Tips For Self-Regulation: Managing Emotions
What is self-regulation?
Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and behavior for the best outcomes. It involves becoming aware of our needs, thoughts, and emotions so that we can make the best decisions on how to act. People with good self-regulation are able to listen to what their body needs, talk to themselves positively when under stress, and use strategies to soothe themselves so that they can think clearly. This allows them to act in alignment with their true intentions and values. Try out these tips for self regulation and see what works best for you.
Step 1 “Awareness”
The way you feel is ok
I’m gonna be the one to say it. Whatever it is what you feel when you’re feeling triggered, or overstimulated, or whatever word we use to describe it. Those feelings are valid, it matters and you aren’t doing anything wrong by feeling that way. Give yourself the space to accept that emotion and to feel it and give it the acknowledgment it needs. Once you have identified what emotion you are feeling, you will be able to figure out how to attend to yourself in the right way.
If you have ever been made to feel bad for how you feel then I am sorry. You should not have. Our emotions are our guidance. When we begin to accept and notice them, we are able to learn how to process them and make decisions that serve us well. However when we have been suppressing our emotions, or expressing them in unhealthily learned ways, then it can take a toll on us. But we can heal and we can learn healthier ways to regulate.
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Step 2: Regulation Tools
Once we begin to become aware of how we feel, we are able to learn what is triggering us or what is causing us to become overstimulated. Then we are going to be able to use tools to help us express how we feel and to regulate ourselves. By using tools that work for us, we can then react in ways that we are proud of, and that help us rather than hinder us or others.
1. Pause before reacting
Getting into the habit of pausing before reacting can give us time to think before we do. try to identify what emotion you are feeling, that will help you figure out what tools you need to process them.
2. Notice your emotions
Notice the emotion, describe what it is either in your head, out loud or write it down. Once you have done this allow it to come over you like a wave, and let it go when it feels right. Avoid hanging onto it and ruminating on it.
3. Notice how your body feels
If we tune in and pay attention to how our body feels when we are feeling triggered this can help us in the moment. Are you tired and need to take it easy? Are you hungry and need to take a break to eat?
4. Take care of your body
have you been eating more unhealthily than usual lately? Have you got out into the fresh air much?
5. Take care of your mind
Noticing our thought patterns can help us to be more regulated. positive thinking supports our emotional wellbeing
6. Take care of your soul
Be sure to stay connected to yourself and the things that bring you true joy.
7. Deep breathing
Deep breathing allows more air flow to your body which calms your nerves
8. Walk away
Taking a moment to yourself or just moving to a quiet area can save you from reacting impulsively
9. Get fresh air
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which makes it easier to think clearly, and even better when outside so take a walk outside to regain your calm.
If you are sensitive to noise then you could reduce it with earplugs.
What music makes you feel good? you could experiment with different kinds and make a play;ist that helps you.
12. Lay down
Laying down like the video here, restores and reconnects the body and mind. It can help with feeling overwhelmed and processing difficult emotions.
13. Talk to someone
If you have someone in your life who will be understanding then speak to them and they it out of your system. If not then there are so many groups on Facebook for people who are in the same boat as you, whatever boat that is. You are likely to find people who get it, and you can post anonymously and get your story out, sharing it will make you feel so much better and probably help someone else with their emotions too.
14. Identify your triggers
Journal about the times when you feel most triggered and see if you can find a pattern. This can help you to prepare for situations or avoid taking on too much stress.
15. Reframe negative thinking
One negative thought can spiral into many more negative thoughts. The same goes for positive ones. Focus on the positives and reframe how you view a situation to help you feel better about it.
16. Essential oils
Essential oils such as lavender and Ylang Ylang have been found to reduce stress.
17. Rip up paper
Tearing up paper can help with stress. You could write down your thoughts and then tear the paper up for a feeling of release. Don’t forget to recycle the paper. You could use it in arts and crafts or put it in the recycling bin.
18. Stroke your pet
There is nothing more relaxing than a snuggle with your pet. Animals are a reminder to slow down and be in the moment.
19. Create a routine
Creating a routine throughout the day can help to reduce stress. This lets you know that you will have a break at some point and gives you things to look forward to.
Tips for self-regulation For Parents
1. Give your child a task
Distract your child with a task. For example toddlers can play with a bucket of water in the garden, or get out the play dough. An older child can see how fast they can run around the garden and beat their own record. This way you can get a moment to yourself to self regulate.
2. Make changes at home
Making small changes at home can help make family life more relaxing. For example, creating a calm-down corner for older children, or creating ways to keep a toddler entertained when you have things to do.
3. Change what you are doing
You could go and scrub the kitchen while listening to your favorite song to get out some of your frustration or go water the plants in the garden. Just a change of task can help get you out of a particular emotion you feel stuck in.
4. Reparent yourself
Take yourself away from the situation if you need to, just try to speak to yourself as if you are your own loving parent. Something like “I know you are feeling angry about what just happened, that’s ok. Your child’s behavior is not personal to you. They are just a child” Remind yourself “I am safe, the way I feel is ok, and this will pass” Once you feel calm and grounded you will be able to handle the situation in a productive way!
5. Get out into an open space
Get outside into an open space, whether that’s the garden or for a walk somewhere. Looking after our children in an open space can be much less stressful than indoors.
Step 3: Practice
Learning self-regulation takes time and practice. Be gentle with yourself. If you have made mistakes in the past, give yourself compassion. Remember that we do what we can with the knowledge that we have at the time. Then use your energy in self-development and learning ways to regulate yourself for now and the future. This will lead to better choices and better relationships with others. Just kike anything, the more we practice it the easier it becomes. Before long you will begin to automatically use your self-regulation tools instead of your old ways of coping. And you’ll be a heck of a lot happier for it!