Emotional regulation is the ability to respond to emotions. It is one of the highest forms of self-control.
Stress in interpersonal relationships, things going wrong,conflicts within us and our own negative judgements can cause emotional dysregulation.
While some of us may be able to remain balanced in times of grief, some of us will break down emotionally and find our lives substantially disrupted.
Emotions are inevitable and we cannot ignore them. Rather, we must learn to think flexibly and express our emotions in a reasonable and effective way.
Types of Emotions
There are numerous different theories to describe emotions with different levels of depth. When trying to identify an emotion, we can start out by asking ourselves if we feel “mad, glad, bad, sad or scared.” A slightly more detailed conceptualisation is as follows:
Examples of Positive / Happy emotions
Why Emotional Regulation is Important
- Unregulated emotions can become intense and can have long-lasting effects on our lives and those of others if we act on them innapropriately.
- Dysregulation of emotions affects not only our minds, but also causes stress on the body.
- Emotional dysregulation consumes our mental energy in a way that takes our attention away from other important aspects of life (both professional and personal fronts).
It often seems difficult to regulate our emotions, which is why many people rely on online counselors and psychologists for help.
Some strategies for emotional regulation
Knowing how to regulate emotions involves becoming aware of how much we are letting the emotions affect us, then knowing how we can react to them. Here are few simple strategies of regulating emotions.
- Write down your feelings – Maintain a diary where you can write down what you feel every day, even for small incidents. Sometimes, once our feelings are penned down, the emotional burden loosens and we are able to look at them in more productive ways.
- Communicate – Emotions often involve other people, especially the ones who are close to us. Never refrain from communicating with people and letting them know how you feel in a good way. Having a clear, meaningful conversation can be really helpful in regulating emotions.
- Vent out – Learn and practice expressing emotions in the right way, at the right time and to the right person. For example, if you are angry at your boss, do not displace the emotion on your kids at home. Venting emotions at the wrong place and time exacerbates the problem.
- Time out for emotions – Take some time out for yourself and do something that you love to do. Watch movies, hang out with friends, have your favorite ice cream, get a soothing massage. Just enjoy your time out. Let the mind calm down and let the emotions flow in the right direction.
- Accept and let go – We have to accept that some circumstances are beyond our control. Forgive and forget. Holding on to something that cannot be changed brings more and more negative emotion that slowly creeps into our minds.
Remember that emotions are temporary, they come and go. Don’t let them stop you from where you wish to be. You can also talk to an expert, such as an online counselor or psychologist for proper guidance.
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Remember to take care of yourself. You deserve it.