How to learn valuable life skills: self-regulation

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Most people don’t think much about self-regulation. However, it is a powerful ability and one of the most important life skills you can learn.

Self-regulation can help you get through some of the most difficult days or moments in your life and help you manage feelings of pain, anger, sadness, or grief. It can make you more stable as a person. In fact, a 2019 study (Sar and Sevda et al.) Showed that shy women who engage in targeted suicide were able to meet their emotional needs.

For many, self-regulation comes naturally because they learned it organically from their parents. This happens simply and automatically when parents calm their children.

Listen carefully to the long story about an abusive or unjust incident that happened to their child that day; by sitting with calm and quiet sympathy through the ceremony of their little girl; lying next to their child to help him fall asleep after a nightmare; smoothing the forehead of the scattered child. These are ways in which emotionally present parents teach their children self-regulation.

Children who receive enough self-regulation from their parents will grow up in a lifetime. They should never think about it. But this is not usually the case for those who have been raised by emotionally neglected parents.

Why Parents Cannot Teach Self-Regulation

There are many different types of parents who are emotionally neglected. They may be so selfish that they are unaware of their children’s emotional needs, enough to satisfy them. They can do all they can to support the family financially so that they do not become too tired or not present enough to respond emotionally to their children. Or, they can be like wonderful parents in every way, providing their children with everything they need, except for one important and powerful thing: emotional awareness and support.

Some parents are not only unaware of their children’s feelings but also of their feelings. They did not know how to give it to their children when they grew up.

In some ways, it doesn’t matter why your parents fail. The important thing is that they failed you. Now, as an adult, you can provide it for yourself.

The good news

Fortunately, self-regulation is not difficult or difficult to learn. In fact, for most people, it’s basically a process of self-awareness, trying different ideas, and observing the outcome. As you go through the process of self-regulation, an added benefit is that you get to know yourself better on an emotional level.

Because each person is unique, things that will be comforting to you will be unique to you.

4 Step to learn self-regulation

  1. Make a list of possible activities that you think can be relaxing for you. You will prepare this initial group of possible strategies to try when you need them.
  2. Observe intense feelings of anger, hurt, sadness, or any other emotion that is too quick or painful to manage. These are opportunities to test your list.
  3. Try different strategies at different times, as different strategies can work in different situations and different emotions. Try one strategy and if it doesn’t work, try the other.
  4. If one of your strategies is not good, mark it. Add new ones when they arrive to you.

It can be helpful to go back to your childhood. What comforted you as a child? How early in your adult life? Maybe you’ve already found and used some things that work for you.

Make sure every strategy you add to your list is healthy. Avoid eating, drinking, drinking, or anything else. Also, keep in mind that we are not completely immune to emotions. Prevention only makes the feeling stronger. We try to calm the feeling down enough that you can be patient and think about how you feel and why this overall power is diminishing it now and forever.

Below are some examples of healthy self-help strategies that have been identified and used effectively by others. Go through this list and remove those that clearly don’t work for you. Then think about your personal ideas to add.

Keep a list, and use it when needed.

Examples of self-regulation

  • write about what you feel
  • take a hot bath or shower
  • playing a musical instrument
  • listen to music; this may require a special song
  • polish your car
  • to exercise
  • something creative or healthy to cook
  • Solve a quiz or crossword puzzle
  • hug your dog
  • play with the child
  • take a walk
  • lying on the grass, watching the clouds or counting the stars
  • clean your house or car
  • call a friend
  • go to the movies
  • sit quietly and look out the window
  • to meditate

2 Universal self-regulation

1. Your conversation: Self-expression is incredibly powerful and versatile. You can do it anywhere, anytime. Talk to yourself in your head about what you are feeling or why. Remind yourself of simple and honest truths that will give you balance and perspective. The possibilities are endless and unique for you:

“It’s just a feeling and the feelings don’t last forever.”

“Everyone makes mistakes”

“You try your best”

“Just sit there and it will pass”

“I will learn a lesson from this. So I’ll leave it behind. “

2. Crying: One study, (Sharman, et al., 2020) found that subjects ’physiological responses to stress before and after crying were identified and that crying helps you maintain biological homeostasis and regulate your heart rate when you are upset.

No one can escape strong emotions. All your life you need the ability to calm yourself down. If you grew up in an emotionally neglected family, you can learn to do so right now. Cry, walk, sing, talk to yourself. Save your list and change it over time. This powerful skill will save you from difficult times and make you more resilient and confident.

© John Webb, Ph.D.

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