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Humans are emotional beings. We live in our subjective worlds, attaching meaning and emotion to everything that happens to us. But, if we constantly get carried away by our primary emotions, like fear, joy and pleasure, maintaining a good balance and composure in our lives becomes difficult.

And that’s why emotional self-regulation is essential to navigate life well. Emotional self-regulation is stopping to reflect on our thoughts, being attuned to how change is happening around us, and staying true to our character – and not getting swayed by our (often irrational) impulsive urges.

Once we tune into our feelings and emotions, we can accept them and take appropriate action for everything good and bad that happens to us.

 

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For example, let’s say, you’re not able to get along with a person but you have to deal with them as they are part of your family or your team at work. Give your emotions, the ones that arise during your interactions with them, a name. Whatever it might be, frustration, confusion, annoyance, just acknowledge how you feel and then practice letting go. By that, I mean, if you continue to have to deal with him or her, simply work with what you have and make the best out of any possible outcome while engaging with them.

And that’s what emotional regulation is. It teaches us to see every chance interaction with a stranger or fellow human as an opportunity to form a meaningful connection or bond. It gives us a frame of mind to change ourselves for the better, to learn and to grow. And to let go of the rest.

Again, let’s see what the opposite of not regulating our emotions can do to us and how harmful it can be. Imagine a refugee and his family trying to flee their home country because of a war that’s raging on endlessly. The emotions he and his family can be feeling might be pain, confusion, insecurity, sadness, and deep devastation. But, if this family continues to be paralyzed by what they’re feeling, they will lose the objectivity to act. And can miss an opportunity to flee to a safe harbor offshore as quickly as possible.

 

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See, what mostly bothers us about our lives is having to endure unmerited suffering, the kind of suffering that we didn’t really deserve. And when something terrible happens to us, we ask ourselves over and over again, “Why me? Why do bad things happen to good people? What did I do to deserve this?”

The vicious cycle continues in all areas of your life, in all your interactions, and you might end up indulging in yourself in worry, fear, impatience and anger ultimately sabotaging your unlimited potential.

You start brooding, might feel ashamed of your past or be jealous of others and risk your bright future. It’s because you engage in self-deception. And don’t pay heed to your true feelings. It’s when you don’t see a problem with yourself or how you might have brought upon a terrible thing onto yourself. Or on the flip side, you start blaming the other party because, you feel that they’re entirely to blame for what’s happening to you.

The opposite, or lack of emotional self-regulation is painful to ourselves in the end. Life’s too short for all the unnecessary drama. Think about it, to forgive is wiser, to forget is super easy. Just imagine how empowering it is to think to yourself. “I act because I can, not because I must.” And that is self-regulation at its best.

 

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