The Simplest Emotional Control Tip

It literally involves doing nothing

May Pang
7 min readMar 19, 2020


Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

“It’s like she’s Godzilla and a two-year-old toddler all at once! Full of rage and impossible to reason with!”

“So, what do you do?”

“I tell her I need to go to the bathroom!”

I laughed out loud. I was having a conversation with a friend who was telling me his strategy to surviving his wife’s hormonal rages when she was having her period.

“Works every single time! She just needs a moment to break the escalating rage.”

A light bulb when off in my head. I realized that this was something I already practiced frequently.

So, what was this magic emotional control trick?

It was simply to pause.

Society has conditioned us to think that we have to address every emotion we feel right immediately. Have a headache? Take a pill ASAP. Feel lonely? Join other lonely singles online right now! Feel hangry? Quick, eat a Snickers bar!

But this sense of urgency is unnecessary and often serves only to treat the symptom and not the cause. Not reacting works too, and it’s free from side effects, ghosting, and calories. Sometimes, all your body needs is a break from the escalating vortex of energy, and as soon as the cycle is broken, the emotion will dissipate and leave you.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” — Anne Lamott

Here’s the catch. I said it was simple, but I never said it was easy. Anyone who has ever been on a diet will tell you. Sometimes, not doing is harder than doing. Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful — sorted by how easy they are to apply.

Break the cycle

Whenever you find your emotions snowballing, whether it’s anger, anxiety, or hangriness (I’ve been told many times that this is a real emotion) — simply say to yourself out loud — STOP.

Another tip is to do something silly — like pressing on your nose and saying, “Beep!” out loud. Whatever you choose, create a physical action that helps breaks you out of your current train of…



May Pang

Combining Storytelling with Science. Communication & Connection Coach. Would love to hear from you!💗 💙 Based in Boulder, CO.