6 Most Useful Emotional Regulation Skills for Adults

The key to self-regulation is to take a moment to step back from feelings and responses. It helps us to behave after giving a situation a dispassionate assessment. For instance, a student who punches their peers and screams at others for trivial reasons undoubtedly lacks emotional control compared to a young person who confides in their instructor before hitting or shouting.

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Value involvement is a significant component of emotional regulation as well. We frequently stray from our basic beliefs and act in ways that are contrary to them when we respond impulsively without giving much thought to what is going on within. We may learn to remain composed under pressure and refrain from acting unethically by exercising appropriate self-control and regulation.

These are some techniques for developing emotional control and maintaining it in the face of adversity.

1. Self-knowledge

One of the best first steps toward emotional control is acknowledging and recognizing our feelings. Consider asking yourself, “Am I feeling sad, hopeless, ashamed, or anxious?” while you’re feeling down.

Give yourself a few choices, then investigate your emotions. If you wish to, try writing down the precise feelings that you are experiencing deeply at that very time. Right now, all you need to do is become fully aware of every emotion that is in control of your thoughts. You don’t need to act or make judgments about the causes and effects of your feelings.

2. Conscious awareness

Being attentive not only increases our awareness of our thoughts but also enables us to examine and recognize every part of the outside environment, including our bodies. Easy mindful practices like sensory relaxation or breath control help quiet the inner turmoil and direct our behavior in the proper direction.

3. Reevaluating cognitively

One aspect of cognitive reappraisal is thinking differently. It requires more acceptance and flexibility and is a crucial part of psychotherapies including CBT, DBT, and Anger Management.

Cognitive reappraisal techniques might involve trying to see a stressful event from a completely different angle, such as thought substitution or situational role reversals.

Thoughts like “My boss hates me,” “I am no longer needed here,” and similar ones may be swapped out for more positive ones like “My boss is upset right now, I am sure I can make up for this,” or “I know I am hard working and honest, let me give it another try,” etc. By doing this, we are able to view our issues more clearly and broadly and respond to them more constructively.

4. Flexibility

Emotional dysregulation reduces our capacity to adjust to changes in our lives. We stop using our coping strategies and become more easily distracted, which is why we frequently begin to oppose changes. Objective assessment is a fantastic practice to develop adaptation.

Consider the scenario that your closest buddy is going through when you find yourself overcome by negative feelings that you wish to suppress and risk reacting destructively. In this case, what would you have advised them to do? If you would like, write down your responses. Then, consider whether you are taking the same actions for yourself.

5. Compassion for oneself

Creating a daily time slot for self-care is an excellent method of developing emotional intelligence. We may greatly alter how we feel and respond to our emotions by reminding ourselves of our strengths and virtues and allowing our brains to roam freely.

6. Support on an emotional level

According to psychologists, we all possess the intrinsic ability to develop a wide range of emotions and prevent our mental energy from being consumed by negativity. We can look within for emotional support through attentive self-awareness, or we can look outside for assistance through constructive interpersonal interactions.

When our own coping mechanisms fail, it’s OK to consult a therapist or other expert; the main goal is to build a strong emotional barrier that can channel our emotions and bring out the best in us.

Science-Based Techniques for Regulating Emotions

Numerous remedies for emotional dysregulation have been offered by literary works on emotional regulation. All of the self-regulation techniques are clearly helpful and realistic, but selecting the one that works best for us might be challenging (Gross, 2015; Ochsner, Silvers, & Buhle, 2012).

The majority of scientific studies on emotional regulation concentrate on either a certain age range that may benefit from the technique or a particular circumstance in which it functions most well (Webb, Miles, & Sheeran, 2012). Not much is spoken on the scientific techniques that we may employ to control our emotions at all times.

However, recent research has provided some clarification in this area. Scholars today concur that emotion management need not to be limited to a period of time or a subset of people in a particular situation, and they have put forth a few scientific heuristics that ought to serve as a constant reference point (Aldao, 2013; Gross, 2015).

1. Reevaluation

Reappraisal, also known as cognitive reappraisal, provides a long-term remedy for emotional suffering and guarantees long-term wellness. By reevaluating, we seek more effective strategies to manage the painful feelings rather than trying to violently repress or eradicate them (Davis, Senghas, Brandt, & Ochsner, 2010).

Apart from identifying suitable and constructive alternatives to the issues, cognitive reappraisal also redirects our attention away from the discomfort and lessens the duration of the unpleasant feeling (Troy, Shallcross, & Mauss, 2013).

2. Self-calming

Whatever shape self-soothing takes, it can lessen the damaging impacts of anguish, despair, and rage that come with bad experiences (Heiy & Cheavens, 2014). When it comes to controlling thoughts and emotions, scientists think that self-soothing—as opposed to self-confrontation—guarantees greater and faster results.

3. Control of attention

Reappraisal is the first stage of attentional regulation. It attempts to deflect our focus from the unpleasant feeling and give us a more positive viewpoint.

For example, by viewing an insult or other kind of abuse as a lesson to avoid forming relationships with impolite people, we may overcome the overwhelming feelings of humiliation and wrath that follow.

In addition to sparing yourself from excruciating stress and suffering, concentrating more on the lessons you took away from the argument gives you insight into how to prevent such conflicts with others in the future. Consequently, you are able to control how you react to the unpleasant experience and recover your mental equilibrium back (Gross & John, 2003).

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