Emotional regulation is the ability to manage and control our emotions. It’s normal for everyone to feel a range of emotions, but sometimes those emotions can be overwhelming or hard to understand. Emotional regulation helps us learn how to recognise and name our emotions, understand why we are feeling them, and find healthy ways to cope and express them. This can include things such as taking deep breaths, talking to someone you trust, or finding a calming activity like going for a walk or listening to music. It’s a skill that takes practice, but the more you work on it, the better you will be able to handle difficult emotions and make better decisions.
What Emotional Regulation Looks Like
Emotional regulation can look and feel different for everyone. Here are some examples of what it might look like:
- Recognising when you are starting to feel upset or stressed, and taking a moment to pause and breathe before reacting.
- Being able to identify and name the emotions you are feeling, such as “I’m feeling angry right now”.
- Using coping strategies like deep breathing, meditation, or exercise to manage intense emotions.
- Learning to communicate your feelings in a healthy and appropriate way, rather than bottling them up or lashing out.
- Practicing self-care and self-compassion to build emotional resilience.
- Using positive self-talk and reframing negative thoughts.
- Setting boundaries and saying “no” when feeling overwhelmed.
- Seeking help from a friend, caregiver, loved one or therapist.
What Emotional Dysregulation Looks Like
Emotional dysregulation refers to the difficulty managing and controlling emotions in a healthy way. It can look different for everyone, but some common examples of emotional dysregulation include:
- Having intense and/or frequent emotional outbursts, such as crying, yelling, or becoming angry easily.
- Being easily overwhelmed by emotions and feeling “overwhelmed”.
- Difficulty in managing and completing daily tasks because of emotional difficulties.
- Having trouble coping with stress and feeling “stuck” in negative emotions.
- Engaging in self-harm, substance abuse, or other dangerous behaviours as a way to cope with emotions.
- Having trouble with impulse control and making impulsive decisions.
- Having a sense of emotional numbness and difficulty feeling pleasure or happiness.
- Having difficulty connecting with others and forming healthy relationships.
Emotional dysregulation is not a disorder or a diagnosis. It’s a symptom that can be associated with different mental health conditions, such as Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, and others. However, this does not mean you have these mental health conditions. If you feel that you have difficulties managing and regulating your emotions, it’s important to reach out for help from a professional such as a General Practitioner or Therapist.
How To Get Help and Support
If you are feeling as though emotional dysregulation is impacting your life, it is important to seek support in order to manage your emotions and improve your overall well-being. Some ways to get support include:
- Talking to a Therapist or Counsellor: A mental health professional can help you understand your emotions and provide you with coping strategies and tools to manage them.
- Joining a Support Group: Being around others who are going through similar experiences can be validating and provide a sense of community.
- Reaching out to Friends, Family, or a Support Person: Talking to someone you trust can provide emotional support and help you process your feelings.
- Keeping a Journal: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand and process them.
- Practicing Self-Care: This can include activities like exercise, meditation, or reading.
- Taking a Break (if you need to): If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to step away from the situation and take a break.
Remember, seeking help and support is a sign of strength!
It’s important to remember that emotional regulation is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. It’s normal to struggle with it at times! With a bit of effort and a lot of patience, you can learn how to better understand and manage your emotions. This will help you navigate through life’s challenges and improve your overall well-being!