Everyone experiences challenges when it comes to emotional regulation from time to time. Maybe you lost your patience with your child, or raised your voice at a coworker. When you’re under stress, it’s not always easy to keep your cool and respond the way you want.

Fortunately, emotional regulation is a skill that can be practiced. The good news is that you already practice emotional regulation on a daily basis without even realizing it. Whether you chose to leave a hurtful sentiment unsaid or took a moment to compose your thoughts before writing a work email, you emotionally regulated today.

On the other hand, you may have had a moment when you struggled to control your impulses. That’s okay — this can help you learn to control your emotions better. Here are some tips for improving your emotional regulation so you can be deliberate in how you respond to life’s stressors.

Vent

Emotional regulation is not simply bottling up how you feel. In fact, this backfires, as feeling misunderstood only serves to make you feel more stressed. Ask for support from your inner circle when something comes up that frustrates you. Venting can be a healthy way to ease your stress and help you feel more connected to others rather than isolating yourself. By letting out your anger with people you can trust, it’s easier to respond in a more level-headed way.

Prioritize Self-Care

Are you taking care of yourself? It’s a lot more difficult to respond in a rational way if your basic needs aren’t being met. There are many reasons why you should get enough sleep, eat nutritious foods, and exercise, and one of them is that it makes it much easier to regulate your emotions. When your body feels good, your mind will follow.

Set Realistic Expectations

A lot of frustration in life comes from our expectations not being met. Take some time to think about someone who regularly gets on your nerves — what are your expectations for this person? Are they truly realistic, given their track record? Adjusting what you expect from someone can do a lot to ease your stress levels. For example, if you are always getting mad at your partner for forgetting to run the dishwasher, accept that they may just not be able to meet that expectation, and assess how important that really is to you. The fewer unrealistic expectations you have, the less sources of stress you have.

Journal

Journaling can be a powerful tool for releasing your emotions. Whereas venting to your friends has a certain shelf life (no one wants to ONLY hear about your frustrations), you can express yourself as much as you want in a journal. You may benefit from a regular journaling practice; try taking five minutes at the end of the day to write about how you’re feeling.

Consider Therapy

If you struggle to regulate your emotions, you may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy in Palatine. A therapist may help you develop the skills necessary to regulate your emotions and be more at peace. Contact us today if you’re looking for counseling services in Palatine.