Let's say examples of negative emotions are sadness and despair, and example of positive emotions are happiness and pride.

So is there a word that describes a person who has total, complete control over his negative and positive emotions? I'm talking about someone who can manage his emotions in a long-lasting way, not just temporarily. Generally speaking I'm looking for an adjective, but a noun will also be useful.

Example Sentences:

1.When images of scenes that normally trigger strong emotions were shown to him he demonstrated no emotion

2.His face did not display any emotion despite the [sad]news just relayed to him.

  • 2
    According to the New Testament, there has only ever been one such person. Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 12:10
  • 6
    Actually, "psychopath" might fit. Though it's difficult to say whether the psychopath is demonstrating emotions or faking them.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 13:20
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    @D_S - when you say 'control' are you meaning 'supress' (i.e. to overcome or keep down by force), or something more like 'manage'? Is the control you talk of superficial and temporary (e.g. for purposes of a poker game, or an intellectual discussion) or long-lasting and deeper within the id?
    – Dan
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 18:57
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    "Total, complete control"? A god, perhaps? (Not most gods though.) No mere human, certainly.
    – Drew
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 19:02
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    By "control", do you mean like "I now decide to feel happy", or like "despite feeling angry I will behave rationally"? Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 21:23

17 Answers 17



from Wikipedia: "(Latin: æquanimitas having an even mind; aequus even animus mind/soul) is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind."


There are several appropriate terms. Assuming that all emotions could be described as positive or negative(is there such a thing as a neutral emotion?)

Stoic In the classical sense this meant adherents to the stoic philosophy which was a philosophy emphasizing the importance of the appropriate behaviour, in modern usage it would be used to describe someones demeanor.

"Angela Merkel is of very stoic character"

Similar terms would be "unflappable" and "impassive".

  • Apathy is a neutral emotion. "I feel nothing about it/towards it".
    – Sakatox
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 12:39
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    Apathy is the lack of emotion, rather than a neutral emotion apathy- dictionary.com
    – Michael.
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 12:44
  • It is a neutral emotion - the lack of an emotion is an emotion. There is no state of a human being where it does not feel. The same argument is with sets in mathematics - an empty set is part of all sets. Or in other words: "I feel nothing" is not the same as "I do not feel."
    – Sakatox
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 12:45
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    Having control over the influence of emotion on reason is not the same as having control over emotions. Therefore stoic is not the word that describes the individual of the question. Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 23:03
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    @Sakatox Right, and black-and-white TV is should also be called color TV. That an empty set is a set and that zero is a natural number are mathematical conventions of consistency/generalizability - not reflections of the essence of the object. There is even a function from an empty set to an empty set - but of course it is not a function in any non-technical meaning. Equating humanity with emotion, while maaybe technically correct, is not very useful. (Descartes would disagree).
    – A.S.
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 1:10

I'd suggest,


pok′er face`


a face that shows no emotion or intention. [1880–85, Amer.]

pok′er-faced`, adj. Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary


deliberately impassive in manner WordNet by Farlex


Informally, a person with complete control over emotions is often described as "very Zen," an adjectivized version of the Zen Buddhist religion (which prizes emotional control). This is a slang usage, however.

A more formal term is impassive:

1c: unsusceptible to or destitute of emotion
2: giving no sign of feeling or emotion

However, this describes either someone who feels no emotions, or someone who gives no sign of emotions, neither of which is exactly the same as having complete control over emotions.

  • I like very Zen. Impassive less so, for the reasons you give.
    – Dan
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 18:40

You might describe them as a "Vulcan", after the fictional race in Star Trek. Vulcans attempt to live by reason and logic with no interference from emotion.


Is Objective. Objectivity carries no emotion, just observation and stating.

For a more direct approach, composed and calm.


Context can easily change the word that will answer the OP - is the person saintly or pyschopathic, a powder keg of buttoned up frustration and anger, or averagely content and sociable?

Someone who is able to experience positive and negative emotions without either self-harming or acting sociopathically might be said to have balanced their emotions, in the sense that neither good nor bad emotions disrupt their ability to maintain an 'even keel' and go about their daily business.

Alternatively, you could say that this same person is self-aware, unreactive, in good mental health.

  • Wouldn't balance be kind of dual control loss? Mad enough to spin out of control, but content/calm enough to not do it? It's not control of both sides, but controlling one with the other?
    – Sakatox
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 12:39
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    @Sakatox - The OP asks for a term to describe to describe a person who achieves control over opposing emotions. How the opposing factors are 'controlled' is not the point.
    – Dan
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 13:30
  • From OP: "So can we use a word that describes a person who has total, complete control over his negative and positive emotions?" "Who has total, complete control", "over his negative and positive emotions". I think that control is on point, and you are missing the point. It's not about opposing emotions being controlled - by each other or such, but being in control of one's self, while the emotions are running rampant. As in, not using water against fire, but wearing elemental-proof armor... not the best fitting example, but you get the idea.
    – Sakatox
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 13:38

The dictionary doesn't quite agree with my connotations of the word, but I might use

Measured (from this website):

(Of speech or writing) carefully considered; deliberate and restrained: his measured prose

This word always reminds me of the title of a Roscoe Holcomb album, An Untamed Sense of Control. That's really quite tangential, but I never get to mention it to anyone.


The main question in choosing a word is what you want to say. Complete control over emotions, taken at face value, means that you completely control what you feel. I doubt there is a word for that because I doubt there is a person who can do it.

I would assume that you meant complete control over own reactions to emotions. In that case 'phlegmatic' might do.

  • According to the OED phlegmatic mean not easily excited to feeling or action; stolidly calm, self-possessed, imperturbable; (with pejorative connotation) sluggish, apathetic, lacking enthusiasm. This feels only half right. The negative connotation is not asked for or implied by the OP.
    – Dan
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 18:43

"Emotional Maturity" answers your question. One of the definitions of Emotional Maturity is the ability to redirect your negative feelings into a positive, constructive direction. https://www.google.com/search?q=Emotional+Maturity has many matches. If you want a single word, then try "Maturity."


"Complete control over negative and positive emotions' - in other words, this person feels exactly what they want to feel, irrespective of the situation or stimulus. I think 'narcissist' is the word you need.

  • Welcome to the multitude of question-answerers. Those answers which are received most warmly are those that include quoted or linked support, along with carefully chosen illustrations. Those that don't may be voted down.
    – Rob_Ster
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 23:16

Another possibility, although perhaps more impersonal than what you seek, is "dispassionate."

Here's the online Oxford definition:

Not influenced by strong emotion, and so able to be rational and impartial


The most apt, I believe, are these:


(Of a person or their manner) serious and unrelenting, especially in the assertion of authority and exercise of discipline.


Describing a person who practices severe self-discipline.

  • "Ascetic" normally means the kind of self-discipline that avoids material connection, such as a monastic life. Its associated with emotional discipline, but its not the same thing. Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 7:22
  • That's true, but the OP wasn't asking for a word that specifies a non-material connection. Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 7:31

Example Sentences:

  1. When images of scenes that normally trigger strong emotions were shown to him he was stone-cold.

  2. His face was stone-cold despite the [sad] news just relayed to him.


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary

Unfeeling, insensible, as in That sad story left her stone cold. This analogy was already used by Shakespeare in Henry V (2:3): “Cold as any stone.”


There is a difference between 'controlling your emotions' or ignoring them and - allowing them - not judging them. If you are able to allow your emotions without judging them as good or bad, then you should be able to just be with them, without needing to react.

That, I would describe as 'saintly' or 'non-judgemental' or 'wise'.


So I've been briefly looking into this subject not thinking much about how rare it is to have high control over personal emotion and more for a literal term for someone like this. But from what I have read it seems to be most humans feel at least some emotion and have little control over them (when I say control, I mean literal complete control like playing a video game not calming yourself down).

The reason I was interested in this is because of my girlfriend, she is very emotional and I have a very hard time keeping up and understanding her reasoning for that emotion, yes I have gotten many responses like: "well she is a girl" or "maybe it's her period" or her personal favouring "I don't know" usually followed by crying and it always confused me as I seem to be a relatively low emotion person but through recent personal events I have gained a pretty well rounded grasp of my emotion.

Now while I am not in complete control for example I cannot just make myself switch between emotions in seconds effortlessly happy, sad, depressed, lost, ecstatic and back to happy not at all but what I can do is loose my emotion. It seems grim but this is usually think of it. When I know I'm currently in one emotion I can picture or I dare to say feel a kind of connection, and it's relatively malleable, as I started to understand this and learn about myself I started to paint myself a picture I my head which helps me switch h between.

To be honest all I picture is a kind of wire or connection, all I see is the middle though and if I relax I can move it or disconnect it. Afterwards I don't feel any specific emotion. Contrary to how I picture it I don't belive I completely break the connection though for 2 reasons.

  1. Being that my personal thoughts and choices are still effected by my personality, I do think more rationally and usually seem vary selfish but there are some choices I make that are not completely robot like.
  2. Being I still possess the ability to return to my emotional self so there must be some form af connection somewhere.

This also gives me a pretty happy lifestyle as if I ever feel genuinely upset or feel a strong negative feeling (including depression) I can switch over fo nothing which then gives me the rational thought process to understand what's happening and as long as I can understand it or come to peice I can switch again and be happy.

It comes in handy and my personal best for switching states states is: since early morning wad riddled with deep depression, anxiety and pain and it didn't help that the previous 2 nights I did not sleep at all. Around 8 in the morning I hadn't eaten in over 24 hours and was at a very slow mental functioning speed. I had no real thoughts for about 2 hours and only plan was not to let anyone know about how I feel. Luckily I must have looked relatively ok and managed to get to work unbothered by the people who care about me and would want to help.

Luckily that morning in work was quiet and I had jobs that required very little attention. The perfect environment for me to think. For the next hour roughly I had thought over what had happened in the previous couple days and managed to sort it all out and by this time I realised I wasn't as sad. I was now af a neutral level, emotionless, I was then given a good 20 minutes without being talked to by Co workers (Luckily in the sense that it helped me think, I enjoy working with them) and had now completely mapped out in my head: what happened, why, what I should worry about, what was not worth me worrying about, and what and how I had to think to change. The rest of the day went very smooth and j spent most of it singing outside haha.

Although I belive this new found ability is my reward for going through certain experiences in the past and learning from them Including: depression, disassociation, disassociative bipolar disorder and probably more. These are things I went through alone but that's not a sub story or a cry for help its a hero arc. I went through all of that pretty stupidly tbh, most of the things I listed I didn't notice myself but by people around me and my friends, which I then pieced together myself. So it's all worth it now 👍


Equanimity: mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation. "she accepted both the good and the bad with equanimity" -googled and found on Dictionary.com

  • "Equanimous" is already the top-voted answer.
    – alphabet
    Commented Apr 26 at 4:40

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