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?
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.
Emotion 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. Low emotion regulation scores are associated with: addictions / substance use, eating disorders, ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and personality disorders. 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 emotion regulation skill is an important component to mental health. You may also use this quiz to track your progress in therapy.
Take the Emotion Regulation Quiz