I was recently reading an article that discussed 27 different emotions that we experience as humans.
Wow this is quite a list. Emotions are complex and many times they can be overwhelming. Finding a balance between being rational and emotional at the same time when we make decisions in our life can be difficult. Other times, we experience situations in life and have an emotion because of the situation; such as everyday events, job loss, divorce, marriage, death, birth of a child, trauma, natural disasters the list goes on and on.
I know this past week I have had many emotions in regards to COVID19, my family’s health, school closing, homeschooling my child, staying at home, working from home, having 3 kids at home to entertain, not knowing when life will return to “normal.” It can be difficult to regulate these emotions at times. Emotional regulation is a skill that we all could use a little work on. When we learn to have healthy emotional regulation, it can also be an example for our children or others around us.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) gives us some ways to improve on our emotional regulation skills.
Opposite action is an idea derived from dialectical behavior therapy. We experience an event, have an emotion, then have an action. For example, we get angry then we yell, we get sad then we may isolate ourselves and cry. The idea behind opposite action is exactly that, doing the opposite behavior then we normally would. So instead of yelling when you get angry, try talking calmly. When you are sad and feel like isolating yourself, reach out to someone.
Another emotional regulation skill is checking the facts in regards to your emotions. Ask yourself the following questions.
Paying attention to positive events is another skill to help manage our emotions. At this time, you may be asking how can I pay attention to any positive events right now, I just lost my job, the world is in a pandemic, my family is struggling financially, etc. Positivity over time adds up and in time can increase your overall happiness.
Practice this new way of reacting by doing a small positive activity everyday while making a point to acknowledge the good parts (even if things aren’t perfect) Don’t let minor problems ruin the moment.
I am a counselor at Lighthouse Counseling at the beautiful downtown Waconia location. I enjoy working with children ages 6 and up, teens, college students, adults, couples, families and seniors. I focus on using a variety of strategies, based upon what may work best with each individual personality and situation. If you are interested in establishing a supportive, trusting and open relationship, then we may be a good fit and I would love to hear from you.