How to self-regulate your emotions

Picture this. You’re having a good day, just minding your business. Then someone comes a long and throws you a comment, gives you unsolicited advice, or says something that triggers you.

You now feel off balance. It could either go to the low side. What they said made you feel sad, unmotivated, and worthless. Or on the flip side, you could feel angry, irritated, enraged, and defensive.

You could either wallow in self loathing or go on a rant and talk about how bad people are. In the 1st case, you’ll probably emotionally eat until you feel better. In the 2nd case, you’ll probably feel a high after expressing your anger.

Or you could try to regulate your own emotions!

I know. This is hard for me too. In fact, I’ve never done that before. I often swing between depression and anxiety, blissful only when external factors don’t rock my boat. A minor storm can cause my boat to flip over and drown. But I’m working on myself.

I normally feel better after I vent, and I know blogging kind of counts as venting, but in this case, I’m trying to self regulate.

What is self regulation?

It’s the ability to calm your own storm without needing someone to be your anchor. You are your own anchor ⚓

But how?

Picture your emotions have a color. How do you feel right now?

If you feel frustrated, imagine the color yellow. If you feel angry, imagine the color red. The 1st step to regulating your emotions is labelling them.

The 2nd step is not blaming. As long as you tell yourself “he made me feel angry” or “she made me feel sad”, you are assuming you have no control over your emotions and your emotions are in everyone elses hands.

I know that the closer a person is to you or the higher they are in authority, the more their words have an effect on you. A troll comment from a stranger has less effect than a mean comment from a father or a teacher or a spouse.

Sometimes people belittle us in the name of giving us advice. Some people will insult you in the name of being honest, and while that is not okay and you should not tolerate it, you shouldn’t let it control you.

Now remember, I’m doing this for the 1st time ever, just like you, and since I started writing this ost, I’ve been interrupted about 100 times and I got angry at 1st because I assumed I was being interrupted on purpose but turns out my family just had normal demands and I was really focused on my blog so it frustrated me. But that’s ok. I’m redirecting myself now and recentering myself in order to finish this post. Then I need to give my son my phone and do dishes.

Back to feelings and colors. After you assign a color to your feeling and assume control over your own emotions, the next step is to redirect yourself to the green zone. The calm zone.

How do you do that?

Different activities help different people regulate their emotions. You don’t need to defend your opinion or react in any way. Sometimes you do have to respond, but only after you are calm and able to respond rationally.

Here are more ideas

For me, I will do the dishes now, go off my phone and then watch Young Sheldon. If I still feel off, I’ll play uno with my son.

How do you regulate your emotions?