Emotional Stability: What is It and How to Become Emotionally Stable [PLUS 7 Tips!]
Do you know of someone in your circle who always seems calm and collected and wish you could demonstrate the same traits even when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Feeling emotionally stable even when life is uncertain or you have to spend time with an irritating person is a commendable state of being. But, it’s not always easy to achieve emotional stability.
Emotional stability is something I strive for every day. Some days are easier than others and having a morning ritual that includes prayer, positive readings, and meditation normally sets me up for an emotionally balanced day.
However, adopting certain habits, behaviors, and empowering coaching tools has also allowed me to keep my emotions balanced as much as possible.
Keep reading to find out what is emotional stability and how to make it one of your strongest qualities with positive habit-setting and practical life coaching tools.
What is Emotional Stability?
Having stable emotional behavior is a trait that most of us desire in our lives. It’s the result of normal emotional development and is the ability to keep emotions in balance even in stressful situations. Emotional stability allows you to perceive life’s problems in a balanced, integrative, and constructive manner.
Being emotionally stable allows you to handle life’s stressors without becoming overly upset, angry, anxious, or tense. If your emotions are stable, your general mood remains consistent and you’re able to return to a balanced state after facing a stressful occasion relatively quickly.
An unstable person has erratic moods and often reacts in an unpredictable manner, swinging from one negative emotion to another, resulting in more distress. The emotionally unstable person isn’t able to find composure as quickly and instead, often stays in an unsettling mood for days.
If you’re emotionally stable, you’re able to face life's realities with a structured approach that includes developing feelings, attitudes, and perceptions to cultivate better understanding. An emotionally stable person adapts to changes with little resistance, isn’t easily discouraged or provoked, and has more confidence to handle life’s knocks.
Increasing your emotional stability takes time, practice, and loving-kindness towards yourself. Signing up for a life coaching program, getting therapy, and integrating self-care are useful methods for helping you to develop emotionally stable behavior.
Susan David's book, "Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life" helps you to achieve your full potential through developing the traits of an emotional stable person.
7 Tips for Becoming Emotionally Stable
1. Define and Implement Healthy Boundaries
Learning to say NO instead of yes when you actually don’t want to do something is essential for meeting your personal needs and wants. Defining and implementing healthy boundaries is vital for your own sanity and emotional stability.
Setting boundaries lets other people know what you’ll tolerate in your life. If they choose to disrespect your needs and wants, there will be consequences. Letting others know clearly what are your boundaries is essential as is knowing what the consequences will be if they overstep their mark.
If you find yourself doing any of the following, you need to reassess your boundaries (or the lack thereof):
You’re always saying yes even when you don’t want to do what’s being asked of you. This leaves you feeling unhappy, used and abused, and dissatisfied.
Always going with the flow because it avoids conflicts. You end up feeling worthless, ignored, and judged.
You don’t follow through with the consequences out of fear of being left alone. Instead, you’re left feeling resentment, disrespected, and depressed.
Creating your own consensus circle is about protecting your sacred space while allowing in only those you love and trust with all of your heart. These are the people who respect your values and understand your needs and wants. You end up feeling loved, safe, content, fulfilled, respected, and confident which all leads to emotional stability.
2. Embrace Uncertainty With an Open Heart and Mindset
Life’s uncertainties tend to shake most of us in ways we would rather avoid altogether! Not knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow because you’ve just been retrenched, suffering a serious illness, or gone bankrupt because of overspending habits can make you feel extremely unstable. Your moods are unpredictable and you swing from one negative emotion to another.
However, understanding that life is NEVER certain even when all is going well is the cornerstone to avoiding stressful emotions such as anxiety, anger, or frustration. Having an open heart and mindset lets you embrace uncertainty from a place of love and an understanding of how the world operates rather than from a place of fear.
Emotionally stable people are able to view life’s happenings, both certain and uncertain, with tolerance, a willingness to see the bigger picture, and curiosity. This helps to keep emotions in check while taking responsibility for whatever is happening. Choosing to embrace uncertainty lets you build your confidence and self-esteem, both essential ingredients for emotional stability.
3. Stop the Control Game
Have you noticed that the more you try and control the outcome of something, the more stressful it becomes? You feel anxious, stressed, and even angry when something doesn’t work out exactly as you wanted it to even when it had nothing to do with you!
The same applies to trying to control someone – most times, they come back kicking hard making you feel exhausted and frustrated. The minute you stop the control game though, your emotions will start to stabilize.
Controlling people tend to be manipulative, deceitful, or arrogant, all traits of an emotionally unstable person. Akin to meeting life on life’s terms, people who don’t need to control have a deep understanding that they’re actually helpless over others or most, if not all, situations. These people are calmer, more composed, and accepting.
4. Avoid Getting Stuck in Negative Thoughts
Negative thinking patterns are destructive if not managed properly. Getting stuck in your negative thoughts is limiting, draining, and a recipe for emotional chaos. When you start overthinking, worrying, or having unhealthy thoughts, you start to feel:
Depressed and anxious
Self-pity or self-loathing
None of these feelings are conducive to emotional stability and will result in destructive actions as well if not stopped in time. Recognizing that you’re operating from a fixed or negative mindset comes with a healthy self-awareness and is essential for emotionally stable behavior.
If you struggle to identify your negative thoughts or limiting beliefs, working with a transformational life coach will empower you to unpack and work through your unhealthy thinking patterns. Alternatively, therapies such as BWRT or CBT can help you to work with your negative emotions and regain a sense of emotional stability once more.
Read Terence Watts's BWRT book, "Reboot Your Life With BrainWorking Recursive Therapy" which describes how this treatment modality works.
5. Learn to Express Your Needs and Wants
Until you know what your needs and wants are, you’re not going to be able to let others know what they are. Meeting your basic human needs is vital for a balanced and harmonious life. Pursuing your wants is equally important if you want to feel fulfilled and content.
Expressing your needs and wants demonstrates your worthiness and how much you value your overall well-being. If you don’t know how to ask for what you want or need, you likely have poor self-esteem, little confidence, and low self-awareness.
You don’t know how to stand up for yourself and end up feeling resentful, unhappy, and dissatisfied with life – all signs of an emotionally unstable person.
On the opposite side of the coin, if you do stand up for your needs and wants, you’re confident, have self-assurance without being arrogant, and value your place in society. Your mood is consistent as your emotions remain stable and in balance.
6. Prioritize Your Personal Core Values
Do you know what are your personal core values? If you don’t, it is worthwhile spending some time figuring out what they are and identifying if you’re living a life aligned with them. If your emotions are all over the place and you spend your days swinging from one crisis to another, it’s possible you’re not meeting your innate core values.
Emotionally stable people know what their true values are and prioritize them before anything else. They make sure all their life areas are aligned with those feelings they hold close and dear to them. A well-defined values system that reflects your TRUTH is a guiding tool to keeping you on the right path.
And, when this happens your emotions are in harmony with your true state of BEING.
Prioritizing your personal core values ensures you make decisions based on what you value and not on unstable feelings that can surface when facing a conflict or difficult situation. Instead of reacting and making the wrong decision, emotionally stable people recognize that they are prone to making a mistake if they give in to negative emotions triggered by fear.
If you’re emotionally stable, you’ll assess the situation by using your personal core values to verify what’s right for you. This way, you can make the best decision that aligns with your values.
7. Come From a Place of Love
In most cases, we feel emotionally unstable when relationships with others go pear-shaped. This can be with your loved one, your BFF, your parents, children, or siblings. Relationships with work colleagues, acquaintances, and neighbors can leave you feeling depleted, frazzled, or outright mad if they’re not handled properly.
Coming from a place of love, however, allows you to show compassion and understanding for another person no matter who they are.
Being loving and kind towards other people entails active listening, non-judgment, and giving your all while being open to receiving as well. Coming from a place of love means having an open heart and the ability to communicate in order to understand the needs and wants of the other person.
It doesn’t mean being subservient, having no boundaries, or operating in a one-sided relationship.
Unconditional love is all-powerful and negates the need to change another person to meet your own expectations of them. It lacks neediness or demands and encourages compassion for all living and non-living beings. Emotionally stable people come from a place of healthy love, knowing that it takes vulnerability, kindness, gentleness, and acceptance to function optimally in a relationship.
Emotional stability lets you function healthily in the world no matter how uncertain, overwhelming, or scary it becomes. When your emotions are stable, you can operate mindfully while choosing the best response to any situation. Emotionally stable behavior mitigates chaos even when you’re in the midst of a crisis.
It takes practice, self-awareness, and a willingness to integrate habits that’ll ensure your moods are consistent throughout the day. Being emotionally stable is a personality trait that can be improved upon through persistent hard work and determination.
While genetics can play a role in whether you’re a naturally calm or volatile person, you can do something about your emotions if they’re not serving you. It takes time and effort but focusing on positive traits such as kindness, compassion, and honesty will help you to stabilize your emotions for overall well-being.
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