Damien was waiting in the checkout lane to pay for his groceries. The man in front of him had a loaded cart. When the cashier was almost about to complete billing, the man ran to an aisle to get another item and came back after 5 minutes.

Damien was upset! Then he saw the man taking out small notes and coins and counting them very slowly to make his payment. Damien couldn’t contain his anger! He began shouting at and berating the man.

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Does this sound like you? Do your emotions control you in public?

If yes, some coping strategies will help you manage your emotions and prevent public outbursts.

Why Do You Need To Regulate Your Emotions In Public?

Angry Sonic The Hedgehog GIF by Friendly Neighbor Records

Emotional regulation is the ability to exert control over your emotional state. 

Regulating your emotions in public will help you :

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  • improve interpersonal relationships

  • become emotionally healthy

  • be empathetic to others

  • enhance your well-being

  • improve productivity at work

  • become resilient to challenges

The 3 Big Emotions

Anger, fear and frustration are three difficult emotions that often cause people to behave differently in public.

Image of a brain with text Anger, Fear, Frustration.

Some strategies to manage anger, fear, and frustration:

  • Take a breath or two before you speak.

  • Silently say to yourself, "Take it easy."

  • Talk about your emotions with someone you trust.

  • Take time out to calm yourself.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Seek expert help if you're unable to manage your emotions, even using these tips.

Who Needs To Manage Emotions Differently?

Flaticon Icon 1. Becky,in the final round of a spelling bee contest, missed the correct spelling of "logorrhea" by one letter. Feeling angry and upset, she screamed at the winner.

Flaticon Icon 2. John went to an open air concert with his friends and sang at the top of his voice along with them. He was very excited to see his favorite band.

Flaticon Icon 3. Roy forgot to complete an assignment. He panicked and had an anxiety attack. He ran out of the classroom while crying out, "I can't deal with it anymore. I'm done!"

Flaticon Icon 4. Shana was verbally bullied by one of her college representatives during a meeting. She filed a complaint with the Student Affairs Office requesting an apology.


Who needs to manage emotions differently? Select all who apply.

Preemptive Coping: Mindfulness

Practice mindfulness every day. It helps divert negative emotions and can teach you to cope.

Hands holding a yellow daisy. Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

Examples of things you can do:

  • Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and focus on it.

  • Meditate for a few minutes every day.

  • Walk for a few minutes every day.

In the Moment Coping: Shift Your Attention

GIF of man having a meltdown and saying

Before you react:

  • Divert your attention by focusing on something else and taking a breath.

  • Ask yourself "What's the best thing I can do in this situation"?

  • Talk to a friend.

  • Listen to music.

  • Think of something happy.

Samia's Project

Young woman looking upset and holding her hands behind her head. Photo by Elyas Pasban on Unsplash

During Psychology class, Samia’s instructor was explaining the next steps towards completing a large class project. Samia had already missed the first deadline. Suddenly, she wanted to scream out loud, "My life is miserable, why are people asking me to do so many things? I don’t need any of this anymore”.


What's the best way for Samia to control her emotions in class?

Take Action

Silhouette of a woman watching a sunset. Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

Be empathetic towards yourself!

To help you cope with difficult emotions in public:


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