I’ve been writing about the eight skills involved in understanding resilience, inner strength, and mental toughness. Our emotions play a bigger part in this than you may have imagined, so it makes sense to enhance your emotional regulation skills to be the best “you” that you can be.
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Let’s explore Skill #2 – Enhance Your Emotional Regulation Skills So You Are in Control
You have the freedom to choose your reactions. Your emotions and thoughts are not facts that you need to act on. You can reframe any situation in order to see it from a positive perspective. Look at the situation in a new way and avoid mind-reading or attempts at predicting the future.
Practice mindfulness skills by doing something that directs your attention to the present moment.
Increase positive experiences by doing things you enjoy and making happy memories.
There isn’t very much that we have direct control over in our lives. For example, we cannot control other people, the weather, and traffic. Though it may seem difficult, we can control our reactions to the many things we have no control over.
If you feel like you have no control over your reactions and emotions, have no fear. There are specific things you can begin doing that will improve your ability to mindfully walk through your feelings in a productive way.
Having the ability to regulate emotions means responding to all levels of emotional situations in a joyous and creative way that helps you rather than hurts you. The development of this skill will lead to more resilience by providing a way to feel emotions without letting them control your behavior.
The inability to regulate emotions leads to insecure relationships and shame because it doesn’t directly address the core emotions. Working on emotion regulation will help you identify emotions and react to situations in a reasonable way. It will help you address what is causing your suffering without engulfing you in negativity.
Reframe the Situation
There are a number of things you can do to strengthen your ability to regulate your emotions. A great way to begin this practice is by implementing a concept called “cognitive reappraisal.” This involves changing your perspective on a negative situation into a positive one.
It’s easy to assume that the worst thing possible is going to happen. We tell ourselves stories about the semantics of emails, the odd looks we get, and what the future holds for us. It’s easy to wonder what the next unfortunate thing will be.
This habit creates unnecessary suffering and frequently leads to further negative emotions rather than good ones. It’s impossible to mind-read and we cannot tell the future. By attempting to do so, more frustration comes and it’s difficult to handle. Instead, look at the situation objectively to consider other scenarios.
For example, imagine you’re having dinner with your family, and someone gives you a look that seems frustrated or annoyed. Immediately, your mind may start racing to the possible things that could be wrong. You play through everything you’ve ever said or done that could have caused this person to look at you that way.
If you believe these negative things so much, you’ll noticed heightened negative emotions and a poor attitude. Thoughts begin to flood, and your behavior may be influenced.
Instead of assuming anything about what might have caused this situation, you can pause to take a step back and re-reframe your perspective.
Rather than having the thought, “They are mad at me for no reason,” you could re-frame that idea and consider the thought, “They might be having an off night, or that look was not intentional.” By thinking of these things differently, you’ll feel your anxiety lessen and your emotions will not turn into something too powerful to keep track of.
When you find that you’re feeling strong emotions, you don’t have to push them down and tell them not to exist.
Allow Negative Emotions
It’s important to understand that all emotions are valid. If you tell yourself that there are emotions you’re not allowed to feel, those emotions won’t go away. Instead, they’ll make their way into the ways you speak to yourself, behave, and regulate emotions in the future.
If you can practice accepting your emotions, you’ll notice that it’s easier to feel them. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you have to be pleased with your emotions. It doesn’t mean that you have to be at peace with the current situation. Accepting your emotions simply means that you’re acknowledging the truth of what you feel.
Rather than trying to push down your emotions, it helps if you can label them instead. When you can label what you’re feeling as an emotion, you can say to yourself, “Right now I am feeling anger,” and you’ll notice a new separateness begin to form where the emotion doesn’t feel so much like it’s controlling you.
It isn’t always easy to acknowledge your emotions and not do anything in reaction to them. One way to develop this skill further is by practicing mindfulness skills.
Mindfulness encourages non-judgmental awareness and will help you sit with your feelings rather than react to them.
Mindfulness helps to tether us to the present moment. These skills build resilience and they enhance your quality of life. Doing these things daily helps strengthen your brain function and reminds you of good coping skills in the future.
Increase Positive Emotions
Whether you’re in a time of distress or a time of peacefulness, it’s important to have positive experiences. Sometimes we get lost in the hustle and bustle of life and we forget to have fun on purpose. By doing things to have a good time, you’re setting yourself up for success in the future.
Having positive memories helps give hope when times are difficult.
If you’re struggling, try doing something you’ve previously enjoyed. Give yourself permission to have a nice time, even if things feel like they’re falling apart around you.
You can increase positive emotions by doing things that you enjoy. You can watch your favorite stand-up comedian, go on a hike in the woods, or enjoy a cooking class. If you can’t think of anything you like, start by going on a walk or taking a shower and being mindful while doing so.
Knowing how to regulate your emotions is a powerful tool for resilience. This skill offers the ability to sit with emotions and move on from them without making impulsive decisions.
When you’re going through a stressful period of life, it can feel like everything is out of control. However, you can control your reactions.
In case you’ve found this post and need a refresher on the 8 skills you need to live your life with inner strength and mental toughness, here they are:
- Develop your understanding of resilience and mental toughness
- Enhance your emotional regulation skills so you are in control
- Take full responsibility for your situation to grow exponentially
- Build a solid and supportive community of like-minded individuals
- Practice gratitude and forgiveness for yourself and others in your life
- Strengthen your relationship with yourself with a morning routine
- Move your body throughout each day to keep blood flowing to your brain
- Challenge yourself regularly with new skills and projects
If the skill listed above is bolded you may click on the link to read that related post. If you would like to receive an 8 Day E-Course on this topic of “Resilience, Inner Strength, and Mental Toughness” please reply to any of my email messages and I will personally send it to you.
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I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship and “inner game” thinking please check out my training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.