely with facts. Logic often combats out-of-control emotions and allows you to see the reality in any situation. After all, reality is outside your head -- not your interpretation of it.
    • If you're afraid you won't do well in a job interview, remind yourself of the facts. First, you wouldn't have gotten an interview if you didn't have the qualifications. Second, if you don't get the job, you may not be a good fit for the company, but it doesn't mean you aren't a good candidate.
    • Staying logical in an emotional crisis allows us to take well-established mental shortcuts instead of thinking things through more substantially. When you're used to reacting emotionally to difficult situations, you have to retrain your mind to think logically.
  4. Banish self-sabotaging thoughts. Don't whip yourself into a frenzy of self-pity and internal loathing. Media images of the perfect body, the perfect lifestyle, the perfect job and the like are targeted at making us all feel "less than." You can choose whether or not to entertain these thoughts.
    • Stop comparing yourself to others. The moment you compare yourself with others, you reduce your own unique worth. You have talents, abilities and foibles that are unique to you. Own them and help them to either shine or disappear, as needed. The comparison is for prices, not people.
    • Stop thinking that you aren't equipped to handle a situation or thinking everything always goes wrong regardless. Thinking this way actively undermines your functioning. Instead, replace thoughts like these with logic, and try to find a solution to your situation.[1]
  5. Know emotions have their place. Once in a while, they come in handy. We have them for a reason -- if they weren't useful, we wouldn't have evolved them. In fact, studies show that when we go off our gut, sometimes (usually when we're low on energy) we make better decisions.[2] So if you're feeling something, determine if it's valid. If it is, you may want to stick with it.
    • If it's not valid, throw it out the window. Defenestrate it. If it's paranoid, neurotic, worrisome, fearful, or nauseating, let it go. It's just that voice in your head that's there to drive you batty.
    • If it is valid (grief, for example, is a negative emotion that's valid), acknowledge it. You cannot let it go until you do so. Accept that you had the thought and let it pass. It will get replaced by another in time.

Keeping Your Cool

  1. Take a deep breath. Deep breaths keep you calm in tough situations and can cause significant improvement in your overall health. Try some of these methods to use breath to steady your emotions:
    • Breathe in through your nose for 2 seconds. Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds. Repeat the pattern until you feel your emotions receding.
    • Sit down in a comfortable chair and become aware of your breathing, whether it's deep or shallow. Don't try to change it; instead, make fists with both of your hands and squeeze your thumbs against your index fingers. Release the squeeze, and then squeeze again and hold. You'll notice your breath becoming deeper and slower with each squeeze, and you will relax and release your emotions.[3]
  2. Calm down by distracting yourself. Rather than remaining stuck in a worrisome train of thought, get up and do something else. Thoughts come and go -- you can usher the bad ones out by distracting yourself with new ones. Soon enough, you'll be thinking, "Oh yeah, I was upset about that, wasn't I?"
    • Choose something active that makes you feel good. If you're sad or worried, and you can't stop thinking, run outdoors with your pet, go to the gym for a workout or take your camera and take photos of nature. Do anything that will actively engage your mind and force your thoughts away from emotional ones.
    • Pick an activity that requires intense concentration. Try knitting, sewing or another repetitive type of activity that requires you to focus your mind.
  3. Don't abuse alcohol or drugs as a way to bury your emotions. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but you'll wake up in the morning with the double the regret you would've had. It's a very temporary solution to the problem, and it will always come back.
    • Also, avoid overeating or under-eating in response to overwhelming emotions. You'll just put more stress on your body (and mind) if you don't give it the nutrition it needs.
  4. Keep a journal. Dedicate it to your emotions. Dedicate it to you. It will help you become more self-aware, and it will serve as an outlet. So the next time you experience an emotion (best if it's a particularly strong one), get to your journal as soon as you can and start writing.
    • What was your emotional trigger? Did you sense it coming? What did the emotion feel like? How did it present itself in your body? How did you make it dissipate? Or did it dissipate on its own?
  5. Cut out toxic friends. If you constantly find yourself drained and dragged down, it may not necessarily be you. You could just be in an environment that beats you down. Most of us have people in our lives we're just too lazy or too nice to cut out. We've got to stop that! They can rile up emotions that we just don't need. Starting today, go cold turkey on the first name that pops into your head. You don't need that crap.
    • Unfortunately, people have a great deal of influence over our emotions. Well, they don't actually, but we give them that power. Life is too short to surround ourselves with people who make us feel bad, so let them go. They can find other people to leech off of!

Developing Habits to Control Your Emotions

  1. Practice meditation. Meditation is one of the best ways to master your emotions. Through meditation and practicing mindfulness, you learn to acknowledge your emotions, accept them and let them go. Though some people manage to release emotional attachments on command, this is generally only attained after practicing meditation for a long time and maintaining a daily practice.
    • Find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed and assume a comfortable position that allows you to breathe deeply. You can practice a simple meditation by focusing on your breath. Inhale through your nose and breathe into your belly; exhale from your belly through your nose. While breathing, focus on your breath as it moves through your body.
    • Scan your body with your awareness from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Just be aware of your sensations. Is it hot or cold? Can you feel the seat/floor below you? Just notice.
  2. Use visualization during meditation. Imagine something that you associate with a peaceful feeling, and concentrate on that image in your mind. Every time your mind wanders, acknowledge, accept the thoughts and let them go. Bring the focus back to your visualization.[4]
    • If any thoughts or emotions come up, simply acknowledge them. Do not try to change or fix them: just accept them. Then let them go and continue to breathe deeply.
    • A good meditation session can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes or longer if desired. Once you have reached your "place," you'll notice the shift in your mood, thoughts and behaviors. Once you're good at it, you can use it on the fly in situations that challenge your emotional stability, and you'll be able to immediately regain your composure.
  3. Admit when you're wrong. Many issues in life simply don't have a pure, single answer, and you can't think in such black and white terms. When you're wrong, make amends or apologize to avoid sinking into all-consuming feelings of guilt or regret. Your life should have no room for negative emotions. They don't do you any good!
    • Just like in meditation, admit when you're wrong and let it go. It's in the past. Now you know better! It's a mistake you'll never make again, so no use being preoccupied with it. It takes a very big person to admit when they're wrong -- it's more admirable than being right in the first place.
  4. Avoid self-sabotaging behavior. No matter how angry, frustrated or worried you are, do not act upon such emotions until you have taken the time to carefully review the situation. Place yourself in a position to think clearly and see the consequences of your actions. If there's even the slightest possibility you might act differently if you sleep on it, do so.
    • Think before you speak. Often emotions cause us to blurt out a response that doesn't reflect well on us. Take your time and use wisdom. If you're dying to say something before thinking it through, remember the adage that it is better not to be heard and to have people think you're not so bright, than to open your mouth and confirm it.
      • If a colleague criticizes your work, refrain from writing her an angry email or saying something curt to her while you're angry. Rather, take some time to figure out whether her criticism is valid, whether you can improve your work thanks to her input or whether you need to ask her to change the tone in which she delivers criticism to be more professional.
  5. Know yourself. If you recognize a situation that might rile you up, take control of the reigns as quickly as you can. Leave the situation, somehow tune out, or steer it in a different direction. Only you know what would work for you. But to do this, you need to know you, your triggers, and your go-to reactions. So study up on the only thing you have access to 24/7. You.
    • This will only be easy if you strive to help yourself out! So instead of facing a situation and wondering why the heck you can't seem to get a grip on it, do the work. Breathe. Distract yourself. Heck, reread this article. Ask others how they disengage. Habits take practice, not miracles. Practice emotionless habits and sooner or later, you'll be emotionless. Though you may not notice it until someone points it out!


  • Do not entertain someone who criticizes you. Just give them a bored look for them to know that you're not interested.
  • Many people feel a whole lot better after crying because it's a physical mechanism for sorting out your emotions. However, when you're dealing with an emotional situation at work, you often can't afford to start crying in front of everyone. Try pinching the skin between your thumb and your forefinger really hard. You'll be surprised at how effective this is at turning off the waterworks.
  • For more study on how to use logic to reframe how you react to emotions, look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or "CBT". Doctors, scientists and therapists accept CBT as an effective tool for changing the way you think.
  • If someone endeavors to annoy you or pull any emotion on you with words, maintain your voice and facial expressions and say, "That's quite intriguing of you to say so...".
  • A good way to calm yourself down is to count by two's in your head (2,4,6,8,10,12 etc. ). It's an easy way to distract yourself when you are feeling emotional.


  • Cutting or hurting yourself (ex: slitting your wrists or pinching yourself) is not an option to release your inner pain. Not only will it harm you and possibly leave permanent scars, but it will only make you feel worse and slip into a darker world.
  • If you find yourself at the mercy of your emotion, and you can't stop them, you might be suffering from anxiety, depression or another condition. Do not hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional. The sooner you get help, the sooner you will be taken through coping tools that will help you for the rest of your life.

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Sources and Citations