As a young girl, my emotions felt like an untamable beast. At times they were so overpowering that I could barely breathe or think straight. I often felt confused and scared by the sudden shifts in my moods and feelings, unable to understand why others around me seemed so much calmer than me.
As time went on, I slowly began to realize that those around me weren’t actually calm – they had simply learned how to suppress their emotions better than me. They knew how to act according to socially accepted norms of behavior, even if deep down inside, they still experienced the same rollercoaster ride of emotions as I did.
That realization changed everything for me – it gave me the courage and motivation needed to take control of my own emotional regulation journey. Little by little, with lots of practice and patience, I taught myself how to manage my emotions in healthy ways; understand them instead of pushing them away; allow myself periods of rest when necessary; address issues before they become too overwhelming; learn what works best for me personally when things get tough…the list goes on!
The results have been amazing – not only do I now feel more at ease within myself each day, but also far more capable of navigating interpersonal relationships with greater empathy and understanding towards both myself and others alike. It feels almost magical to move through life’s highs and lows, knowing that whatever happens along the way, emotionally speaking, I can handle it all with grace!
Emotions are a natural part of being human, but when we are unable to control how we feel, it can result in negative consequences for our physical and mental health. Emotional regulation, or the ability to manage and understand our emotions, is crucial for maintaining a balanced and positive mindset. In this article, we will explore why emotional regulation is important and offer tips on how to establish healthy coping strategies.
Picture by Edi Libedinsky
Understanding Emotional Regulation
Emotional regulation is a skill that involves recognizing and controlling your emotional responses to different situations. People who are good at emotional regulation can manage their emotions in ways that are socially appropriate and healthy. It involves being aware of your emotional state, understanding what triggers your emotions, and finding ways to manage challenging feelings. Emotional regulation is not emotional control; it’s emotional release but without the drama. A person who can emotionally regulate is able to recognize triggers, set boundaries, use healthy coping mechanisms, practices mindfulness, chooses their environment, seeks additional support for their emotions, and does not need control of others.
1. Recognizing Your Triggers
Identifying your triggers is an important step in emotional regulation. Triggers can be different for everyone, and they are often rooted in past experiences or learned behavior. By recognizing what sets off our emotions, we can better prepare ourselves for how we will respond when confronted with triggers. For instance, if you find that being criticized by others is a trigger, you can practice responding in a calm and constructive way to address the criticism. One key part of letting go of triggers is to examine your core beliefs. Watch your emotions when you are having them and ask yourself if what you are experiencing is real, yours, and beneficial. If it’s not, allow yourself permission to let it go.
2. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are the main component that triggers your emotional upheaval. You have likes, dislikes, and boundaries that tell you how you want to be treated. The whole purpose of emotions is to tell you what you want and don’t want. So learn to pay attention to the way you are feeling around a person or issue. Find the trigger, then ask yourself, “what would I like to be treated like instead?” Then request that behavior from others. Remember, just because you requested them to behave or say things in certain ways does not mean they will listen. Here is where your boundaries come in. If you have been kind and verbalized your boundary, and that person keeps breaking it, you need to leave. Your boundaries are not up for debate. Debated boundaries become resentment.
Photo by Nadine Shaabana
3. Establishing Healthy Coping Strategies
Healthy coping strategies are essential for emotional regulation. These strategies can be physical, emotional, or cognitive. Physical coping strategies include exercise, yoga, or any activity that helps you relieve stress. Emotional coping strategies may include talking to a trusted friend or family member or practicing self-compassion. Cognitive coping strategies involve re-framing your negative thoughts into positive ones or learning to accept things beyond your control.
4. Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for emotional regulation. It involves focusing on the present moment and bringing attention to our thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness can help us manage our emotions, reduce stress, and improve our mental health. Simple mindfulness exercises like deep breathing or guided meditation can be practiced anywhere. However, mindfulness is only helpful if you make it a permanent habit. After a month of five to ten minutes of mindfulness, you will notice a difference in your energy. Your energy will be calmer, warmer, and less frazzled.
5. Creating a Positive Environment
Creating a positive environment is another important factor in emotional regulation. Surrounding yourself with positive people, engaging in activities you enjoy, and setting realistic goals can all contribute to a more positive mindset. It’s also important to recognize the impact of our physical environment, like the colors and lighting in the spaces we occupy. A positive environment is supportive and ideal for keeping you emotionally regulated. Only the most actualized humans can keep regulated in chaos. You and I need to be choosy as far as who we hang around and what we expose ourselves to.
6. Identifying When You Need Additional Support
It’s important to recognize when you need additional support. Seeking professional help is in no way a sign of weakness or inability to cope. In fact, understanding who can help you is a very healthy coping mechanism; allowing others to help you is self-care. So remember, counseling, therapy, or other support groups can provide you with the tools and resources you need to manage and regulate your emotions. Want emotional regulation coaching? Book now with me.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com
7. Let Go Of Control
Lastly, You can not control others at all. You cannot control what other people believe. You cannot control how others will respond to your statement or boundaries. You cannot control the outcomes of what others choose. The minute you realize this is the minute you can begin to disconnect from the need to control situations around you. It’s that control over the outcome that can get you stuck in your emotional chaos. Let it go, and accept the only way around it is to gain control of you, your thoughts, your outcomes (to some degree), and definitely your reaction.
In conclusion, emotional regulation is essential for our physical and mental well-being. It involves being aware of our emotions, understanding our triggers, and finding healthy coping strategies. Practicing mindfulness and creating a positive environment can also contribute to our overall emotional regulation. Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, and there’s no shame in asking for help. By identifying our emotions and finding constructive ways to regulate them, we can live happier, healthier lives.
I have come a long way from that people-pleasing lost little girl whose emotions seemed untamable. I am at please withing, able to express my needs and support those around me with real empathy and clarity. You deserve the same.
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