Daily events often remind us of past moments, conversations we had and people we shared them with. Some of these memories are emotional, and even make us stop for a second and linger. Sometimes these thoughts interfere with what we are currently doing, or influence the way we feel in another experience. It is important to be able to acknowledge these emotions, pay attention to their intensity, and let them go when no longer wanted. Practicing this complex process is helpful, enhancing our emotion regulation skills.
So you’re going about your daily activities and then..boom! You get a memory that’s been triggered. These memories might get you to pause for a moment, or even linger on a train of thought. This type of situation can happen often with many of us, and some memories are quite emotional.
It’s important to consider when these thoughts interrupt and interfere with what you’re currently doing because of focusing on the emotion. An emotion conjured up by a past event can be so strong that it can influence what you’re currently doing and how you feel about it.
This is when emotion regulation comes into play.
Professor of Psychology at Stanford University – James J Gross – describes emotion regulation in his 1998 article “The Emerging Field of Emotion Regulation: An Integrative Review”:
“Emotional regulation refers to the process by which individuals influence which emotions they have, when they have them, and how they experience and express their feelings. Emotional regulation can be automatic or controlled, conscious or unconscious, and may have effects at one or more points in the emotion producing process.”
How Emotion Regulation is Defined
The cognitive domain of emotion regulation is defined as follows by the APA Dictionary of Psychology:
“The ability of an individual to modulate an emotion or set of emotions. Explicit emotion regulation requires conscious monitoring, using techniques such as learning to construe situations differently in order to manage them better, changing the target of an emotion (e.g., anger) in a way likely to produce a more positive outcome, and recognizing how different behaviors can be used in the service of a given emotional state. Implicit emotion regulation operates without deliberate monitoring; it modulates the intensity or duration of an emotional response without the need for awareness. Emotion regulation typically increases across the lifespan. Also called emotional regulation.”
You can view the original source here.
How to Improve Your Emotion Regulation
Cognishape Brain Training has specific tasks that can help you to improve your emotion regulation. Here’s an example from one of these tasks:
“Think of something that can make you feel better when you are sad.
Try thinking why this specific thing makes you feel better.”
This task works on semantic memory, reasoning, self-compassion (which is part of emotion regulation), and episodic memory