When our emotions get the best of us, it can be challenging to cope with them. The result is that we may act in ways that are not aligned with who we are as an individual.
These out-of-character moments are commonly referred to as “emotional breakdowns,” “episodes,” or “crises.” However you refer to these moments, coping with them effectively is key.
But what exactly is emotional regulation? 🤔
Emotional regulation is the ability to respond to your own feelings and the feelings of others in an effective and constructive way. It’s also known as “emotionally intelligent” behavior, and it’s something that goes further than just not having a temper tantrum or keeping your cool.
When we’re stressed, anxious, or just having a bad day, it can be challenging to keep our emotions in check. In the midst of all that chaos, we may feel like there’s no way to get a handle on our feelings and regain control of our sanity. 😬
But don’t worry — you aren’t alone in feeling this way. It can be challenging at any point in life to manage your emotions and find peace within yourself.
Learning how to practice emotional regulation strategies can help you identify when you feel an emotion and give you tools for handling those emotions appropriately in future situations. 😌
The inability to manage your emotions can negatively impact any area of your life, from work performance and academic endeavours to personal relationships.
with some practice and patience, you can overcome these challenges and continue growing as an individual.
The first step is knowing how to practice emotional regulation in your everyday life so you can manage your stress levels better when they flare up again. Here are some tips on how to bring them back under control:
Step 1: Become aware of your breathing
Your breathing pattern can be a clue as to whether you’re experiencing an emotion. For example, if you’re in a situation where you’re feeling anxious, you might notice that your breathing becomes shallow or rapid. 😮💨
Breathing exercises can help you calm down, regain your composure and regulate your emotions. Deep breathing is a great way to calm your body and bring your emotions back under control.
When you take slow, deep breaths, it sends a message to your body that everything is okay – your heart rate slows down, and your blood pressure drops. 🩸
👉 Counting Breaths
This is a very simple breathing exercise. You’ll just count every time you exhale and put a number on it. Start with one and try to go up to 10. Once you hit 10, go back to one and keep going until you feel your anxiety level decrease.
👉 4-7-8 Breathing
This is a variation of the previous exercise. Place your tongue against the roof of your mouth, and breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds. Keep doing this until you feel calm.
👉 Mindful Breathing
This is one of the easiest ways to calm down. It’s a great beginner’s exercise, and you can do it anywhere. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and focus on your breath. This will take your focus off whatever is making you anxious and help you relax.
Step 2: Recognize what you’re feeling
This might sound too simple, but the first step to regulating your emotions is identifying the emotion you’re experiencing.
One way to help you do this is to use an emotion wheel. An emotion wheel is a chart that shows various emotions and their intensity levels. You can try out different wheels online and pick one that works for you. (Check out my feelings wheel here)
After you identify your emotion, spend a few minutes reflecting on it. Why do you feel the way you do? What situation led to the emotion you’re experiencing? Is there anything you can do to change the situation?
When you recognize an emotion, the next step is to figure out what needs to happen to keep it under control. 😌
Step 3: Identify the trigger
Once you’ve identified the emotion you’re experiencing and how intense it is, you can use that as a springboard to understand what might have triggered the emotion.
There’s no need to start a full-blown investigation, but taking a second to ask yourself what happened before the situation escalated can help you avoid the same problem in the future.
It’s important to note that most commonly, emotions don’t exist in a vacuum – one triggers the other.
If you feel overwhelmed or stressed out, you might find yourself feeling angry. You might be sad that your workload is so high and then feel guilty for being so stressed out. 😑
If you can identify the original trigger, you can figure out the best way to handle the situation to avoid these emotions in the future.
Step 4: Take a moment to breathe and relax
Once you’ve identified what you’re feeling and what triggered the emotion, you can use relaxation techniques to calm your body and mind.
They may not stop the emotion from happening, but they can help you get a handle on it as soon as it starts to take over.
You can try a few relaxation techniques, such as:
👉 Progressive muscle relaxation
This is a great way to relax your body. Focus on one part of your body at a time, and clench and then release that muscle.
This is a great way to calm your mind. Visualize yourself in a relaxing place, or think about something that makes you happy.
This is one of the best ways to calm your mind. There are many different types of meditation, and you can choose the one that works best for you.
Step 5: Find a healthy way to release the emotion
This is when you’re ready to let go of that emotion and move on. 😌
There are healthy and unhealthy ways to handle emotions. Healthy ways include talking to friends and family members, journaling, going for a walk, and using positive self-talk.
Unhealthy ways of dealing with emotions include drinking too much, engaging in risky behavior, and isolating yourself from the people around you. 😔
When you feel ready to let go of an emotion, try to find a healthy way to release it and move on. Journaling is a great way to express your emotions and get them out of your system.
If you feel like you’re holding on to an emotion, consider what’s holding you back from letting it go. Try and get all those feelings out on paper. ✍️
Coaching and Counseling Sessions
If you feel like you’re struggling to regulate your emotions, you might benefit from talking to a professional.
You can find a therapist or counselor that specializes in emotional regulation and ways to cope with negative emotions. 🧑⚕️
You can also try online therapy and see if it helps you feel better. If you’ve tried all of the above and you’re still struggling to keep your emotions in check, therapy might be the best option for you.
A therapist can help you learn new techniques for regulating your emotions and improving your coping skills.
You can also work on identifying unhealthy thought patterns and behavior patterns and start to change them so that you feel better overall. 💕
Are you expecting too much of yourself? Sometimes, our expectations of ourselves are too high, and this can cause emotional frustration. 🤯
How can you regulate your emotions when you’re expecting too much from yourself? Here are some tips:
👉 Accept your imperfections
We are human, and we all have faults. You cannot be perfect 100% of the time, so don’t expect yourself to be. Accept your imperfections, and you’ll feel less frustrated with yourself.
👉 Take care of yourself
You cannot be 100% there for yourself and other people if you’re not taking care of yourself first. You have to look after number one.
👉 Be thankful
Be thankful for all the good things in your life. This will help you stop focusing on the negative and appreciate what you have.
👉 Avoid negative self-talk
Don’t put yourself down. You are enough just the way you are.
How to practice emotional regulation – Conclusion
Emotional regulation is an important part of being an adult. It’s important to understand your emotions and how they affect you as well as others around you.
However, not all adults are able to successfully regulate their emotions, especially if they have had little experience in the past. If you’re having a hard time regulating your emotions, don’t worry – it’s not something that happens overnight. 🤷♀️
It takes practice, and it takes patience. You can improve your ability to regulate your emotions by becoming more aware of your own feelings and those of others, identifying triggers and practicing techniques like journaling and meditation. 🧘♀️
By practicing emotional regulation techniques, you can develop techniques for managing stress and negative feelings so that they no longer control you.
Pin this post for a reminder 📌 👇