By: Clarice Stout, MA
Sometimes being able to handle a lot of feelings and emotions at once depending on what is going on in our lives can feel overwhelming. Some individuals handle stress and high emotions in different ways, sometimes healthy and or sometimes not so healthy. Learning to emotionally regulate in a healthy way is beneficial not only to yourself and mental well-being, but also for relationships that we have in our life. Being able to emotionally regulate can look different for different people and below are a couple tools to help us become more in tuned with ourselves to better regulate our emotions.
Allowing time to check in with yourself: When there are moments of high stress or you are dealing with a lot on your plate sometimes giving yourself the space to check in with yourself of how you are feeling in the moment can help you take a step back to think where certain emotions are coming from or think about what are the outside stressors that are contributing to how you feel. Allowing time to check in with yourself gives you the ability to take time for your thoughts and to help you not reach a tipping point with your emotions.
Identify what you are feeling: By being able to check in with yourself you are also able to help yourself by identifying the emotion you are really feeling. Feelings and emotions are not bad, they are literally telling you something. In a way, emotions are like internally communicating with yourself, allowing for regulation! Allowing time to check in and identify what you are feeling can seem similar, but in a way of looking at it checking in is like step one and step two is identifying the emotion and taking on the challenge to know and come face to face with your emotion.
Accept your emotions: Accepting how you feel is helpful for emotion regulation because this allows you to not suppress those emotions that you are feeling about something, someone, or a situation, event, and or experience. A helpful tool to identifying and accepting emotions is the emotion wheel, (which is attached as a resource below). This tool can help you look at emotions on a deeper level, such as what is behind the anger, sadness, nervousness, etc. Suppressing emotions is considered an unhealthy way of coping if we are doing that all the time and could lead to dysregulation in emotions. So, working on accepting our emotions allows us to be open with ourselves and sets a stepping stone for how we can work with certain emotions.
Mood Journal: A helpful way to accepting our emotions and regulating them better is by using and keeping a journal for your mood. Logging your mood can help you visually see what kind of feelings and emotions you are going through. This journal tool can also help you process and write about your emotions, and it provides a healthy outlet for you to express emotions on paper.
Allow for space and deep breaths: If we are not used to regulating our emotions it can be difficult to talk about them and if we feel pressured to speak about them when we don’t want to that can lead to sometimes expressing in negative ways, such as irritation or anger outbursts. Knowing when you are getting heightened with some emotions that you do not find pleasant is when you can implement time for space and breathing through it. (Deep breaths in and out, when you are feeling overwhelmed with emotion that feels too strong). The more you practice moving toward regulating emotions in a healthy way allows for you to be more aware of yourself and can be very helpful for healthier communication in your relationships with others. Regulating your emotions can allow for better ways to resolve conflict, and allows for a healthier mindset for a better you.
Written by: CLARICE STOUT, MA, Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist 107743 under the supervision of Dr. Joselyn Josephine Ayala-Encalada PsyD, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 96987.