Why do we feel angry when stuck in traffic, disappointed when we fail a test or irritated when we are hungry?
These are emotions. Human beings have a myriad of emotions. We have different reactions and thought processes for other things. Emotional regulation techniques are a way to control these feelings and the responses generated by various life events.
Sometimes we might have an outburst of any feeling; emotional regulation teaches us how to direct it towards something more positive and acceptable to people.
Emotional regulation techniques aren’t about suppressing emotions but managing them appropriately.
So let’s understand what emotional regulation means.
What is emotional regulation?
Emotional regulation controls your emotions and directs them towards more acceptable and appropriate behavior. It is the process that contains sudden outbursts and rethinking them. It is the way to challenge your thoughts and shift your mindset.
Various emotional regulation therapy techniques help you regulate your emotions. Before that, let’s understand why controlling your feelings is vital.
Why do we need to regulate our emotions?
The purpose of regulating your emotions can not only help you feel relaxed and give you peace, but it also enables you to manage your emotional responses, which are very important in day-to-day life. Regulating your emotions doesn’t let negative thoughts take charge of you.
It is essential to control your emotions because it keeps your mind and body healthy. You can understand your situation, and you respond well. You have better relationships.
Since mood regulation techniques have ample benefits, let’s learn some emotional regulation techniques.
10 Emotional Regulation Techniques
5-4-3-2-1 is a grounding technique for emotional regulation. This technique helps you calm your mind by regulating your emotions. This exercise also increases mindfulness.
The exercise procedure is-
5 things you can see:
Describe five things in detail that you can see around you. Make a mental note of all the details. Stay within 5 things. Note the color and pattern of the things. These great mood-regulation techniques can help you focus and teach you how to regulate your emotions.
4 things you can feel:
When you are outside, try focusing on any 4 things you touch. Try touching the grass, the flowers, etc., focusing on things that are comforting to you, your hands or legs, and their structure. This process will help you ground yourself and feel calm. When you feel a rush of emotions, try focusing on your fingers or anything that will distract you from the sudden feelings until you calm down.
3 things you can hear:
Try focusing on any three sounds you can hear—the clock ticking, somebody’s footsteps, birds chirping, or the wind. Try focusing on the sound and listening to it carefully. It will help you focus on something else and distract you from negative thoughts.
2 things you can smell:
Another way to focus on something is by trying to focus on the smell of something. When you want to control your emotional outburst, try searching for some comforting smell, like the smell of food you like, the scent of flowers, or the smell of wet ground. Focusing on the smell will boost your mind and relax you.
1 thing you can taste:
When you feel a rush of emotions, eating something you like is the fastest way to move your mind from it. Focus on the flavor of the food that will help you get calm and distract you.
TIIP is one of the emotional regulation techniques that helps to reduce intense emotions and make the mind think properly. The method has the following components:
When you have a rush of emotions, your body temperature might rise, and the best thing you can do now is to lower your heat. You can wash your face, which might make you feel relaxed.
Intense Exercise (I)
Running or walking can cool off the steam and make you feel better. Doing 10 minutes of cardio is one of the best emotional regulation techniques, which relaxes your body and mind and makes you think correctly. But don’t strain yourself.
Paced Breathing (P)
Breathing in and breathing out slower will help you calm yourself down. Your breathing pace enables you to feel safe and regulates your emotions. It gives your mind time to think better.
Paired Muscle Relaxation (P)
This is one of the cognitive emotion regulation strategies to help relax from the stress of different emotions. Tense your affected muscle, which is causing you discomfort, and then inhale at the same time. After 5 seconds, exhale for 7 seconds and relax your muscles. This will help you feel better.
It is essential to understand your feelings to regulate them. If you know what you are feeling, you can talk about it better. It is necessary first to think that your emotions are valid and it’s normal to express them. Give yourself time to sit and relax and think of where your feelings are coming from.
If you find the source of why you feel that particular way, you’ll be able to find a solution to your emotional outburst.
This is one of the emotional regulation therapy techniques based on how our body affects our mood and emotions. A healthy body helps in having a healthy mind if your body is affected by any disease or discomfort, which will alter your mood.
Physical Illness (PL)
Physical illness can also cause issues to your emotional health. Mental disorders can make it hard to control your emotions. Therefore identifying any disease that you might be undergoing will help you, and you can take the necessary treatment.
Eat a regular and balanced diet (E)
Eating proper food and not skipping meals is vital to a healthy body and mind. Our emotions also depend on what we eat. If you miss a meal, you might feel irritated and frustrated. Thus, a balanced diet with proper nutrition will help you regulate your emotions better.
Avoid mood – Altering drugs (A)
Avoid alcohol or any other sedative drugs that can make someone feel better at the moment by making them forget about their emotions. This relief is temporary but will cause adverse effects in our brains, like memory loss. Thus avoiding them will help you regulate your mood and emotions better.
Having a good night’s sleep is also mandatory for a peaceful mind. If you have a calm mind, you can easily regulate your emotions. So have a proper sleeping routine. Eight hours of sleep is a must.
Physical activity helps keep the mind and body healthy. 10 to 15 minutes of exercise can make you feel better the entire day. It will help you relax your mind and body. Help you think better by regulating impulsive thoughts and emotions.
5. 4-2-4 Breathing Exercise
4-2-4 is a breathing exercise that one can do when feeling a rush of emotions. When we are anxious or sad, or overwhelmed, we experience heavy breathing. We can regulate our emotions just by following some deep breathing techniques that can relieve any discomfort.
4-2-4 process instructs
Step 1: breathe in for 4 seconds,
Step 2: hold your breath for 2 seconds,
Step 3: breathe out for 4 seconds.
Repeat this step until you feel better.
6. Reframing Thoughts
Emotional regulation therapy techniques also include reframing thoughts. You can try cognitive reappraisal when undergoing negative thoughts, which will help you reframe and reduce negative emotions.
Try thinking of possible positive situations; don’t jump to conclusions. Our emotions can make us assume things and increase stress and anxiety.
Try understanding the situation and the difference between what can happen and what you believe. If you can do nothing now, try leaving the work without jumping to the worst possible conclusions.
ACES is one of the emotional regulation therapy techniques you can use to regulate emotions by calling upon your emotional intelligence skills.
Awareness of what you feel is vital to regulating your emotions. Understanding the source of your feelings will help you find ways to control them.
Component ( C ):
After acknowledging your feelings, you should realize that the feeling is a part of you, but you are not controlling it. If you feel it’s in your control, you’ll stick to the emotion and not work towards removing it.
Don’t judge your emotions; understand them and try to know more about them. Be curious about what more you are feeling and why you are experiencing the emotions. Think of ways to express that feeling and which will be the best for you.
It is the right time to respond after understanding what you are going through and why you feel that way. Decide whether you want to shift towards a different direction or stick to the same thought. It is entirely your decision.
These emotional regulation therapy techniques can also regulate your emotions appropriately. These emotional regulation techniques contain specific actions to help you control your emotions.
When you start having a rush of emotions and don’t understand what to do, stop there. Don’t take any further action. This will help you avoid rash decisions based on sudden feelings.
Take a breath (T):-
After you stop and don’t act further, you should take a deep breath and try to understand the situation by calming yourself down. Keep doing it until you feel better. Make sure your increased heart rate is lowered.
Since you have calmed yourself down, think about what you will do and feel. Analyzing and understanding your feelings will help you approach the situation better.
Pull Back (P):-
You are full of emotions and absurd thoughts; after observing what you were about to do, take a step back to understand your perspective and its impact. This will help you make rational decisions.
When you have calmed down, practice what the best you can do now. Think of all the possible ways to react to it and choose the suitable one. This will help you get better outcomes from the situation.
Self-affirmations are also effective emotional regulation techniques. When dealing with emotions, negative thoughts, and scenarios sometimes come to your mind, which is normal. When negative thoughts bottle up, and you feel like they are affecting your mental health, you can say some self-affirming statements to yourself to make you feel better.
Saying that you can do it and are strong will motivate you to face any obstacle. If will help you relax and regulate negative emotions. Believe in yourself.
10. Take a break
You have been working so hard to regulate your emotions. It is challenging to incorporate all the emotional regulation therapy techniques into your life and fight negative thoughts.
Taking a break is very important for us. First of all, accept the fact that taking a break is okay. Switching off your mind and not fighting with your emotions is okay. Don’t be hard on yourself. Everything eventually will get better. If you don’t feel like walking today or getting out of bed, don’t. It’s okay. Try tomorrow. There’s no rush. Eventually, you will learn all the emotional regulation techniques.
So these are some of the emotional regulation techniques by which you can regulate your emotions. All the steps have different effects on different people. Some might get the results soon, while others may take time. The key is consistency. Being constituted with the grounding techniques for emotional regulation will help you incorporate them easily into your life. It takes work to develop all the methods in your life. It is a process. Believe in yourself. Don’t give up.
If you regulate your emotions properly, you will have better relationships with those around you. Following these emotional regulation therapy techniques, you can easily control the negative thoughts and shift them to positive ones. But it will take time and is not easy. Keep yourself motivated and have patience.
Want to know why you might be too emotional? Click here.
For more mental health blogs, Subscribe to Your Mental Health Pal.