Emotional regulation is vital if we want to be productive in our daily lives and positively interact with other human beings. Let’s define self-regulation
? One way to define this concept, is the ability to regulate one’s emotions to what would be considered your normal baseline. This means that if you are usually a calm person, and if you get angry, the anger, if allowed, would move you away from your emotional baseline. Acting on that anger can lead you to display destructive, negative attitudes and behaviors. This could bring harsh consequences to your life. It is important to know that as adults, we can learn how to self-regulate. As adults also, we are able to help children learn how to self-regulate. According to Martin and Ochsner (2017), as we age, we improve our self-regulation skills. Which means that if appropriately taught, children can learn and become efficient in self-regulating. Additionally, it is important to understand that the ability to self-regulate is associated to the rational region of our brain (Martin and Ochsner, 2017). This means that we can rationalize whenever we are behaving based on our emotional dysregulation and intervene to self-regulate. This will allow us to return to our normal baseline and display appropriate communication and interpersonal skills.
Here are some suggestions you could put into practice to help you self-regulate:
1. Learn breathing exercises and practice them daily. Oxygen is extremely helpful in calming our bodies and mind.
2. Learn and practice a routine to distress. When someone is carrying stress, they are more likely to get dysregulated. Therefore, having a regular activity to release stress can serve as a protective factor against emotional dysregulation.
3. Learn ways to have a non-emotional response to events or situations. This is very hard, and it takes a lot of self-masteries. However, this is a great way to avoid responding emotionally to a situation.
4. Incorporate meditation, prayer, reflective activities to your life. If you can do any of these activities daily, it would be best.
5. If you have children, it is vital that you model self-regulation thus becoming a reliable source of emotional safety for them. Children learn by modeling, and if you are constantly dysregulated and behaving on negative emotions, they most likely do the same.
6. Lastly, you can seek the support of a behavioral health professional to process emotions and learn coping mechanism to self-regulate.
I hope this article is helpful to you and your family. Thank you for taking the time to read this psychoeducational article. Here are some resources that may be helpful to you:
Author: Noé Vargas, DBH, SSC, NCC
Director of Mental Health and Wellness
Arizona Charter Academy