It’s all a lot, isn’t it? Life. The World. Need I truly say more? Enter a deep breath *here*.
Part of navigating life’s storms is through the practice of self-regulation.
WHAT IS SELF-REGULATION
Self-regulation is about being able to calm down in stressful moments and
In essence, it’s:
“pausing between emotion/feeling and action”
“thinking before speaking”
“thinking before acting”
WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT SELF-REGULATION?
- It prevents behaviour that could negatively affect your personal and professional life that may cause losses in relationships, money, jobs etc. The stress response clouds judgement and decision-making.
- Improves impulse control, time management, stress management, and self-confidence.
- Increases your ability to cope with change
- Builds resilience when there is little or no control over situations and increases the ability to surf the metaphorical waves of life, contributing to life contentment, health and acceptance.
- Improves listening/communication skills: solution-finding, conflict resolution, speaking feelings with more ease, listening with more empathy and thoughtfulness leading to a healthier cooperative exchanges with others.
- It allows more time and space to entertain new perspectives in alignment with your values and goals.
- And so forth.
Self-regulation allows for more space to pause, think, then react.
WHAT HAPPENS WITHOUT SELF-REGULATION:
- Lack of self-confidence,
- Lack of ability to handle stress/life,
- Feeling unhinged,
- Lack of self-trust to handle life’s ups and downs,
- Feelings of ‘not good-enough-ness’,
- Interpersonal/Relationship challenges,
- Lack of impulse control largely due to low or negative mental state. This can lead to poor finances, excess streaming and social media, unhealthy relationships with: food, smoking, drinking and risky behaviour that can multiply and continue.
HOW DO I GROW MY SELF-REGULATION CAPACITY?
Here are some tools and techniques to practice often to increase your Self-Regulating bandwidth and overall healing journey:
- Practice Self-Awareness: Here’s an article to get you going:
- Daily Mindfulness Practices (consider Dr. John Kabat-Zinn’s work)
Meditating even 5 minutes a day can have great effects
- Neuroscience-based Breathing techniques (overall, ensure your exhale is longer than your inhale and that it’s practiced for over 45 seconds). I’m a fan of the 4-7-8 and the 4-4-6-2 (Inhale through the nose for 4 seconds, Hold for 4 seconds, Exhale through the mouth for 6 seconds, Hold for 2 seconds)
- Cognitive Reframing: it’s the ability to shift your mindset to a different perspective. Seek support by a trained professional if possible. Here’s an article to get you going if interested:
- Inner Child/Parts work (Find a trauma-informed coach or therapist)
- Emotions: Learning and getting to know your emotions and their sensations in the body is invaluable information that can better support your needs/wants and create space to work towards that. Emotions are incredible messengers of healing.
- Grounding exercises throughout the day. Check out my blog for suggestions and links, here.
- Present moment self-check-ins (by slowing down – deliberately. Eg. when washing dishes, watering plants etc.)
- Journalling and/or Morning Pages by Julia Cameron (writing to clear one’s mind and gain clarity)
- Talk to yourself – record yourself on your phone or pretend you are talking to someone to unburden, express thoughts, feelings, emotions to process and gain clarity about what’s going on
- Take a drive (provided it’s relaxing)
- Self-Compassion practice
Other ideas include:
- Exercise: have numerous benefits that don’t require Olympic-level training. What is possible for you? Realistic? Enjoyable?
- Keep on Learning! Seek materials that support your journey
- Know your Values/Value System: Are you working towards your aspirations and desires through the lens of your current values? Revisit and remind yourself of your values often to ensure you are on track with you of your tomorrows.
- Encourage yourself! Notice when you make progress even if tiny in your eyes. It counts!
- Regarding difficult conflicts and if it feels safe for you, seek feedback
- Basic Needs (are they met?): Are you hungry? Thirsty? Need a nap?
Important: Select a few a day to practice. Feel into the ones that resonate that moment or day depending on how you feel. Don’t have much time? No problem! Set a timer for 5 minutes. Even that action yields results in your nervous system.
Keep in mind:
Self-regulation isn’t about resisting.
Resisting can put you in a state of tension, stress or even negativity.
A shame/guilt/pressure attitude will compromise self-regulation abilities as it activates a different part of the brain that can promote spiralling negatively. A compassionate lens allows space between it and you, moving away from the stress response and into the thinking part of the brain.
WHY DOES INVESTING IN SELF-REGULATION WORK?
Because it can lead to more opportunities to transcend immediate temptations (quick reactions, sabotage, arguments, addictive behaviours etc.) in the service of your long-term goals. (Such as sustaining a healthy long-term relationship, having more peaceful interactions at the office, accomplishing aspirations/goals, staying in your integrity/alignment/authenticity, increased confidence and ability to cope in life).
Knowing that you have the ability to calm and soothe yourself
when you feel stressed, anxious or even down,
averting the strength of an impulse to react, and
re-focusing when ‘life’ throws you curve balls,
Helps realign you to your values and life desires
And that, is a powerful strength to have in this world.
This work or any kind of healing or personal development work can be daunting and overwhelming so I invite you to speak to someone about it!
If you are looking for support around self-regulation or other areas of your life, I welcome you to book a free discovery call to see if we’d be a great fit!
Wishing you all time and space you can to self-regulate and fill your metaphoric cups!