Those Who Control Their Emotions Control Their Future – How to Control Your Emotions


Tom Corley boats - crop

Controlling your emotions was one of the common Rich Habits among the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study.

There is a great deal of new brain science out there that explains how emotions, in particular, negative emotions, alter brain performance. One of the most profound impacts emotions have on the brain is that they interfere with the operations of the Prefrontal Cortex.

Why is that a problem?

It’s a problem because the Prefrontal Cortex does numerous things, some of which impact your ability to live a successful, happy, healthy and wealthy life:

  • Executive Command and Control – The Prefrontal Cortex is the area of the brain where logic and decision-making reside.
  • Creativity – Insight, flashes of genius and intuition result from the joint communication between the Prefrontal Cortex and the Limbic system.
  • Consciousness – Although consciousness is spread out among many areas of the brain, the Prefrontal Cortex is the CEO of consciousness and self-awareness.
  • Emotional Control – The Prefrontal Cortex has the ability to stop emotions in their tracks, upon command.

When your emotions erupt, you have two choices – let them flow or shut them down.

When you allow your emotions to flow, the Amygdala, one of the primary emotional centers of the brain, takes complete control of the brain by shutting down or overpowering the Prefrontal Cortex.

In a landmark study called the Broaden and Build Theory, lead researcher, B. L. Fredrickson discovered that negativity reduces cognitive ability. Meaning, emotions prevent you from focusing, thinking clearly and can impair your decision-making.

When the Amygdala is takes control of the brain, logic, decision-making and focus become impaired.

There are millions of people around the world, sitting behind bars or divorced, all because they allowed their Amygdala to control their behaviors and decision-making.

So, controlling your emotions keeps you out of trouble and loyal to your spouse?

Yes, but it is much more than that.

Controlling your emotions also happens to be critical to success, wealth, health and happiness.

When the Prefrontal Cortex is trained to control emotions, and this training becomes a habit, the Amygdala loses all power over you. This allows you to intelligently and logically think through difficult situations, without any emotional interference.

Those who have trained themselves to control their emotions are able to tune out all negativity, no matter the source, and go on about their business.

John D. Rockefeller, at one time the richest person in America, was famous for his ability to control his emotions. He would often brag to his colleagues about his ability to remain calm while everyone else flew into a panic.

This ability to control the amygdala, however, requires practice. Or, more specifically, it requires that you forge the Rich Habit of exercising control over your emotions.

Ninety-three percent of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits study agreed that controlling emotions was a major factor to their success. Their ability to moderate good and bad emotions was seen as one of the main reasons people liked doing business with them.

The rich in my study employed certain strategies to control their emotions.

Manage Your Expectations

Too many unmet expectations will lead to a feeling of hopelessness and result in a negative mental outlook. This negativity is like a cancer that eats away at your confidence and mental toughness. If a negative mental outlook takes root, you turn up the Amygdala, which only compounds your problems.

The key to keeping your emotions in check is to set low or realistic expectations. When expectations are low or realistic, you are more likely to meet those expectations and this keeps your emotions in check.

Setting low expectations will keep your emotions on an even keel and allow you to keep moving forward on your dreams.


Aerobic exercise releases certain neuro-chemicals that have a calming effect on the Amygdala.


Doing something you enjoy, helps restore emotions to their natural baseline.

Eat Healthy

A study by the University of Warwick in London and University of Queensland, in Australia, asked 12,000 Australians to eat eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The study found a measurable increase in happiness due in large part to their altered diet. Further studies had isolated the reason – fruits and vegetables produce healthy probiotics and pre-biotics, improving the health of the gut (large intestine). Your gut sends information directly to the brain via the vagus nerve. When the gut is out of balance, it sends a distress signal to the limbic system, amping up the amygdala.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep slows down your Sympathetic Nervous System, reduces stress and resets your emotions back to its natural baseline.

Talk To Friends or Family

Venting helps calm the Amygdala. When things go wrong, it helps to talk things over with sympathetic friends, family members or colleagues at work.


Journaling helps to clear your head of negative emotions. Like talking to your friends or close family members, it is a form of venting.


Laughter boosts dopamine and oxytocin, two neurotransmitters which act to depress the Amygdala and restore your emotions back to their natural baseline.


A study from Emory University found that 20 minutes of daily meditation had a calming effect on the brain and helped improve focus and concentration.


Listening to calming music tampers down the Amygdala, making the ventromedial prefrontal cortex’s job easier.

Pleasant Conversation

The mere act of engaging in pleasant conversation calms the emotional center of the brain. This is one of the reasons you want to surround yourself with upbeat, enthusiastic, positive individuals and avoid associating with toxic, negative individuals

No one likes doing business with people who are volatile. Individuals who allow their emotions to control their decisions and their reactions to events, make others feel ill at ease – essentially, pushing away the very people you need to help you succeed in life.

My mission is to share my unique research in order to help others realize their dreams and achieve their goals. If you find value in these articles, please share them with your inner circle and encourage them to Subscribe. Thank You!

Be Sociable, Share!
Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
Email Tom
| Download Media Kit

Speak Your Mind