Emotional regulation systems
🌸 3 emotional regulation systems from the Compassion Focus Therapy (CFT) model by Paul Gilbert 🌸
↪️There are three particularly important emotional regulating systems that work with each other to help us to manage the ups and downs of life’s challenges by helping us to calm our emotional experiences. Each system is designed to do different things and also to work with the other systems so they remain in balance with each other.
💫Supposing something has upset us, what are the things we might do to help ourselves feel better? We could use the drive system to do something we want to achieve, such working, a pleasurable activity or going for a walk/run and this could help in the short term. On the other hand, activating the soothing system could help long term. Often, we find talking to other people can make us feel better because we feel supported, understood, and validated and this really does help us to feel better when we are upset. This is because the soothing system is calming down our threat-based emotions. Same as when we were babies and our caregivers soothe us.
🏁The drive system
▪️The purpose is to motivate us towards resources. It stimulates and directs our desires so we achieve things. It helps pursue our goals. It is known as the incentive & resource-seeking system.
▪️The feelings associated are achieving, pursuing, progressing, wanting. It is activating. It makes us feel driven, excited, vitality.
▪️The hormone released when the system gets activated is dopamine. It plays an important role in how we feel pleasure. It helps us strive, focus & find things interesting.
⚠️The threat system
▪️The purpose is to pick up on threats quickly. It activates us to flight or fight. This is the "fall back system", the easiest of all to feel & trigger as it has evolved as a protection system.
▪️The feelings associated are anxiety, anger, disgust, fear. These feelings alert our bodies urging us to take action against the threat. It produces a sympathetic response in our bodies (racing heart, shallow breathing, raise blood pressure, etc.)
▪️The hormones released when the system gets activated are cortisol & adrenaline.
🥰The soothing system
▪️The purpose is to help us regulate the other two systems, and experience states of contentedness. It helps to restore our balance. It helps soothing feelings of distress.
▪️The feeling associated is contentment. This is a form of being happy with the way things are, feeling safe, not striving or wanting; an inner peacefulness. This system is linked to affection, connection, kindness & compassion.
▪The hormones released when the system gets activated are oxytocin & endorphins.
It is important to balance activities from each system in order to improve our well-being and prevent feelings of anxiety and low mood.
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