Emotions play an essential role in your every interaction. And all aspects of your life are impacted by how you integrate emotional regulation.
The thing is, we weren’t all taught how to regulate our emotions, especially in our youth. And when our parents weren’t able to process and manage their own feelings, they indirectly (and unconsciously) sent a message to their children: emotions are overwhelming and they can take control over you.
Learning how to truly process your inner experiences is an inherent part of maturing emotionally, and here’s where you can start:
- What Is Emotional Regulation?
- 9 Emotional Regulation Skills You Need to Know
- Why Is Emotional Regulation Important?
- How to Improve Emotional Regulation: 3 Tips From Mindvalley Trainers
Feeling your feelings is not as overrated as you may think. And having the right tools and healthy coping mechanisms has the power to elevate not only your emotional life, but also your relationships, work, and personal growth.
What Is Emotional Regulation?
Emotional regulation is a person’s ability to respond with awareness, healthily, and effectively to different emotional experiences.
According to the American Psychological Association, emotional regulation can also be implicit, as an unconscious mechanism. Simply put, all people regulate their emotions in some way or another, but not doing it consciously usually results in ineffective coping mechanisms and self-sabotage.
These are strategies we internalize as children, and we repeat them by default until we learn to break the patterns and aid our emotions in a healthier way. The good news is always that these mechanisms can be trained to support you, instead of sabotaging and controlling your life.
What is self-regulation?
Self-regulation is the process to manage efficiently more complex experiences on different levels emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
In an exclusive interview with the Mindvalley team, Dr. Caroline Leaf, communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist, explained that self-regulation has four main aspects:
- Emotional regulation
- Behavior regulation
- Bodily regulation
- Perspective regulation
When we learn to incorporate strategies for each of these categories, we are slowly relearning a new mechanism of thriving into the world and dealing with difficult situations.
9 Emotional Regulation Skills You Need to Know
Emotional regulation skills are trained abilities that help us manage emotional responses to external situations.
Some examples may include:
- Identifying internal emotions
- Identifying emotions in others
- Pursuing goals when feeling anxious
- Tolerating uncomfortable feelings
- Having intimate conversations
- Feeling your emotions in your body
- Holding space for what you’re experiencing within
- Reconsidering your internal narrative when feeling a difficult emotion
Each one of us can learn our own set of emotional self-regulation skills that work best for our personality type. According to how we are wired, we all have distinct patterns and challenges we are confronting.
For example, one person might use repression mechanisms to deal with their emotions. Another person may fall into conflictual situations and anger to manage heavy feelings. And because all people are different, the most suitable emotional regulation skill will vary.
Why Is Emotional Regulation Important?
Emotional regulation helps you control your emotions in a healthy way, so you can process and integrate everything you’re experiencing. It helps you navigate:
- Experiences or situations that trigger an emotion
- Thoughts associated with a problematic situation
- Emotions and physical reactions
- Impulsive actions taken from a strong emotional trigger
Emotional regulation skills help you move away from mechanisms of repressing your feelings. Understanding how essential it is to make space for a healthy emotional life will completely transform your well-being.
Additionally, studies have shown that suppressed emotions have a tremendous impact not only on mental health but also on the physical body.
So knowing how to interact with your emotions will make you thrive in all aspects of your being: mind, body, and spirit.
How to Improve Emotional Regulation: 3 Tips From Mindvalley Experts
As mentioned before, emotional regulation is something all people do unconsciously. The process of making it a conscious and efficient coping mechanism can be improved and developed like any other skill.
Here are three tips from Mindvalley experts to help you do so:
1. Release stuck emotions with EFT tapping | Jennifer Partridge
Jennifer Partridge, trainer of Mindvalley’s Tapping Into Emotional Mastery Quest, highlights the beneficial effects tapping therapy has on processing hard emotions.
It’s not only a practice that supports you to release emotional baggage, negative thoughts, limiting beliefs, and physical illness. Additionally, it helps you along the way when dealing with heavy emotional experiences.
EFT tapping calms down your nervous system and as it removes blockages, it lets energy flow naturally in your body. Jennifer points out that through this technique you will naturally feel more empowered and live in a state of love.
Learn more about how to develop your own tapping routine: 5 Steps to Heal Your Pain and Traumas with EFT Tapping.
2. Process intense emotions with SOMA Breath® | Niraj Naik
Niraj Naik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Breathwork for Life Quest, created a powerful breathwork technique that trains you how to use oxygen effectively and relax your body.
For example, when having severe anxiety, you start breathing faster and therefore, inhale more oxygen than is natural. This disrupts your body’s balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
What makes this breathing technique special and one of the best emotional regulation activities is that you breathe in rhythm with the music, which creates a state of “heart coherence.” This state of being provides harmony and balance within your inner world.
Learn more about SOMA Breath® and how to do it efficiently: How to Combat Anxiety Using SOMA Breath®.
3. Dive deeper into your shadow work journey | Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber, trainer of Mindvalley’s Integral Life Quest, emphasizes the importance of integrating all parts of yourself that you might have neglected, repressed, or judged before.
Why? Because when these shadow aspects of your psyche aren’t included in who you are as a person, with both your light and your darkness, they take control over you unconsciously.
For example, because you suppressed a part of you that felt shy and unable to speak out as a child, you may suffer from intense social anxiety in your adult life. But once you start your shadow work process and learn how to fulfill the needs of these hidden aspects, your symptoms might release naturally.
Learn more about your shadow and how to work with it: A Go-To Guide on How to Do Shadow Work.
Transformation Starts With Your Inner Work
Your childhood and upbringing may have shaped your emotional regulation. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.
Remember: regulation is a habit. And like any habit, it can change with time, practice, and repetition.
So don’t let your emotions rule your actions. Instead, practice emotional insight and learn why you feel the way you do.
You can shift your emotional regulation and responses into more positive experiences. But awareness and patience are key.
And if you need some guidance along the way, Mindvalley can support you on your journey. You can take bits of wisdom and powerful practices with the:
- Tapping Into Emotional Mastery Quest with Jennifer Partridge
- Breathwork for Life Quest with Niraj Naik
- Integral Life Quest with Ken Wilber
By claiming your free access, you can sample classes from these transformational programs and many others. And when you feel a bit stuck and overwhelmed, you can go on and try out one of the guided meditations available on your account.
Your reality will shift once you deeply connect and work with your inner world. You have everything you need right now to take the first step.