Emotional Regulation- Keeping Your Feelings In Check
Here we will cover the topic of emotional regulation. Emotions can be useful or destructive. Destructive emotions often lead to long-term negative consequences. It is important to know that emotions are complex and that we have both primary and secondary emotions. Primary emotions can be ignored or overshadowed by secondary emotions such as shame, guilt or anger which then cause problems.
Changing behavioural patterns is a hard task, especially if your emotions are ruling you and you are living with emotional suffering. Individuals with emotional suffering need to learn how to reduce their feelings so their feelings are manageable. The feelings are still there, but your emotions are not feeling larger than you. If they feel larger than the you this leaves you feeling emotionally vulnerable.
Regulate your emotions in order to live a life worth living
I am not saying you must “not feel” in order to practice emotional regulation, but to learn skills to regulate your emotion in order to live a life worth living. First we have to learn how to validate ourselves emotionally. .
» There is no right way to feel in every situation
» I can let others know what I am feeling
» Negative feelings are not bad or destructive (behaviours can be)
» Emotions are not stupid
Painful emotions are important to validate
Emotions consist of several different reactions happening at the same time. Body changes such as tensing or relaxing muscles, change in body temperature, and heart rate fluctuations are just a few. Facial muscles also play an important role in emotions. Sometimes the problem with emotions is that you have difficulty sensing the changes in your body.
1. Observe and describe your emotions just as they are
2. Become aware of your physical sensations (anger in chest area)
3. Give yourself time to figure them out and problem- solve
4. Expose yourself to your emotions, but do not act on them
5. Don’t fight painful emotions, practice willingness without judgment.
6. Once your emotions have decreased
may be able to follow some steps to decrease vulnerability to negative emotions and then move to increasing positive emotions.