Emotional Regulation Toolbox- Part 1 

Every day, we experience many emotions. They influence our behaviors and our thoughts, and guide our actions. They have different functions, such as motivation and communication. For example, fear can motivate us to run from a situation or hide from danger. Sadness can bring tears to our eyes, and we may bow our head. In a social situation, these expressions and physical changes can communicate to another person that we are sad (Harris, 2019 et Van Dijk, 2012).  

As human beings, it’s normal and necessary to have emotions. Some are more difficult than others, such as anxiety and anger, and it is normal to want to stop feeling them or even try to get rid of them. Because our emotions are necessary, it is not possible to get rid of them completely. We can, however, learn to regulate our emotions. Emotion regulation is the ability to understand, name, express, manage and tolerate our emotions.  

Emotion regulation is a skill that can be learned and developed. By learning to regulate our emotions, we can develop a better quality of life, feel like we can better manage and tolerate our emotions, improve our interpersonal relationships, and reduce the impact of difficult emotions on our well-being (Harris, 2019 et Van Dijk, 2012). Among other things, a mental health professional can help you better understand the physiological signs of your emotions and help you put your internal experiences into words. For example, an accelerated heartbeat, rapid breathing, and a feeling of “butterflies in the stomach” can indicate anxiety. A sensation of heat, tension in the chest and clenching of the jaw can indicate anger. You can then learn emotion regulation strategies to manage these physiological signs.  

Please see Part 2 of this blog for techniques and tools that you can use to develop and improve your emotional regulation.  

If you have difficulty regulating, identifying, and recognizing your emotions or you believe that your emotions can cause difficulties in your life, therapy can be a process that can help you develop emotional regulation skills. CFIR-CPRI therapists are available to support you in this process and can help you develop your understanding of the function of your emotions and how to manage them. You can contact us at admin@cfir.ca and a member of our team will be happy to help you.  

Alexie Carrière, M.Ed., R.P.(Qualifying) is a registered psychotherapist (qualifying) that offers therapy services in French and English to adults. She uses an integrative approach and has experience supporting individuals with different concerns, including emotion regulation, anxiety, sexual functioning, trauma, depression, self-esteem, and body image.