NYC Psychotherapist Blog

power by WikipediaMindmap

Monday, November 7, 2022

Developing Skills to Manage Your Emotions

In my last article, How to Manage Your Emotions Without Suppressing Them, I described the difference between managing emotions (also known as emotional regulation) and suppressing emotions.  The current article discusses skills that can help you to manage your emotions.  

Developing Skills to Manage Your Emotions

Developing Skills to Manage Your Emotions
As I mentioned in my prior article, if you never learned how to regulate your emotions, you can learn emotional regulation skills with practice and patience.

The following skills can help you to self regulate your emotions:
  • Practice Pausing and Taking a Breath: Emotions can come up in a fraction of a second. You don't choose your emotions, but you can learn to choose how you respond to them.  Practice taking a pause and taking a breath before you react.  This will give you time to consider how to respond instead of react (see my article: Learning to Relax: Square Breathing).

Developing Skills to Manage Your Emotions

  • Practice Noticing What You're Feeling in Your Body: Emotions occur in the body.  Even when you can't identify what emotions you're experiencing at first, you can notice what's happening in your body: 
    • Is your jaw tight? Are your hands clinched? 
      • This could mean you're feeling angry. 
    • Do you feel a tightness and a welling up in your throat? 
      • Maybe you're feeling sad.
  • Practice Staying With the Sensations in Your Body and See If You Can Identify Your Emotions:  If you slow down, be patient and stay with the physical sensations in your body, you can identify the emotions you're experiencing with practice.  This often takes time if you tend to be unaware of what emotions you're feeling (see my article: The Mind-Body Connection: The Body Offers a Window Into the Unconscious Mind).
  • Acknowledge Your Emotions: Whatever emotions you're experiencing, acknowledge them. By acknowledging them, it doesn't mean you like them or you want to feel this way. It just means that you are aware that this is what you're feeling in the moment (see my article: Learning to Experience Your Emotions).
  • Make a Choice About How to Respond: Unlike reacting to emotions without thinking, when you respond, you're actively choosing what you want to do.  This might not happen immediately, especially if the emotions are strong.  You might need to pause and take several breaths until you feel calm enough to respond.  So, you might choose to wait until you're calmer before you respond (see my article: Responding Instead of Reacting).  

Next Article:
In my next article, I'll discuss how Experiential Therapy can help you to manage your emotions.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples, and I have helped many clients to learn emotional regulation skills (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?)

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.