Want to know how to practice your emotional self-regulation for FREE?
A common area of personal development I have clients ask to work on in coaching is emotional self- regulation: The process of effectively managing and responding to an emotional experience. This is an essential EQ component and it can help you in your interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, interactions with your inner and outer environment AND can help you go from constant reaction mode to reflection, regulation and responding in a way that they feel good about so you can get the best possible results and desired outcome.
Before and for practicing to occur, there needs to be at least 5 things:
a. A degree of self-awareness regarding your ability to regulate your emotions
b. Knowledge of and capability of implementing strategies to use to regulate you emotions (support, resources)
c. The desire to want to work on emotional regulation and doing the work
d. Real life practice opportunities
In this brief article I will focus on “d”.
A lot of clients I see have a certain level of self-awareness around their emotional experience and interactions with others and this is something we work together in evoking more of (self-awareness is never ending throughout our time here, it’s a constant evolving journey and process-now that something to be aware of!)
However, although awareness is essential and a great starting place for any change to occur, it won’t necessarily get you to your goal. Just because you are aware that a place exists doesn’t mean you’ll get there-you have to do the work.
Being aware that you are angry does not prevent you from lashing out at someone or something.
Emotional self-regulation is a skill and can be developed but like any skill, if not practiced regularly, can start to ware off in efficiency and function.
Now, how someone manages and regulates their emotions will vary depending on their preferences and what works for them. Some common techniques include the STOPP method, deep breathing, having a cooling down period, trying on curiosity and compassion rather than anger, visioning how you would like to react, grounding techniques etc.
So great. You may have all these tools but if you just leave them lying in yor tool box, you, as well as the tools, may get a bit rusty!
So let’s start practicing and using them!
What is ONE way to practice those emotional regulation skills?
On People (you can use plants and animals or inanimate objects too as a staring place or “safer” way to practice.)
Although no one is responsible for making you react a certain way, I am sure you know some people where you tend to react around more than others (often family members).
Well, now you are going to see them differently-they will become an opportunity for you to practice your emotional regulation skills!
So next time you are planning to communicate with someone where you tend to get a little reactive around, give yourself a challenge. Try out some techniques, test them on that person.
Then reflect on what you learned. How did it go? What worked? Didn’t work? How did you feel about the way you responded? How did this impact you and your relationship? What might you do differently next time?
Keep practicing. On a positive spin, there will likely always be somebody or some people or situations that trigger a negative emotional reaction that then leads to an undesirable reaction if not regulated. You can now see these struggles as challenges and opportunities towards self-improvement. You will likely not change the other individual or entire situation, but you CAN work on yourself:)
Emotional Regulation…..it’s a skill you can acquire and develop. And it’s free!