Stressful thoughts and situations often trigger emotional reactions that can cause you to feel uncomfortable, lost, or out of control. However, regulating your emotions is easier than it seems. Detailed below are straightforward methods for harnessing the power of your emotions and channeling challenging moments into positive learning experiences.
1. Pause. Momentarily break away from the situation to gather your thoughts and gain clarity. This can involve mentally stepping away from the situation, or physically removing yourself until you can better cope with what is happening.
2. Ground yourself. Using mindfulness techniques, root yourself in the moment and come back to your body. Take note of your surroundings and how you are interacting with the environment around you. Bring awareness to any sensations or changes happening in your body, such as pain or tension.
3. Label your emotions. Practice describing how you are feeling using applicable terms and language. You can refer to the emotional wheel (below) as you become more familiar with “feeling” words. Aim to be as specific as possible and avoid using judgment as to whether these emotions are “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong.”
4. Process. Processing questions include a more in-depth analysis of the emotions you are experiencing to integrate and expand upon your experience. You can use a scale to rate how much of each emotion or sensation you are feeling from 1-10. Processing can also involve talking about your experience with friends, loved ones, or your therapist.
5. Reflect. This stage involves making connections between your recent emotional reaction and past experiences. Pertinent questions include when you have felt this way before and what events led up to this current state of being. Though reflection can feel like the most difficult aspect of emotional regulation, awareness about your reactions is what truly creates the potential for change.
The highly competent therapists at Lotus Counseling Center are well-versed in how to practice emotional regulation. Beginning therapy with one of our staff members can provide you with the tools to be able to pause, ground, label, process and reflect. Call us today to learn more about what you can do to demystify emotional regulation.