We all have BIG feelings. The feelings can be anger, sadness, frustration, or worry to name a few. When we have really BIG feelings, we can find it hard to manage how we feel and how our body might react to those feelings. In this blog, you’ll find therapist tips on how to manage the BIG feelings.
When you feel mad, you feel anger and maybe your body feels hot and you might even feel like striking out using your hands or feet.
When you feel sad, you are thinking about the things that did not go the way you wanted, or someone you miss. Your body feels sadness too. You might cry, stay in bed or feel unmotivated to do anything.
You get the idea!
Feeling our emotions is okay but sometimes it’s hard to manage them when they get really big. This is where emotional dysregulation steps in.
What is Emotional Dysregulation?
Emotional Dysregulation is when you are unable to manage your BIG feelings. You might feel so angry that you actually throw things or hit someone. You might feel so sad that you cry all day and can’t do the things you normally love to do. When you feel so afraid and worried, you might think of every single bad thing that could happen, and that can leave you feeling like you can’t move; like you are frozen almost.
These are just some examples of emotional dysregulation that can happen to us when we aren’t able to manage our BIG feelings.
These moments can be very uncomfortable for you, and for those who care about you. The great news is… you can use self-regulation to manage these BIG feelings on your own!
What is Self-Regulation?
Self-regulation is your ability to manage the BIG feelings by using the skills and tools you already have to identify your feelings and then work through them in a more positive way.
Self-Regulation techniques can help you stop yourself from reacting in a way that might hurt you or others, you can also start to learn new skills to calm yourself down when you become upset.
I encourage you to take some time to think about and write down a list of all of the things that can be helpful for you in self-regulating your feelings and emotions. You can create your very own “toolbox” and pull ideas out of the toolbox when you need to.
Here is a quick guide on how this all works:
- Notice when you start becoming upset with BIG feelings
- Name the feeling & tell someone what the feeling is – if you are alone you can write it down
- Understand why the feeling came up; what was it that upset you?
- Practice a self-regulation technique (keep reading for some ideas), or several until you feel calm again
Examples of self-regulation techniques that you can use – you can also come up with your own list of things to keep in your toolbox!
- Deep breathing
- 15 jumping jacks
- Taking a walk or getting fresh air
- Shower or bath
- Listen to music
- Drawing or colouring
- Talking to someone you trust
- Taking a break and having alone time
- Splashing cold water on your face
- Having a very cold drink of water
- Counting backward from 20
- Dance it out!
When you are calm, it is a great idea to talk about what upset you. To reflect on the moment and find solutions that might prevent becoming upset about the situation if comes up again.
The above are just a few examples for you. You can choose anything that helps you feel calm.
I would love to hear your self-regulation tools! If you would like to share or would like more information on this please contact me!