Emotional Regulation Skills (5 Abilities + PDF)

In this blog, we are going to discuss six emotional regulation skills that can help you achieve and maintain emotional well-being. First, readers will be introduced to what emotional regulation is. Then we will take a closer look at each of these skills and PDFs that can help develop them.

What are Emotional Regulation Skills?

Here is a quick list of important emotional regulation skills everyone should have:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Acceptance
  • Space Between Stimulus & Response
  • Cognitive Reappraisal
  • Expressing Emotions
  • Positive Self-Talk

What is Emotional Regulation?

Emotional regulation is the ability to process or respond to your emotional needs at any given moment. It requires you to be able to feel a full range of emotions brought by internal or external stimuli. 

In simple words, when something happens that elicits an emotional reaction in you, your ability to regulate your emotions allows you to choose how to respond optimally. So, for example, if you are feeling a negative emotion, emotional regulation will help you pick a context-appropriate response.

This response includes how you accept the emotion, understand it, express it, and communicate it. If you’re good at emotional regulation, you can choose to spontaneously react or delay your reaction based on what is good for you.

6 Emotional Regulation Skills

In this section, we will describe six important emotional regulation skills that you will need to develop if you want to deal with your emotions healthily. Each item also comes with a relevant PDF for further reading and practice.

Self-Awareness

It is not possible to regulate your emotions if you do not have self-awareness. This essential skill is the awareness of the thoughts and feelings that drive your behaviour. It is also the understanding of how experiences from your childhood shape your personality today.

One can say that self-awareness is an umbrella term that includes the knowledge of the following:

  • Your strengths and weaknesses
  • Traits and characteristics
  • Bodily reactions
  • Personal triggers
  • Fears
  • Insecurities
  • Self-talk
  • Traumatic memories
  • Attachment style
  • Habits
  • Goals and dreams
  • Disparities between the real and ideal self
  • Emotional reactions

When you have a fair understanding of each of these items, you’re in a much better place to regulate your emotions. You’re able to understand why you’re feeling them, what you need to do about it, and how to proceed with expression.

PDF for Self-Awareness.

Self-Acceptance

Another major skill that must be developed for the sake of emotional regulation is the ability to accept yourself, just as you are. If you try to process your emotions with a tendency to judge yourself for having them, you won’t do a very good job of it.

The only way to move forward with an emotion is to first accept that it is there for a reason. It’s never wrong to feel something that you can’t help but feel. So take away the judgement and let yourself feel it. Only then can you understand why it has come to you in the first place.

PDF for Self-Acceptance.

Space Between Stimulus & Response

Emotional regulation requires you to be able to think before you act. It is easier said than done but in the long run, you’re only able to manage your emotions if you can manage your reactions. Creating space between an event and your reaction to it is a skill that allows this to happen.

In order to do this, you need every other skill mentioned in this blog. Self-awareness lets you know that you might react impulsively. Self-acceptance will remove judgement and help you focus on solutions.

The cognitive reappraisal will help you think and choose how to react optimally. Emotional expression and positive self-talk will let you be authentic to your emotions.

PDF for Space Between Stimulus & Response

Cognitive Reappraisal

A major component of CBT, cognitive reappraisal is the process of changing your perspective in order to feel better about a situation. For any circumstance that triggers an emotional response in you, there’s a new way of looking at it that will reduce some of the intensity of the negative emotion.

For example, if you feel betrayed and hurt because you caught your partner cheating on you, after mourning your loss, you can change your perspective by thinking of the same situation as dodging a bullet. 

Beginners may find it hard to reappraise a situation so it might help to consult a psychologist for assistance.

PDF for Cognitive Reappraisal.

Expressing Emotions

When we talk about emotional regulation, we don’t expect people to become ninjas who never feel anything strong or vulnerable. Yes, choosing reactions and behaving in socially appropriate ways may be a visible component of regulating emotions.

Nevertheless, it’s not possible to regulate your emotions if you don’t allow yourself to feel them at some point. The idea is to find the right time and place for it and to feel it unfiltered.

You’ll always need to express every emotion you feel because that’s how they work. Suppressing them or trying not to feel them is counterproductive. The only way to move past it is to feel it, freely.

PDF for Expressing Emotions.

Positive Self-Talk

When you learn to accept yourself, you make it possible to have positive self-talk. Your self-talk is the voice inside your head that tells you what to think or feel about yourself. Negative self-talk might make the following statements:

  • “I’m so stupid”
  • “I’m not worth loving”
  • “I’m going to die alone”
  • “I can never get things right”

In contrast, positive self-talk can look at the same situations and respond a lot more healthily and realistically:

  • “I have a lot to learn”
  • “I have many issues to overcome and I will because I love myself”
  • “I will always be my biggest cheerleader”
  • “I need a lot of practice at this”

As you can see, the situations remain the same but the way you talk to yourself is completely opposite. Positive self-talk makes emotional regulation a lot easier because it comes layered with tonnes of self-acceptance. You accept that you are not perfect and yet you are worth self-love.

PDF for Positive Self-Talk.

Conclusion

In this blog, we discussed six emotional regulation skills that can help you achieve and maintain emotional well-being. First, readers were introduced to what emotional regulation is. Then we took a closer look at each of these skills and PDFs that can help develop them.

The six emotional regulation skills discussed here were Self-Awareness, Self-Acceptance, Space Between Stimulus & Response, Cognitive Reappraisal, Expressing Emotions, and Positive Self-Talk.

FAQs (Emotional Regulation Skills)

How can you teach kids emotional regulation?

Keep in mind the following strategies to help teach children how to regulate their emotions:

  • Belly breathing
  • Box breathing
  • Stretching and yoga
  • Mood charts
  • Mood meters
  • Games to build emotional intelligence
  • Storytelling to build empathy
  • Journalling 
  • Drawing out feelings

How do you recognize emotional triggers?

One can learn to recognise their emotional triggers by paying attention to what’s happening in their body. An increased heart rate, shorter breaths, tightened muscles, restlessness, an urge to cry, impulsiveness; are all signs of being triggered. Mindfulness is key in identifying one’s triggers.

What are the 3 areas that emotional well-being influences?

When someone has attained emotional well-being, they have a much easier time being in tune with their emotions. They’re able to handle them in a healthy way and focus on learning. Emotional well-being also influences your ability to be vulnerable; a key ingredient for trust in relationships. It’s also easier to be your authentic self when emotionally well.

References

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