How do you handle each emotion? Are you afraid of these emotions, or do you feel like you have a pretty good grasp on your everyday emotional state? Emotional Regulation, as most counselors or psychologists call it, is actually a fairly difficult term to define. Dr. Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault prefers a broad definition which includes the following aspects: 1) The ability to recognize and understand emotional responses, 2) the ability to accept emotions rather than reject, suppress or fear them, 3) the ability to engage in strategies that help reduce or modify the intensity of a certain emotion, 4) the ability to control impulsive behaviors when upset.
The above definition gives a pretty good idea of what Emotional Regulation looks like, but how can one begin to implement such skills?
I'm glad you asked.
Dr. Salters-Pedneault recommends at least three exercises (though there are plenty more). First, one can work on reducing his/her emotional vulnerability by getting plenty of rest, having a regular diet with plenty of exercise, and by practicing good self-care. One can also increase emotional maturity by practicing mindfulness. This exercise involves placing all of your attention on the on the present and experiencing each of your senses. Lastly, Dr. Salters-Pedneault recommends emotional acceptance, which actually goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness. After you have tuned into the moment, you may then begin to observe and accept (but not evaluate) your emotions.
I personally found this article very helpful and would encourage any reader the follow the link above to the web page, as the site is replete with information on a number of topics related to emotion regulation.