Tips to control emotional responses

This forum is a new topic on our support forums about tips to control emotional responses.  Asthma is often trigged through stirred emotions.  When I was younger I lived in a home of domestic violence and seeing my family member beat repeatedly would send me into an attack.  Little did I know that the emotional trigger would be a life long struggle for me but I have gained better control and want to share with others what has worked for me. 

" I assess the situation and see if there is anything I can do to change it or come out with a winning solution.  If not, I tell myself it's not worth the emotional charge–I quickly diffuse any situation that can get out of hand by either apologizing sincerely or speaking my mind tactfully.  I don't hold anything in and learned I take control or power over situations".

 — Please share what works for you to keep emotions in check?


Comments 31

  • Allison

    Wow. Welcome and thank you for sharing that. So sorry you had to witness that as a child.

    I don't have asthma, but my son does, as well as other things, and I have been reading a lot about mindfulness techniques and mindfulness for kids (and for adults!) and apps you can use to train yourself to be present. I want to get more proficient with it myself before picking something for him, and/or encouraging my school district to look into it. So far, I like what I've learned.

  • uniquelyme2016

    Thank you!  It's something that I had to really think about as to why I suffered so much and my step-father was a heavy smoker.

    Music is also something that I relied on heavily to control my emotions.  I could hear a song that transported me to another place and time.  Reading also was another aid for me since I could create images in my head.  I later began drawing and it had a calming effect on me. You are right about mindful techniques they do work.  Changing ones mood can help a GREAT deal.  When I look back, I recall going through a horrible ordeals and suffered be admitted in the hospital so much they knew me the moment I hit the door.   I thought I was a celebrity!   I would always hear my mother say …"not in front of the children"…especially this one that suffers from asthma to my step-father but it didn't matter he always ranted.  I realized I had to change my reaction to the madness.  Eventually mom put on her big girl pants and ousted him and things started to get better all around.

  • K8sMom2002

    @uniquelyme2016, on having to survive that. I'm glad your mom made good choices in the end.  

    It's amazing what one small change will do to short-circuit a cycle. 

    I know that sometimes, when I feel an asthma attack coming on, I can slow my breathing and try not to panic and think calming thoughts. If it's a good day, that can help.

    That also helps me control my emotions at other times. Also, other things, like yoga stretches and "checking out" of stressful situations help me. Knowing my "triggers" and where all my buttons are helps me deal with people who routinely try to push those buttons. 

  • uniquelyme2016

    My mom was tough!  Sometimes she would tell me to hold the asthma pump and only use it when I got to a critical point.  Something I do today to make sure I am aiding my stamina.  I don't recommend that for children but I do it now so that I try to slow down my breathing and remove perfume ridden scents that can trigger it.

  • K8sMom2002

    One word of caution — untreated asthma can damage lungs. It's important to by your doctor. I compare not taking my asthma meds properly to a diabetic not taking her meds — neither has a particularly good outcome. 

  • uniquelyme2016

    I fully agree…  I'm not talking about a serious attack..i'm talking about when you feel your chest tightening..but not to the point of an attack.  I should have been clear.  I was told it's not always good to take the inhaler right away..let's say you are used to getting that quick fix and one day you forget your inhaler….panic sets in  that can lead to a more serious situation. I treat my inhaler like AMERICAN EXPRESS.  I don't leave home without it

  • K8sMom2002

    Way to go! I know one lady who seems to think you can become "addicted" to your inhaler and it makes your lungs "weaker," so she doesn't follow her doctor's orders, which is a big no-no in my book. 

    My mom had similar concerns until her pulmonologist explained that keeping the lungs as clear and un-inflamed as possible was better for her health.

  • uniquelyme2016

    thank you for sharing that — sometimes we get so much information that is incorrect and we need to have the cold hard facts.  After all, we want to live!

  • K8sMom2002

    Living is definitely GOOD. "Cold hard facts" or scientifically based info is a great way to improve the way we tackle asthma. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Here's a thing that's helped me already today — hugs! Or cute kid pix! I'm such a control freak that it's hard for me to admit I'm NOT in control, but if I can distract myself with something happy, sometimes that can really make a difference.

    And slow, deep breathing … that truly helps me. 

  • Jen

    uniquelyme – thanks for sharing your calming techniques.  Sorry for what you endured.  Hugs~

    I find that when I've taken "me" time during the week, I handle things better overall.  For me, that means the gym mwf and hanging out with friends on Wednesday nights.  What sorts of things do people do for "me" time?

  • uniquelyme2016

    so true our eyes can draw on something that can change our mood.  Like this awesome video someone shared with me yesterday: 


  • uniquelyme2016

    …for me "me" time is being with myself..going for a walk, going window shopping, learning something interesting or hanging out with my girlfriends or even helping someone out!

  • K8sMom2002

    Uniquelyme, I love that video! It cheered me up immensely! Thanks for sharing. So you can definitely chalk up the time you took to share to "helping someone out!"  

  • Jen

    Cute video.  I think that making a conscious effort to do little things, like smiling at a stranger, saying hi, holding a door for someone, etc can help to lift your mood.

  • Shea

    Wow, I was on daily roll call and I was writing about taking me-time, just before I came to this post. Me-time for me is coming to this online support forum, it is actually doing my neb instead of trying to get by without it because I feel too busy, it is taking a bath, reading, or watching a non-kids tv show (I have a 4 year old), or, a movie if I can fit it in.

  • uniquelyme2016

    I like your ME time!  I used to take baths years ago and don't find much time to linger this way.  But when I look back I used to read and sit candles around the tub.  I need to go back to that!

  • K8sMom2002

    UniquelyMe2016, how have you changed things up to include new "me" time? 

    I've found a new show that I like to watch — The Crown, on Netflix, but then I'm a recovering Downton Abbey fan!

  • uniquelyme2016

    What???????  I am a huge Downton Abbey fan!  Couldn't get enough and was depressed when it ended.  Those period shows I find really relaxing!  Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (still no. 1 with Collin Firth–I think that's how you spell his name) etc. I hated the newer one that came out..they skimped on important details.  

  • K8sMom2002

    Well, it's a slightly different time period (1950s Great Britain as opposed to the teens and 20s), but I really like it so far. It's about Queen Elizabeth and her life as she moves from being a royal princess and heir to the throne to being the Queen. 

    Glad to "meet" another Downton Abbey fan!

  • K8sMom2002

    @uniquelyme2016, did you ever tune in to The Crown? I have watched every episode of the first season, and now –  – I have to wait until they have another season. 

  • Jen

    @uniquelyme2016 - How are things going?  Are you all ready for the holidays?

  • Serene

    I tend to practice visualization techniques to handle emotional responses and other reactions that I've learned by doing hypnotherapy. This tends to work pretty well, especially with repetition, the trick is I need to remember to do it.

    One technique is to try to imagine a big dial in front of you in your minds eye. You can call it your emotional response dial. When you are upset, see what number it is currently at. Your mind will make one up, believe me.

    Then knowing where the dial is set, shut your eyes you slowly imagine turning the response dial down to zero, while at the same time relaxing and taking calming breathing each time the dial goes down a notch. AS the dial ticks slowly down to zero, tell yourself to relax more,  and physically try to relax more and more each time and when it is at zero, imagine yourself as relaxed as you can be and breathing slowly and naturally and that you no longer are bothered by whatever it is… When in stressful situations, you can imagine the dial and slowly turn it down, breathing slowly and deeply and in a relaxed manner each time that the dial goes down.

    I find it works pretty well.

    You can also use the same technique to imagine, and try to improve asthma by relaxing when stress might trigger you. Imagine the same thing- a dial in front of you and what number you are at. Imagine zero is your airways fully open. As you dial the dial down, imagine, your airways are dilating, and filling with oxygen and your airways are relaxing and less tight with each notch of the dial. Breath calmer as you dial it down. Imagine zero is totally relaxed and airways opening and properly functioning. and you are feeling better each time. Each time you move the dial try to relax your body, and shoulders and relieve your tension.

    These techniques can help with  repetition and practice. They teach you that you can control your response to things, and the dial is a familiar tool for turning things off that you don't like, so you can help program your own subconscious mind.

    Obviously visualization is not a substitute for doctors, medicine, or medical advice, but the trick of breathing slower and steadier and controlling your emotional responses can work with repetition by teaching you to relax and telling your subconscious what you desire.

    Hope that helps you.

  • K8sMom2002

    Serene, that is an awesome tip … I'm definitely going to try that!

    What has worked in the past to help you remember to use visualization as a stress reliever?

    I'm wondering if I can put cute little smiley face cartoon clocks up in my normal stress-inducing environments as a cue … yanno, maybe take a sticky note and draw a clock and put it on my vent fan of my stove. My DH is very particular about me getting supper done early enough, and juggling that and helping DD with her homework is definitely a time I could benefit from dialing back my stress level. 

  • Serene

    That could work!

    Remembering can be difficult, but since one of my triggers is odor, I tend to be able to remember to dial it down, when I smell something.

    I think self-hypnosis helped me, so now I associate dial with relaxation or letting go, or lowering my breathing rate.When I turn the dial, I physically find myself relaxing my shoulders and can ignore the trigger easier.

    An example of this, is when I come to work, I must pass by the men's restroom. Someone uses Febreze in there, that smells like fresh laundry scent. When I pass by I used to hold my nose, but now when I hit the febreze stink, I imagine the dial and turn it down. I no longer hold my nose, because I've turned off my irritation at the strong odor.

    Ironically the dial I visualize is the one on the stove.

    The subconcious mind doesn't respond to words, but to visualizations of what we want and desire.  This is why we must make efforts to visualize positive things for what we want and those with positive health self-images tend to be healthier.

    A good thing to do is practice when you are not stressed by imagining the stressful event, and using the dial in your mind to switch it off. When you dial it down, your emotions and stress triggers are less. Imagine yourself as being happy and relaxed when the dial is switched off.

    You can practice associating the dial with relaxation during other times, just so your body gets the idea of what it should be doing when you turn the dial down.




  • K8sMom2002

    It sounds like this has really worked for you! Thank you for sharing! I'll give it a try and report back. 

    When are times that it's hard for you to remember to use this? What could help you use it more often?

  • Serene

    I keep the self hypnosis on my iphone so if I need a frefresher I can switch it on and listen to it with earbuds when things are slow.

    This is one of those things the more you practice and expect it to work the more it will work for you.

  • K8sMom2002

    I can see how that would work. I'll have to do some research on it and see how guided imagery could help with stress and other triggers. 

  • Serene

    Self hypnosis will help you relax at the very least. Learning to relax when stressed is a helpful tool for managing any health condition. There are some good things to be said as well about the management of anxiety, and other psychological factors which can contribute to stress.

  • Jen

    @Serene - Good reminder to practice some of these techniques at times when we're not so stressed.