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A quick guide to emotion regulation

a quick guide to emotion regulation

What is emotion regulation?

Emotion regulation is the ability to deal with emotions in a socially acceptable manner. Learning to regulate emotions can help you deal with stress and anxiety. But it will also help in social situations. First, you need to understand what emotions are.

What are emotions?

Emotions are strong feelings. They can arise from outside stimuli or by our thoughts. First, we encounter a subjective experience, this triggers a psychological response, and our experience decides how we react to it. The way we feel emotions can differ from person to person. If you have a bad experience with clowns, you might respond scared or mad when you see one, while another person who has a good experience with clowns will be happy or satisfied.

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There is a whole list of emotions. You can feel happiness, but you can also feel euphoria or joy. There is nothing wrong with emotions, we all have them. But being able to regulate emotions can help you change unwanted behavior.

How to regulate emotions?

First, you need to know that you don’t have to ‘control’ the emotion. If you try to control something, it often works against you. For example, you feel anxiety, and you tell yourself ‘I need to act normal, so nobody will notice that I’m scared.’ You end up feeling more anxious. It’s better to let the emotion be. ‘ok, I feel anxiety, but it’s fine. It’s just an emotion. It can’t hurt me; it will pass’. If you tell yourself this, you’re letting your brain know that there is nothing to worry about. You will still feel anxiety, but it won’t be as bad. This will take lots of practice. You can’t change behavior you’ve built up for years in minutes or days. So don’t let this discourage you. The more you practice, the better you get.

It’s also helpful to put your feelings into perspective. You just got home and your thinking about that chocolate bar you bought last weekend, but your boyfriend already ate it. You might feel disappointed and sad and throw a tantrum. But is it worth feeling like that over a chocolate bar? If you put it into perspective, your initial reaction might be disappointment. But when you think about all the other things in life, Then it’s really not that bad. Instead of feeling sad and moody for the rest of the night, you rather feel happy your home with your boyfriend right?

Distract yourself

If you feel unwanted emotions, it can be helpful to distract yourself. Don’t push the feeling away but let it be there, on the sideline. Do something you like, that makes you happy or relieves stress. Take a bath with lavender oil and put some relaxing music on or write in your journal. A self-care list is an excellent tool if you want to find something to relax.

Exercise can also help regulate emotions. It clears your mind, and it helps release lots of necessary hormones. You don’t have to run to the gym if that’s not your thing. Yoga or walking also works like a charm. It’s important to find an exercising method that works for you. Set clear goals and stick to them, and reward yourself after. What works for me is walking 3 x 35 minutes on a treadmill every week. If I stick to that goal, I reward myself by making my favorite sandwich on Sunday.

Try my 28-day meditation challenge and find out what meditation style helps you deal with emotions.

Emotion regulation in social situations

In social situations, it’s preferable not to show strong emotions. If your being criticized by your boss, you might feel anger or sadness, but it won’t be good if you start yelling at your boss. Instead, counting to 10 might be better. If you are confronted with strong emotions in social situations, try to excuse yourself from the situation. Curse at your boss in private or cry for a good 5 minutes, but after you need to remember that you are not your emotion. You are in control, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Getting a mantra or affirmation can help you deal with emotions. Pick something that works for you. If I get confronted with strong emotions, I tell myself ” this is how I feel right now, but it will pass.” It helps me remember that no feeling is permanent. Not the good ones or the bad.

What if I can’t regulate my emotions?

Of course, you can! But it might feel like everything is getting too much. Don’t worry; there are lots of therapies that can help you with that. First, it’s important to talk about it with someone you trust. It helps to unburden yourself a little by sharing your worries. Then you can look for a therapist nearby and ask about the possible therapies. If you start treatment, you need to realize that the bigger part of the responsibility is on you. Nobody can do it for you. Regulating emotions and behavioral change is hard work, but it can be done if you really want it. It might take months or even years, But it’s worth it if it changes your life for the better.

 

 

 

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31 COMMENTS

  • Cris

    These are great tips. It can be so to regulate strong emotions like anger, but not doing so can have serious consequences.

    • Dimph
      AUTHOR

      Yes, we often regret saying or doing things later, but with emotion regulation we can try to minimalize it as much as possible.

  • Lara Hathout

    Great post! It is difficult in social situations especially work related to control disappointment, anger and anxiety. I even find it difficult to respond to emails sometimes, I always try to wait until I am in control before responding.

    • Dimph
      AUTHOR

      Yes, sometimes waiting is the wise thing to do 😉

  • Dorit

    They key word is “regulate” instead of controlling or suppressing your emotions. As you say it is not bad to have emotions. They indicate us how something makes us feel and alert us about situations. Mindfulness and meditation have helped me be more patient, get to know myself better and not get riled up as easily.

    • Dimph
      AUTHOR

      I’m glad it’s working for you! thanks for reading!

  • Anonymous

    I agree that our psychological response and our experience decides how we react to it. I feel like smells have a lot to do with trigger too

  • Joan

    I have heard of meditation helping to calm oneself and keeping emotions in check I need to start doing some of them.

  • Lakatwoman

    This is perfect and very timely with the New Moon and Mercury retrograde going on. We are all feeling an energy shift–I certainly did and am. I find that being self-aware and feeling and truly asking myself why I feel how I feel helps me.

  • Caitlyn M

    Emotional stress has become such a “norm” in our society. I think the most important thing is for each person to figure out what works for them when they get anxious or stressed, whether it is calling a certain person, taking deep breaths, or counting backwards.

  • Michelle C

    As humans we all have varying emotions at different times, based on what is happening at that time. It is a good read on how one can manage emotions. Self development is key to a successful life.

  • Andrea

    it is funny because i was just talking to a friend about this like 5 minutes ago and i was telling that what has helped me a lot regarding my emotions and mental health and stop question and just letting the process go. everything happens for a reason and instead of trying to figure out why we should just accept that it is for a reason and let the emotions flow through.

    • Dimph
      AUTHOR

      Thanks for reading!

  • Sondra Barker

    Wow this was very interesting to read. Really good to know more about one’s emotions!
    Xo, Sondra
    Cuisineandtravel.com

  • I have never heard of regulating your emotions before but can understand how it would be needed at times. I found this very interesting!

  • R. Roy

    controlling negative emotion is necessarily needs knowledge and practice. You have really best tips when it comes to emotions management. Thank you.

    • Dimph
      AUTHOR

      Thanks for reading

  • Minakshi Bajpai

    Emotions are countless, so we should know that how to control emotion regulation.

  • Waren Jean

    My sister and father both have temper issues and we are helping them manage it. It’s just difficult when both explodes. This is helpful.

    • Dimph
      AUTHOR

      I hope this helps, thanks for reading!

  • Laura Dove

    This is so interesting, I never thought about emotion regulation before. I try to keep a lid on my emotions where possible but other times I have no chance!

    • Dimph
      AUTHOR

      Emotions can be very overwhelming!

  • Shraddha Tripathi

    These are the great tips to follow to regulate emotions. I feel one should follow their own way for that.

  • Khushboo

    This is a very informative post. I never thought about emotion regulation before but now I know more about it. It will help me a lot.

    • Dimph
      AUTHOR

      Glad to hear that, goodluck!

  • Akamatra

    Usually I don’t have a tough time regulating my emotions. But when I drive I can get really mad.

    • Dimph
      AUTHOR

      A lot of people do 😉 thanks for reading!

  • Nazrin

    All of my emotions show on my face whether that be happiness or sadness, anger or disappointment it always shown! I could really do with having more control over the emotions I don’t want to share with others or more particularly want to show them!

    http://www.nmdiaries.com

  • LavandaMichelle

    Learning to understand your emotions is important! Then learning to have control over your emotions is even more important. Thanks for sharing.

  • Msddah

    This def manifest in emails. I have got to get a grip on that as I just cant help myself sometimes but I am def doing better than before. Great post

  • Chuck

    Interesting topic you have here. Truly knowing ourself is very important!

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