How to Develop Self-Regulation Skills
When you are experiencing strong emotions, self-regulation
skills can help you control your feelings and think and act more clearly. Learn
how to improve your self-control.
What Is Self-Regulation?
Self-regulation is a type of self-control that allows you to
keep your emotions and behavior under control. Behavioral and emotional
self-regulation are the two primary types of self-regulation.
When emotions are high, behavioral self-regulation requires
self-discipline to act appropriately, whereas emotional self-regulation
strategies involve counterbalancing negative feelings with proactive, positive
activity. For example, if your heart rate rises and you feel intense emotions,
you might go for a walk to clear your mind or get some fresh air.
Learning to self-regulate is an important part of childhood
development, but adults can practice self-regulation to improve their mental
health. Self-regulation training can improve problem-solving abilities and
emotional intelligence, making it a useful tool in everyday life.
Developing Self-Regulation Skills
Self-regulation is an important aspect of child development.
Here are some examples of how parents and caregivers can model self-regulation:
Infants: When the infant becomes upset, parents and
caregivers can teach emotional development by reducing stimuli. To provide care
and encourage self-soothing, the parent may dim the lights and give the child a
comfort tool, such as a pacifier or stuffed animal.
Toddlers: When children are young and upset, they frequently
throw temper tantrums. By reframing their expectations, parents can help young
children refine their self-regulation. When parents provide defined structures
and predictable routines for their children, they develop self-regulation.
School-aged children: Older children with self-regulation
have clear expectations for causes and effects. For example, parents may reward
good behavior with toys; if a child wants their friend's toy, they must learn
to ask to play with it rather than stealing or hogging it.
Teenagers: Self-regulation becomes more complex during
adolescence. Teenagers must practice social skills in order to act
appropriately around others. Having strong role models also aids in the
development of self-esteem and the formation of healthy habits.
The Importance of Self-Regulation
Self-regulation is an essential skill. Some advantages of
doing so include:
A positive attitude: Everyone has ups and downs, and
self-regulation skills can help you turn negative thoughts into positive ones.
Knowing how to combat anxiety or depression through preferred activities (such
as exercise, phone calls to loved ones, cooking, and other activities) enables
you to positively deal with your negative emotions.
Anger management that works: Emotion regulation skills aid
in impulse control. Taking deep breaths or going for a walk can help you
anticipate or respond to a difficult situation better.
Improved goal definition: Self-regulation is a type of
mindfulness that makes it easier to set long-term goals and understand how your
mental health is required for success.
Strong social skills: Self-regulation fosters
self-awareness, which can help you navigate social situations more fluidly and
respond to the energy around you.
Lack of Self-Regulation
Self-regulation presents some difficulties. Tiredness,
illness, and other health issues can all interfere with self-regulation
practice. It may be more difficult to reflect on and regulate your emotions if
your job is too demanding or you are constantly stressed. Self-regulation is
similar to self-care, and prioritizing your mental health is critical for
maintaining a self-regulation practice.
Surrounding yourself with negative people or those who have
bad habits can cause you to lose control of your emotions and behaviors. In
contrast, healthy relationships can help with self-regulation. Being around
people who bring out the best in you and care about your well-being encourages
you to be your best self.
How to Practice Self-Regulation
As an adult, there are several ways to develop and practice
healthy emotional self-regulation. Try the following suggestions:
Regular exercise is essential. To clear your mind and reduce
stress, go for a walk, practice yoga, or engage in other physical activities.
Create healthy relationships. Be kind to yourself by
surrounding yourself with positive people who care about your well-being.
Maintain a journal. Writing down emotions can be a healthy
way to express them. If you struggle to articulate or express your emotions, try
keeping a journal to record your feelings.
Practice being vulnerable. Being open and honest with
yourself, as well as being vulnerable in front of others, can help you accept
See a therapist. Speaking with a mental health professional
can assist you in developing tools for practicing self-regulation and learning
how to apply those skills.
Talk about your issues. Exercise conflict resolution skills.
If you have a problem with how a co-worker, relative, partner, or friend handled
a situation, discuss it with them right away rather than letting it fester.