Choosing Emotions: Why Self-regulation Is Needed And How To Learn It

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Choosing Emotions: Why Self-regulation Is Needed And How To Learn It
Choosing Emotions: Why Self-regulation Is Needed And How To Learn It

Video: Choosing Emotions: Why Self-regulation Is Needed And How To Learn It

Video: Self-Regulation and Motivation v2 2022, December

People usually react to typical events in the same way. And this is not always the best option. For example, instead of healthy food, we often automatically select pizza for dinner because it tastes better and doesn't need to be cooked. Self-regulation techniques train the brain to respond in new ways to familiar situations and react differently. This skill can help you cope with stress, reduce irritability, and increase self-esteem.

What self-regulation gives

Scientists at the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of London, in 2013, found that emotional self-control engages parts of the brain that are not affected by spontaneous responses. Study leader Simone Kühn noted that choosing between automatic responses and self-control is similar to choosing between someone else's instructions and making your own decisions.

Photo: Anastasia Dulgier / Unsplash
Photo: Anastasia Dulgier / Unsplash

© Anastasia Dulgier / Unsplash

What does it mean

When a person is upset, he may not hesitate to be aggressive, spend money spontaneously, take risks, and calm down with food, alcohol, or tranquilizers. Self-regulation allows you to take a conscious pause between feeling and further action. This can help you deal with impulsive behaviors that can often make the situation worse, and then become aware of what is happening and choose the best possible strategy. Most types of psychotherapy are aimed at improving self-regulation skills and helping a person gain control over their actions and life.

People who have learned such techniques are more likely to see the good in others, communicate easily, calmly accept changes and cope with difficulties, act according to their own values, comfort themselves and help cope with negative experiences.

Step 1: acknowledge choices

The first practice of self-regulation is to become aware of the choice of feelings and actions in any situation. In moments when it seems that the circumstances are against us, it may be a matter of subjective reaction. And then a pause allows you to choose the most successful solution.

Emotions motivate us to act according to one of three scenarios: approach, run away, or attack.

In the first case, we want to get something or learn better, so the significance and value of such an experience increases. This category of emotions includes trust, love, pleasure and interest. Behaviors that match those emotions are recognition, support, negotiation, desire to bring joy, boundary setting, and protection.

In the second case, we tend to reduce the significance of the experience and the amount of attention to it. Typical behavior is to ignore, deny, reject.

In the third case, we are talking about hatred, disgust, anger, contempt - you want to devalue, criticize, insult, hurt and destroy. When we automatically follow the scripts of emotions, we don’t think about how we feel, and we cannot determine our own attitude to the situation.

Photo: Anthony Roberts / Unsplash
Photo: Anthony Roberts / Unsplash

© Anthony Roberts / Unsplash

Step 2: become aware of feelings

Feelings are a complex part of emotions. They exist to focus attention. For example, when a person ignores someone they love, the emotion of guilt leads to irritation and makes you pay attention to what is happening. When someone says “I feel bad” about their state, this is an abstract experience that is difficult to understand and therefore cannot be changed. In this case, the person does not stop negative emotions and continue to think about what is wrong. Resenting and blaming yourself or others will stimulate the experience.

When we focus on our own feelings, we ask ourselves: "What about me?" and try to find a definition of the state, this interrupts the flow of emotion, allows you to determine what caused it, and then change the behavior.

Step 3: practice state selection

The possibility of choosing our own state and actions and observing what we choose help to determine true personal values ​​and in any situation to focus on them, and not on momentary emotions.

8 ways to self-regulate every day

  1. Don't be afraid of change: train your ability to explore and adapt to unfamiliar situations with interest.
  2. Identify Your Triggers: Exercise mindfulness that will help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses and understand which situations trigger unpleasant experiences or difficulties.
  3. Practice self-discipline: keep moving towards your goal, even if it's the last thing you want to do.

  4. Rethink your feelings and considerations, analyze and look for new options for reactions to the situation in order to feel better.
  5. Stay calm in a stressful situation: Learn to temporarily remove yourself from what is happening - physically or mentally - and use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
  6. Consider circumstances: take a break to understand what triggers the “bad” behavior.
  7. Believe in yourself: work on confidence and self-esteem, focus on achievement, believe in your abilities, and surround yourself with those who believe in and support us.
  8. Be honest with yourself: live in accordance with your own values.

When a specialist is needed

You should only learn techniques on your own if you are in good psychological shape. In a situation of crisis, acute condition, depression, self-regulation methods can be useless or cause harm.

It is necessary to start practicing self-regulation carefully and gradually, without trying to set a record. If you can't master the technique, then you should contact a specialist. Individual working methods may be required.>

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