Emotional Regulation: This Is How We Tame Our Mood

One of the main characteristics of emotions is that they began to exist long before reason. All vertebrate animals express a repertoire of actions that can be identified with different moods whether or not they have a developed reasoning capacity, and the same thing happens with our ancestors, the first hominids.

This is what makes great passions and emotions have power over rationalizations. Once they begin to spread through our body, it is impossible to act the same as if they were not there.

However, that does not mean that we are not able to influence our moods in any way. In this article we will see What is emotional regulation and how can we benefit from it? if we develop it in an appropriate way.

What is emotional regulation?

A first definition of the concept of emotional regulation can be the following: our ability to influence the intensity, type and temporality of one’s own emotions. That is, when we do our part to mitigate or intensify an emotion in terms of duration and intensity, or intentionally cause it to lead to another, we are using emotional regulation.

In most cases, it is understood that emotional regulation is focused on specific objectives, such as maintaining composure in a public appearance or not becoming discouraged when experiencing difficulties in an exercise. That is why it is a skill related to Emotional Intelligence, a potential often ignored.

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The importance of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is a set of skills that have to do with the ability to adapt our thoughts and actions to the circumstances we live in so that this fit influences our emotional state. After all, if our emotions have an effect on the results we obtain in various facets of our lives, We are interested in being able to regulate them according to our interests.

On the other hand, Emotional Intelligence is a phenomenon studied relatively recently, given that it moves away from our traditional conception of what intelligence is. However, it is known that the mental processes related to emotional regulation are relatively independent from those responsible for carrying out cognitive tasks associated with “normal” intelligence.

Thus, those people who They don’t just try to find answers through reason But they also learn to modulate their emotional state, they have a much broader, richer and more effective repertoire of options to reach their goals.

Some competencies linked to emotional regulation

These are skills that are associated with emotional regulation, although none of them explains this phenomenon separately.

1. Ability to concentrate on the here and now

Much of the effectiveness of emotional regulation consists of perform correct management of attention focus. When experiencing emotions, it is very common for us to get carried away by feelings that refer to past moments, or even to accept the future perspective that is presented to us at that moment.

For example, when faced with an offensive comment directed towards us, we may think that we will never be socially accepted, or that we remember other past humiliations.

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That is why it is important to be able to distance ourselves a little from what is happening and analyze the present based on what happens in that context.

2. Ability to recognize each emotion and its implications

Another of the competencies linked to emotional regulation has to do with the ability we show when it comes to discriminating between emotions. This way it is easier to predict What effects do these states have on the actions we are going to take? and what we can expect from our behavior.

3. Tolerance for ambiguity

No matter how good we are at differentiating between emotions, it is impossible to have a complete understanding of what is going on in our minds. That is why uncertainty management It is as important as the management of the emotions on which it is based.

4. Mental agility

Emotional regulation is still a skill that always applies to what is happening. That is why we must find what aspects of the context can be used to intervene on our emotions.

The simplest example is the possibility of using an elastic ball to exercise the muscles of the arm, or using a recording of environmental sounds to relax and escape for a moment. In fact, many of the most effective strategies for influencing emotions do not have to do with tasks based on introspection, but rather with interaction with the environment.

5. Skill in seeking a positive reading of situations

Every event offers several interpretations, and many of them also have the peculiarity that they are reasonable, by adjusting well to reality.

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Taking into account that there is never a single one of these readings whose superiority over the others is evident, we have a margin of maneuver to base our experiences on those explanations that best fit our experiences and what we know about life.

6. Resilience

Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity, and that is why it is closely linked to emotional regulation. Be clear that behind emotional regulation there is the objective of enjoying a better quality of life and greater exposure to happiness leads us to improve ourselves.