Emotional intelligence, unfortunately, isn’t commonly taught.
For many, it’s learned through trial and error, which can lead to some holes in emotional management in adult life.
Luckily, managing emotions is a fairly big topic in the self-help book world.
Even if you consider yourself to be emotionally intelligent, regular upkeep of your mental tools is still a great idea.
So if you’re looking for some help, here’s a list of the best books on managing emotions.
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The Best Books on Managing Emotions
1. Master Your Emotions by Thibaut Meurisse
Master Your Emotions is based around a simple formula for reprogramming your mind, specifically how it deals with negative emotions. It’s written for people who find it difficult to deal with negative feelings, particularly those who feel easily overwhelmed.
The book contains 31 easy coping mechanisms to deal with emotions, and a list of ways to recognise when you’re slipping into the hole of negativity. The goal is for you to adapt to these situations rather than ignoring or repressing them.
Importantly, Meurisse’s book comes with examples and training strategies, and a separate workbook that provides you with actionable techniques and practice. Unlike some other books, this method really helps to cement the new coping mechanisms in your mind.
- Teaches you how to cope with negative emotions, rather than pushing them aside.
- Separate workbook to solidify teaching.
- Clear and concise language makes it easy to read.
- Not really anything new for those familiar with emotional management.
- A minor point, but it appears to implicitly be written for men.
2. Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman
Daniel Goleman’s book is a number one worldwide bestseller, and for good reason. His argument is that emotional intelligence is more important than “actual” intelligence (IQ) because emotions guide almost every decision we make.
Goleman calls on psychology and neuroscience to explain the difference between our rational and emotional minds, and why it’s important to have a good grasp of both. He argues that having a handle on your emotions – and recognising their influence – can lead to greater success in all aspects of life.
While this book doesn’t explicitly teach you how to manage emotions, it instead explains how to become more self-aware through emotional recognition. It’ll teach you how to recognise important aspects of your character and how these have affected the way you handle situations.
- Uses scientific studies to back up points.
- Goleman is a professor of sociology – an authoritative source.
- A good starting point for those new to emotional intelligence.
- Not as “readable” as some other titles – it’s aware of its scientific background.
- A bit too general for those already familiar with the topic.
3. Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky
This book has sold well over a million copies so it must be doing something right! It relies on the process of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a favorite technique among therapists. Simply put, CBT is the process of relearning potentially harmful and destructive processes.
Mind Over Mood focuses on recognizing and managing emotional distress, particularly anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem (among others). By understanding how these negative emotions arise, the book argues you can effectively combat them before they take hold.
In short, this book teaches you how to feel differently by thinking differently. CBT is used to rewire your emotional mind to manage these situations better. To achieve this, the book contains numerous examples and worksheets for actionable results.
- Clear, concise language that’s easy to understand.
- Relies on successful therapy solutions to emotional management.
- Actionable information for those looking to help themselves out of negative emotional ruts.
- Some of the language can be a bit clinical due to its reliance on psychotherapy processes.
4. The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
Singer’s book takes a different approach to emotional management because it looks at how you can achieve inner peace and control over your personal energy. Rather than focusing solely on negative emotions, it investigates how consciousness develops in opposition to thought and memory.
Singer is a spiritual teacher, so this book might take the wrong angle for some people. However, it’s not religious, but considers consciousness to be a mix of energy, thought, and the soul.
Importantly, it explains the relationship between emotions and memory, and explains how you can work with this link to achieve a more peaceful state of mind. The goal is to achieve inner “freedom” from the kind of stress and negative energy that dictate modern life.
- The book teaches the importance of detachment from thoughts and emotions – an age-old spiritual message.
- Ideal for people interested in Buddhist (or similar) messages of spirituality.
- Fairly clear and easy to understand considering the subject matter.
- Written for a very specific audience.
- A different kind of emotional management that might not be suitable for all.
5. The Emotionally Sensitive Person by Karyn D. Hall
This book is designed for those who might consider themselves to be too sensitive. While there’s nothing wrong with being an emotionally intense person, it can be difficult to manage in certain scenarios.
Hall uses CBT to teach you how to identify emotional triggers and how to overcome intense emotional situations with ease. The information is useful and relevant, and will help you to become more relaxed in overwhelming circumstances.
It investigates real-life situations at home, work, and in relationships, in order to provide the reader with recognizable patterns that are commonplace for emotionally sensitive people.
- Clear and concise language.
- Relies on CBT to teach useful coping strategies.
- Written for a fairly niche branch of emotional management.
- Some of the language can be a bit generalised.
- Not suitable for those looking to deal with “typical” emotional triggers.
Managing emotions is a big topic in the self-help world.
As such, there are many resources available to improve psychological self-regulation.
If you’re regularly overwhelmed by your thoughts and feelings, practicing with these tools and techniques is key.
If it’s something you’re looking to learn more about, hopefully, one of the texts suggested above will prove useful.