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How To Regulate Your Emotions

Written by: Monique M. Gomez, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Have you ever experienced a time when you couldn't control your emotions because of how upset you were? Of course, it happens to everyone because we have a stimulus-activated nervous system. This system creates patterned responses from childhood or life experiences. However, they are easy to break when you practice and get somewhat consistent with these three steps to regulate your emotions.

side angle shot of a woman sitting  on a pink couch

3 steps to regulate your emotions


1. Interoceptive Awareness

It all starts with our body to support our nervous system. Interoceptive awareness is the ability to identify, access, understand and respond appropriately to patterns of signals. We all have this ability, it's noticing the hunger pain in your stomach. When there is an argument or upset it could be your heart racing, holding your breath, clenching your jaw or fists. Becoming aware of these patterns helps you pause and go to the second step.


2. Identifying the feelings

This could be difficult if you have an anxious brain that wants to explain the who, why, how you feel, but that is not this step. Identifying is only that, not explaining your feelings. An example is, “I feel angry, I feel frustrated, I feel alone, I feel worried” This helps support your separation from the event and feelings which are temporary. When I first began this process I had to encourage myself to move on to step three. I love to sit in the yuck, that is why I am who I am but encouraging yourself that step three will literally get immediate comfort, ease and support for your body is crucial.


3. The key is body regulation

There are many ways to approach body regulation from breath, to movement and eventually mindset work. I'll list two breath exercises. It's important to note that not all or the same skill will work each time, you must expand your “toolbox” as therapists or mental health counselors say to truly work with your nervous system for growth.


Connect to the Breath

Breathe work is the easiest way to begin a tool to support regulating your emotions. The most common and helpful for many people is the long exhale, where you inhale through your nose for a count of 4-6 and exhale out through your mouth for a 7-10 count. The length of the exhale is most important, it must be longer than the inhale in order for the body to tell the brain that it is safe.


A second breath technique that is very common is used on clients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other Trauma related Diagnoses, called Box Breathing. Box Breathing involves inhaling for 4 counts, holding the breath for a 4 counts, exhaling for 4 counts, and holding again 4 counts. Sometimes in the beginning of practicing it is best to use your fingers to count or create a box in the air during the Box Breathing practice.


Connection to the Body

During high-stress times body regulation techniques can be one of the best to support feelings being “released”. Feelings can be released through breath, however I’ve found the combination to be most successful. Havening technique is highly recognized as a therapeutic touch technique involving strokes of hands from the shoulder joint down the arm at a comfortable frequency, as well as other areas on the body including the head, face and palms of the hands. Your arms are crossed over your chest for the opposite hands to stroke from shoulder down to elbow or further. This technique brings the brain into theta wavelengths which create deep rest sensations and organs functioning optimally.


Our Emotional Storage

Although emotions are created in the brain, they are stored in the body. Without these three steps to regulate our emotions, they would remain stuck and create havoc. These steps appear simple but require awareness and identification of feelings which for some may be difficult without support from a third party. There are resources out there. This article supports all the ways you can support yourself now and reduce upset and stress Here is also a helpful article on defining regulation, emotions and extra tips and a personal story on how seeking help can improve your wellness.


You can book a free consultation to build skills or join my upcoming Building Regulation Skills Group!


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Monique M. Gomez, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Monique Gomez is an expert in trauma, generational patterns and the body-mind connection. Since the death of her father from an overdose at a young age, she has had an interest in the human experience and psychology. Which led her down the path of bodywork and a career history of mental health counseling and grief support work. She describes herself as an advocate for discussing the hard parts of life. She helps others who have experienced stress or trauma work with their nervous system for growth. Her Building Resilience Coaching Program incorporates the physical and energetic body to work with the nervous system towards healing.

 

Photo Credits:

  • Brandi Marie Photography, AZ, USA

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