Do you feel out of control when you experience emotions? Are you fearful of getting stuck in them? Or, perhaps you feel pretty neutral most of the time and wonder why others experience such intense emotions?
If so, you may benefit from learning emotional regulation skills. The ability to regulate emotions not only can help keep you in balance, but it is also leads to getting your needs met.
Emotions provide us information about our environment, help us to make decisions and guide us towards action to meet our needs. We need our emotions. We also need to know how to regulate emotions appropriate to the situation. When emotions feel too high, it can lead to unwanted consequences such as eating or drinking too much, avoiding people or places, or blurting out things you wish you hadn’t said, which can damage interpersonal relationships. When our emotions are too low, we may procrastinate, lack motivation, or feel numb or indifferent and stop pursuing important goals.
What is emotional regulation?
Emotional regulation refers to our ability to manage and respond to an emotional experience. We automatically use emotion regulation strategies every day, though some may be healthier than others. The ability to regulate emotions is a core component for healthy functioning.
Emotional regulation can be defined as the ability to identify, understand and accept emotional experiences; control impulsive behaviors when distressed; and flexibly manage emotional experiences as situationally appropriate (i.e., not flying off the handle at work!)
Low emotion regulation scores (emotional dysregulation) are associated with: addictions / substance use, eating disorders, ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and personality disorders. When emotions become persistent sources of distress or lead to self-destructive coping behaviors, it is time to take a step back and mindfully evaluate the manner in which you relate to your emotions.
For example, anxiety disorders are not simply a problem of too much anxiety; instead, one’s strategy and capacity to modulate one’s emotions is what contributes to the development of an anxiety disorder. Read more about self-soothing strategies for some initial tips on soothing difficult emotions.
Identifying and working on your emotional regulation skill is an important component to mental health. You may also use this quiz to track your progress in therapy.
Use the Emotional Regulation Quiz as Baseline
We encourage you to use this assessment as your baseline. The quiz will help you establish a baseline measurement of how much your difficult emotions are affecting you today. After working with a therapist, or completing some self-help work on your own, take the assessment again and compare. This will allow you to discover how far your personal journey has taken you. As you increase your skill in regulating your emotions, your overall score will decrease and you will feel less overwhelmed by your emotions. Once you become more aware of how you are currently relating to and managing your emotions, you have the freedom to make meaningful changes where needed. By learning new skills and coping strategies, you can open the door to a new way of thinking and feeling!
Take the Emotional Regulation Quiz