Do you want to be happier? Then I recommend you improve your ability to express your emotions constructively. When you do, you'll be kinder to those around you -- always a good way to promote happiness -- and you'll see yourself much more clearly.

It's not an easy task. It may be obvious to say, but sometimes our feelings are simply tough to deal with. This is especially true when Take responsibility for how you express your emotionstensions mount -- on the job, with a loved one, or just inside yourself. So pulling back to look at your emotions and process them better is hard work. But it's worth it.

You're Not a Slave to Your Feelings

Some people try to work out their emotions by yelling. Others take their own feelings of insecurity, anger, or pain and use them as an excuse to manipulate those around them. But actions like these tear down relationships instead of building them up, and they'll tear you down if you practice them. You need to choose something better.

This goes for the subtler emotions, too. If you always express a pessimistic outlook about your work projects or your fitness or your debt, you're creating a world inside your head where good things have a hard time happening. And the more you express these emotions out loud, the more your negativity will affect others. (It works in reverse, too: if you spend much time around cynical people, their negativity will infect you.)

Three Ways to Improve Your Emotional Reactions

There are countless ways to improve your state of mind. You could meditate or listen to your favorite music or read an inspiring book. But today I'm going to suggest three little steps to take, each of which you can do mechanically -- even when you don't feel like it.

  1. Count to 100. Thomas Jefferson put it well 200 years ago: "When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, count a hundred." Don't let the initial rush of emotion lead you to say something you'll regret.
  2. Write it down and sleep on it. When you're worked up about something, go someplace quiet and write it all out. You could frame it as though it's a letter to the person who's upset you, even though you'll never show it to them. Just write down everything you're feeling so you can see it on the page in black and white. When you come back to it tomorrow, you may find that it's not nearly as bad as you thought.
  3. Use the Golden Rule. Many of the world's religions and ethical systems have some version of the Golden Rule, which is rendered in the Bible as "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you're struggling with your feelings about something or someone, make a list of the things you would want to experience if the roles were reversed. Would you want to be listened to? (Yes.) Would you want a sympathetic hearing? (Probably.) Would you want a chance to make honest amends? (Of course.) Then commit to doing those things.

You'll see immediately that each of these steps is designed to give you the time and space you need to think about how you're feeling so that the feelings of the moment don't overwhelm you.

Shape Your Emotions toward Your Ideals

In the bigger picture, how do you want your life to be? Many people do want to feel things deeply -- to have passion in their lives -- but most of us don't want to slaves to our emotions.

If you give in to negativity, your life can become one of complaints and whines -- which is ridiculous waste of your energy, on top of being annoying and even damaging to those around you. If you give in to silence and aversion, you'll never take the chance to let your honest feelings steer you in better directions.

What are YOU doing to take responsibility for your emotions?

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Tim Walker, Life Balance Blogger, CareOne Debt Relief Services Tim Walker

Tim is a writer, marketer, and social media pro living in Austin. He joined CareOne's blogging team as a contributing writer for the Life Balance blog in 2009. As a blogger who has personally overcome debt challenges, he draws from his own experience to provide tips on living a balanced life and keeping fit. You can read more of his thoughts (on fitness and everything else) at his personal blog, What I've Learned So Far. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Tim on Twitter; @Twalk or follow us by clicking here!