Learning How to Regulate Your Emotions: A Key to Life

How do you deal with overwhelming or 'hot' emotions?
What are "hot" emotions? - love, joy, jealousy, anger, excitement, disappointment, confusion, overwhelmed? These are just a few that quickly come to mind.

Do you tend to overdo it at times (like me) like starting a new women's group? May be you sign up for book clubs, a new workout class, or a marathon before you even ran a mile yet? Or do you go in the escape mode: decide you want to move across country, or possibly take a month off in the mountains by yourself? How about even isolating yourself via Netflix binge watching, or increase wine intake during dinner?

If some of the above sounds familiar, you are NOT alone!

We all have different ways of dealing with our 'overwhelming' emotions. The first BIG step is acknowledging we are actually having these kinds of emotions. If we avoid them, they will persist - but only in ways we don't want them too; then the avoidance tends to lead to bigger emotions such as anxiety or anger. Yep, it's that vicious cycle we so easily get caught up in before we even know what happened!

Practicing mindfulness, being aware right now in the present moment of what you are feeling, thinking, doing WITHOUT judgment, is a place to start.

Most people, myself included, don't even slow down long enough to touch base with their true feelings and thoughts. We just keep busy - hence the avoidance. Once you've acknowledged your emotions (or practiced mindfulness).. there are ways to regulate them.

5 Ways to Regulate HOT Emotions

#1. When you've noticed you are feeling intensity …
Wait a day or so before making big decisions. Don't make a life choice during "hot" emotions. Think of them like waves… and ride the wave out. The wave always goes back out to sea. Yes, some feel like tidal waves. But keep riding the wave.

What happens when you try to fight a wave in the ocean? You eat sand.
What happens if you were to ride the wave out? You will come back to the shore.

#2 Consider the sleep vs. no sleep factor
Now, this could be because I am coming off of the first year of my youngest son turning 1 and as most mom's know... it is a sleep deprived year for sure.

But who am I kidding? My 5 year old still wakes us up randomly with a bad dream or sickness so it is hard for any parent to get some sleep. Either way, remember sleep deprivation is used as torture in times of war, so be nice to yourself if you are sleep deprived. You aren't going to be 100%. Lower the bar. Take a breath and ride the emotions out - especially when you are tired.

#3. Wait 2 times
If you feel offended or want to confront someone or write them out of your life, you may want to check in with yourself first. That way if you are having a bad day or dealing with your own challenges, you don't want to go off on a friend when it could be your problem . However, if it continues to comes up, you may be noticing a pattern and need to address it.

#4 Hormones and blood sugar
Increase awareness of how your physical body affects your emotional body. Get your hormones checked out if you are a woman over age 35. (There is a great book by Dr. Sara Gottfried - The Hormone Cure) Eating less sugar and more protein, fruits and vegetables can and will affect our emotions.

#5 Find a mindfulness app
Use it regularly. There are many tools we have at our fingertips to help us throughout the day and during the times when our emotions peak. Here are a few I use and like: Calm or Insight Timer. Maybe ask a friend if they have one they love or do a Google search.

With the stress of life, work, family, todo lists, etc. - we are bombarded and can easily get overwhelmed. Remember to stop - or at least slow down - take several deep breaths, close your eyes and focus on the good blessings in your life.

If you or someone you know has been struggling with some challenges and would like to reach out for help, call our office today to schedule a first time appointment. 720-370-3010