10 Tips for Emotional Regulation
“Emotions are a temporary state of mind, don’t let them permanently destroy you”
Let’s face it, we are all get frazzled, but sometimes it’s hard to get back on our feet. It’s part of being human. Every day is filled with its stressors and we’re left with the question—how do we respond? Do we let our emotions guide or lead our response or do we have control over our emotions? Emotional dysregulation—like getting upset—is a very common occurrence for all of us. Let me share with you some tips about how to view your emotions and the ways in which you can better regulate them—for your benefit and for the benefit of your relationships, too.
There are different levels of emotional dysregulation. I divide them into minor, moderate and severe. You have to be honest with yourself and be open to the feedback of the closest 5 people in your life, especially of those whom you are in a relationship with. They know you in your most vulnerable moments. It is totally normal to have feelings and we all have strong reactions at times. What I am discussing here is when the length and/or intensity of the emotion ends up causing impairment in your day-to-day functioning.
It is very normal to experience emotions and we are all entitled to feel our feelings. Emotion comes from the root word of “motion” which means movement, they are there to guide us, push us, and motivate us to action. Emotion emanates primarily from our amygdala – the body’s alarm system which flares up and makes much noise when a perceived danger is present. What we can do is slow emotions down in order to decipher what’s worth reacting to and what needs to be controlled better.
10 Ways to Keep Yourself Emotionally Regulated
1) Buy time and take a break
It takes between 10 to 60 seconds for our body and heart to calm down. You can’t fight nature! Just take a break, get a drink, go to the bathroom and you will return with new insight and be a much more productive and pleasant person to talk to.
2) Identify your needs
Strong emotional reactions usually have a motivation for getting a need met. Ironically and sadly, the explosion usually backfires and sabotages our ability to get that need met, but try to dig deeper and understand what is going on for you.
3) Call out what’s going on
Get vulnerable and express what’s going on for you.
4) Break it down
We are often overwhelmed. Take a paper and write down all of the worries and problems that are on your mind. Then break them down into categories and how long each one will take to deal with. Start knocking them off one by one. If you are really stuck, start with the shortest and easiest one, and just do it!
5) Distract yourself
Listen to music, walk, exercise, spent time with friends, snack, eat chocolate!
6) Choose the higher road
Give yourself permission to feel the hurt and upset, but not to retaliate.
7) GIVE in regards to relationships
Be Gentle, Interested, Validate, be Easy (to deal with)
8) DEAR MAN
Practice becoming more objective in difficult times—Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce (with thank you or boundaries), be Mindful, Appear Confident, Negotiate (from Dr. Marsha Linehan)
9) Accept yourself while rising to the challenge
Stop questioning yourself and believe in your right to advocate.
10) Seek outside help
This can be very helpful and allows you to get an outside opinion and someone who will hold you accountable.
The more time you give yourself to calm after the upset, the more you will calm down. Learn to quarantine the issue and don’t exaggerate it. Learn from your past mistakes and past successes.
- Calming the Emotional Storm – book with solid tips and skills https://www.amazon.com/Calming-Emotional-Storm-Dialectical-Behavior/dp/1608820874/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491445932&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=calmiung+the+emotonal+storm
- DBT Skills Workbook – Joseph’s favorite book on emotional regulation. https://www.amazon.com/Dialectical-Behavior-Therapy-Skills-Workbook/dp/1572245131/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1491445922&sr=8-3&keywords=dbt+skills