Learning the process of Self-Regulation can help you cope and manage feelings of extreme stress and dysregulation.
Our ability to self-regulate as an adult has roots in our development during childhood. How our caregivers responded when we were stressed marked a learned conditioning that we carry with us to adulthood. Our childhood is where the subconscious mind is formed. It is when we learn how to process emotions and what relationships with others look like.
Self-regulation can be described as the ability to direct our own thoughts, emotions and behaviours towards a goal. Gaining control instead of being reactive.
Self- regulation involved taking a pause between a feeling and an action.
What are some basic exercises that we can start using to learn the process of self-regulation:
Exercises to Self-Regulate
👁️Practice conscious awareness
🌬️Practice deep belly breathing- activates parasympathetic nervous system (calming)
📝Journal the feelings that come up- name them- put them out – do not give them attention, just write them down and leave it there.
🧘♀️Notice your body- what sensations do you feel in your body?
🤔What do you do when you have a problem?
Usually you try to find a solution ✔️
But what happens when the solution is part of the problem? 😱
This is known as a ⭕VICIOUS CYCLE
In the world of human emotions, vicious cycles are very common.
🔎 One example could be when you are afraid of rejection and so you avoid social situations where possible. this will make you feel even more rejected which is the very thing you fear!
🔎Another example could be when you experience tension at home with your partner and you avoid the conflict by staying longer hours at work, feeling even more dissatisfied with the relationship and increasing the tension.
These attempts to control how we feel are called CONTROL STRATEGIES.
They can be divided in fight / flight strategies, involving fighting and trying to dominate unwanted thoughts/feelings or running away/ hiding from them.
3.Zoning out/ Numbing
✔️It's okay to use them when:
1. It's only in moderation
2. It's only in situations where they can work
3. Using them doesn't stop you from doing the things you value
❌ It can become problematic when
1. You use them excessively
2. You use them in situations where they can’t work
3. Using them stops you from doing the things you truly value
🔎 An example of this could be if you are worried about upcoming exams, you may try to distract yourself from the anxiety by watching some TV. This is fine if you’re only doing it every now and then, but if you do it too much, you will spend all your evenings watching TV and you won’t get any studying done. This, in turn, will create more anxiety as your studies fall further behind. The distraction strategy wont’ work in the long run and will prevent you from achieving something you truly value.
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