Do you remember when we were children, we had everything planned out for us?
Starting from what to eat, where to go, what to wear, how to behave, etc. We had our parents or guardians look after our daily plan and make us do it. We used to do it because we knew that whatever they told us was best for us.
And then we grew into adults.
Being adults, we are under nobody’s control. We have to plan our day, make the right decisions for ourselves, eat at the right time, show up at places and motivate ourselves to have a good life. Nobody’s there to question us about what and why we are doing something.
Then how do we regulate ourselves? How can we show up at our job after being exhausted the other day? How are we able to choose a protein bar in place of chocolate? How can we decide what to say to someone and what not to do?
Self Regulation techniques are a way to check on ourselves and produce positive life results. Many of us might not even know what self-regulation is and are still doing it. We can unconsciously self-regulate ourselves.
Before moving forward, let’s first understand what self-regulation is.
What is self-regulation?
Self-regulation is a process that monitors, controls, and manages the functions of our mind. It regulates our emotions, behaviors, and thoughts, giving us positive results and mental well-being. In general terms, self-regulation is a kind of self-control.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), self-regulation is “ the control of one’s behavior through self-monitoring, self-evaluation, and self-reinforcement.”
We regulate ourselves by controlling our impulsive thoughts and emotions and making us think and act. Self-regulation refers to being aware of our goals and how to reach them.
We want a stable financial life; we ensure we do our jobs properly and earn money. We prepare thoroughly and give our best when we want to ace an exam. When we want to mend a relationship with someone, we apologize to them for the things in the past. When we want to calm our minds and develop mindfulness, we meditate. These are some of the self-regulation techniques we use to achieve our aim. Good self-regulation activities will help us understand our behaviors better.
Types of Self-Regulation Techniques
Two types of Self- Regulation that help manage your behavior and emotions to have a positive outcome and mental well-being are:
1. Behavioral Self-Regulation Techniques:
Behavioral self-regulation means self-regulation activities where one behaves correctly by doing something or not doing something, even if they don’t want to. Behaviors are regulated by controlling one’s impulses in the required situation.
Regulation of behavior means managing behavior in such a way that they are socially acceptable. It also includes staying calm or alert as the situation asks. It takes a lot of time to regulate your behavior. Generally, it starts from childhood. We slowly understand where not to show our anger, when to stay focused and when to adapt to new situations.
The ability to control your emotions by following self-regulation activities is known as emotional Self Regulation. Emotional regulation helps in managing sudden outbursts of emotions or feelings.
Emotional regulation is learning different coping mechanisms to deal with different experiences and to stay calm. Emotional self-regulation techniques are not about suppressing feelings or emotions but expressing them healthily.
Importance of Self-Regulation
Self-regulation helps us find a path in our life. If we regulate our lives correctly, we will reach our goals faster. It is normal to sometimes feel like not doing things and being lazy, but self-regulation makes us understand that our effort can give us much more happiness and success than we are experiencing now.
Self-regulation helps us follow morals and principles that we have learned all these years.
We know that hitting someone out of anger is not correct. Proper self-regulation activities can help us stay calm and keep our emotions at pace.
Self-regulation is an essential tool for healthy growth. A lack of self-regulation techniques can lead to a lack of confidence and self-esteem. Emotions can get hard to control. Stress, frustrations, anger, and anxiety may accumulate.
Self-Regulation techniques for Children, Students, and Adults
Self-regulation techniques are different for different sets of people. The final result is the same, to achieve a healthily positive result, only the approach changes.
1. Self-Regulation techniques for Children
1. Setting a daily routine
Setting up a routine for your kid will help them understand self-regulation. Make a routine for them, explaining when to wake up, brush their teeth, go to school, etc. They will slowly develop these habits and then regulate them themselves.
2. Changing environments
When your child is going through emotional discomfort, you can teach them different methods to regulate their emotions. Teach them how to get calm and how to feel good. Change the environment to a more positive one.
3. Giving them situations
Make them aware of different situations and teach them how to deal positively. If your child opens up to you about any incident that is making them uncomfortable, first listen to them and then make them understand how to deal with such situations.
4. Positively controlling anger
If your child shows anger or argues with you, stay calm. Handle the situation calmly. Let them settle down, and then talk to them. Explain to them what is the right way to deal with anger. This is the best way by which you can teach your child healthy emotion regulation.
2. Self-Regulation techniques for Students
1. Self Monitoring
Self-regulation activities for students start with them monitoring themselves. Keeping track of their progress and understanding their issues can help them create a plan or strategy for improvement. Students can look upon their actions and what consequences they had to face, then work on it.
This is the best way to create awareness of one’s behavior.
A student can regulate their behavior by giving themselves instructions to do a particular task. They can talk to themselves and understand why the task is essential and why it should be done. They can speak to themselves about what feels right and what feels wrong.
3. Goal settings
A student needs to set specific goals. Goals can be short-term as well as long-term. Setting a plan can help the students be more motivated, and they can give more effort. Setting a goal is an effective self-regulation technique that can help students have a clear path to achieving their goals.
Students can motivate themselves by giving themselves rewards for their achievements. Rewards are a great way to enhance one’s capabilities. Self-regulation is hard to practice and wherever a student achieves any goal by practicing self-regulation techniques deserves a reward. It will motivate them to stick to their routine and work harder. Students should first acknowledge their achievements and be proud of themselves.
3. Self-Regulation techniques for Adults
1. Breathing exercises
When we experience a rush of emotions, we breathe faster, our heart rates increase, and sometimes we feel sick.
The best thing to do at that moment is to sit down and breathe. Take long, deep breaths and give yourself time to calm down.
Breathing exercises help in behavioral regulations as it controls our response to any situation. Breathing helps regulate our body’s arousal level, hence achieving self-regulation.
2. Finding Solutions
Whenever we face any obstacle, it is normal for our brain to jump to negative thoughts. Self-regulation is about motivating ourselves in a positive direction rather than letting negative thoughts consume us.
So whenever you are stuck in an issue next time, think of all possible solutions. Keep your approach positive.
3. Rewarding yourself
Self-regulation works best when you are appreciated for them. When you study hard for an exam and excel in it, give yourself credit and reward yourself with anything that makes you happy.
So give yourself a treat! Be proud of yourself. It will keep your self-esteem high.
4. Expressing your feelings
Self-regulation doesn’t mean repressing your feelings. It means regulating your emotions in a positive direction.
5. Making a proper routine
Routine is a very vital part of anybody’s life. It is hard to have a routine, but it is worth it. Start by setting smaller goals.
Make a morning and a night routine. Follow the small to-do list that you have made. Get your work done on the same day as planned. Be consistent.
If you keep following this, you will see yourself unconsciously following a routine. This is a great way to practice self-regulation.
6. Meditating and Exercising
Meditation and exercising are the best way to calm your senses down.
When you receive something negative, your brain stops making the right decisions. You can have a hard time making decisions.
Exercising can help you in regulating your emotions. If you feel upset or angry, go for a run or workout, and you will feel better. And you will find a better way to express your feelings.
7. Self Affirming statements
Self-regulation is all about self-control to do something or not to do something, even if you don’t like it. In such a case, whenever you feel like not following the path that you set up for yourself, you should say affirming things to yourself.
Start by saying, ‘I can do this,’ ‘ I am proud of myself, ” I’ll achieve my goals, ‘ etc. These affirmations will help you.
Self-regulation is an essential skill that is required for your well-being. Self-regulation techniques reduce stress and anxiety and help us cope better with different situations.
Self-regulation helps in achieving your goal. Practicing self-regulation techniques is challenging. We will get tempted by things that are not good for us.
It is difficult to choose between working on your paper and binge-watching your favorite show. Just one more episode! We must keep the remote down and think to ourselves, will the show vanish if I stop watching? Or will I get bad grades if I don’t complete my paper?
We know the answer.
So keep trying to motivate yourself to practice self-regulation. Step by step, you can quickly achieve what you aimed for.
Are you facing issues in regulating emotions? Read this.
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