Therapy Thoughts: Emotional Regulation

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Examples of Triggers and Coping Skills:

  • Clothes Feel Tight —> Put on loose fitting clothing and remind yourself you’re more than a body

  • Work Deadline Looming —> Take 5 slow deep breaths and remind yourself who the freak you are.

  • Diet Talk —> Set a boundary that works for you and remind yourself you’re not responsible for other people’s thoughts, feelings or behaviors.

  • Can’t Sleep —> Do an anxiety guided meditation and remind yourself sleep comes and goes and you will be fine tomorrow.

  • Conflict with Partner —> Take a time-out and remind yourself to use “I Statements” and take responsibility for your part.

Therapy Thoughts: Emotional Regulation

People unconsciously use emotion regulation strategies to cope with difficult situations many times throughout each day.

Most of us use a variety of emotion regulation strategies and are able to apply them to different situations in order to adapt to the demands of our environment. Some of these are adaptive and helpful for mental health, some are not.

Healthy, adaptive coping strategies, such as the ideas listed in the graphic, do not cause harm. They can help to diffuse strong emotions often allowing for a greater understanding of what led to the emotional experience & this greater resilience!

Maladaptive & defeating strategies are those that may leave lasting damage or lead us to avoid dealing with situations that will inevitably require a head on solution. Self-injury, numbing using alcohol, drugs, procrastination, bingeing, restricting, over exercising, or physically acting out are examples. They are typically seen as “avoidance”.

There is no one-size-fits all strategy to managing difficult thoughts and emotions. What works for one person in a particular situation, may not work for someone else. The important point is that we all must learn what will work for each of us INDIVIDUALLY.

Therapy and tacos for all,

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