One of the main characteristics of emotions is that they began to exist long before reason. All vertebrate animals express a repertoire of actions which they can be identified with different moodsWhether or not they have a developed reasoning ability, and the same goes for our ancestors, the first hominids.
This is what makes great passions and emotions have power over rationalizations. Once they start to spread throughout our body, it is not possible to act as if they are not there.
However, this does not mean that we cannot influence our moods in any way. In this article we will see what is emotional regulation and how can we benefit from it if we develop it appropriately.
What is emotional regulation?
A first definition of the concept of emotional regulation can be as follows: our ability to influence the intensity, type and timing of their emotions. In other words, when we do our part to dampen or intensify one emotion in terms of duration and intensity, or cause it to cause another intentionally, we are using emotional regulation.
In most cases, it is understood that emotional regulation focuses on specific goals, such as maintaining good manners during a public appearance or not becoming discouraged when encountering difficulty in an exercise. This is why it is a skill linked to emotional intelligence, a potential that is often overlooked.
The importance of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that have to do with the ability to adapt our thoughts and actions to the circumstances in which we live so that this adjustment influences our emotional state. After all, if our emotions have an effect on the results we get in various facets of our lives, we want to be able to regulate them according to our interests.
On the other hand, emotional intelligence is a relatively recently studied phenomenon, as it departs from our traditional conception of what intelligence is. However, mental processes related to emotional regulation are known to be relatively independent of those responsible for performing cognitive tasks associated with “normal” intelligence.
So these people who they don’t just try to search for answers by reason but they also learn to modulate their emotional state and have a much wider, richer and more effective repertoire of options to achieve their goals.
Some skills related to emotional regulation
These are skills associated with emotional regulation, although none of them explains this phenomenon separately.
1. Ability to focus on the here and now
Much of the effectiveness of emotional regulation consists of carry out good management of attentional concentration. When it comes to experiencing emotions, it is very common that we get carried away by feelings that refer to past times, or even take for granted the future perspective that is presented to us right now.
For example, when faced with an offensive comment addressed to us, we may think that we will never be socially accepted or that we remember other past humiliations.
This is why it is important to be able to get away from what is happening and analyze the present of what is happening in this context.
2. Ability to recognize each emotion and its implications
Another skill related to emotional regulation has to do with the ability we show when it comes to discriminating between emotions. This makes forecasting easier what effects these states have on the actions we are going to take, And what can we expect from our behavior.
3. Tolerance of ambiguity
No matter how well we can differentiate between emotions, it is impossible to fully understand what is going on in our mind. that’s why uncertainty management it is as important as managing the emotions on which it is based.
4. Mental agility
Emotional regulation is always a skill that this still applies to what is happening. This is why it is necessary to find which aspects of the context can be used to intervene on our emotions.
The simplest example is the possibility of using an elastic ball to exercise the arm muscles, or using a recording of ambient sounds to relax and escape for a while. In fact, many of the most effective strategies for influencing emotions have nothing to do with introspection-based tasks, but rather interaction with the environment.
5. Ability to seek a positive reading of situations
Each event offers various interpretations, and many of them have the particularity of being reasonable, by adapting well to reality.
Since there is never a single one of these readings, the superiority over the others is evident, we have some leeway to base our experiences on those explanations which correspond better to our experiences and what we know about. life.
Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity, which is why it is so closely related to emotional regulation. Be clear that behind emotional regulation there is the objective of enjoying a better quality of life and greater exposure to happiness leads us to surpass ourselves.