Stress Management: The Artful Balance in Emotion Regulation

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Blessing

What?!?! There is a blessing inside the storm that is stress?

Yes, I hate to be the messenger of bad news…actually I don’t 😉 but , yes, adversity can change us for the better if we let it (I always say to my teenage kid, Jack…and he has listened!).

So, since that is my stance, there is a “silver lining”, let’s focus on building our emotion regulation skills which will have a beautiful side effect of lowering our stress levels.

Now, wouldn’t that be awesome?!?

Last Week, I talked about the benefits of emotion regulation in my post, Emotion Regulation: Why it Contributes to Academic Success. This week I want to expand on that notion and start sharing strategies that can help.


 

Here is an infographic that gives some great advice:

Mental-Health-Stress

I know what you are probably thinking, “yeah, great advice, but what if I can not even get myself to do any of those things?”. I know, most people don’t “feel” like doing anything; however, if you have a idea of “how” to get moving, and that there is a tangible benefit (light at the end of the tunnel), you can kick your own butt and at least get started. Really, between you and me, I rarely feel like doing anything; but I have definitely learned to like the positive outcomes from my effort. Think big picture, think “where will this get me?”, and get moving toward your goals. Today’s goal is to find ways to lower stress so that you can enjoy your life more.


 

Get Started PsychNerd Style

Brain Nerd

 

Did you know that you can do things BEFORE, DURING and AFTER an event to help regulate your emotional state? Yeah! According to Dr. Gross who developed the Process Model of Emotion Regulation (Gross, 1998) employing strategies before, during and after and event can significantly effect your emotional state.

Things You Can Do Before (Anticipation)

  • You can decide to participate in events that are good for you.
  • You can choose the amount of time you will spend at an event ahead of time.
  • You can plan the best way for you to get yourself there.
  • You can learn more about what you are getting yourself into.

Things You Can Do During (Change the Experience):

  • You can choose to be fully present (Mindfulness) in that moment. Not focused on the past or the future, but focus on what is happening now.
  • You can choose to focus on the positive aspects of the situation.

Things You Can Do After (Reminisce about the Experience):

  • You can look at photos of the event and remember the fun that you had (delete the ones that are less happy).
  • When you describe your experience to others, choose to share the mostly the positive aspects of your experience.
  • You can focus on gratitude, noticing how lucky you are to have the opportunity to experience great things in your life.

In the BEFORE, DURING and AFTER experience you also have the opporunity to use the following skills in all 3 categories (mentioned in last weeks blog post):

  1. You can SELECT the situation that you are participating in.
  2. You can MODIFY the situation once you are in it.
  3. You can focus your ATTENTION on the positive or negative (I recommend a lean to the positive).
  4. You can choose/change your THOUGHTS about the situation.
  5. You can choose how you RESPOND to the situation.

Check out this great example!

arrows

Emotion Regulation Example

(Quoidbach et al. , 2015)


Ok, now that you know that you have options, let’s get working!


 

Try This Today: Build Your Character Strength

One way of bolstering your emotion regulation capacity is to start with identifying your top strengths and find a new way to use one of these strengths in a different manner every day (Seligman et al., 2005).

Curious about your strengths? Take this Brief Strengths Test Today! 

Click Here

(you will find the Brief Strengths Test under the Questionnaires dropdown menu)


More Stress Management Strategies?

Check out some of my previous blog posts:

 

Stress Management Tips


 

It is not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. Start working on your reaction to stressful situations by practicing emotion regulation strategies.

Each week I will be blogging about a new Emotion Regulation Strategy.

Join me!

Happy Friday!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

References

Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2, 271-299. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1089- 2680.2.3.271

Quoidbach, J. Mikolajczak, M,  and Gross, J. (2015). Positive interventions: An emotion regulation perspective. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 141(3), May 2015, 655-693.

3 thoughts on “Stress Management: The Artful Balance in Emotion Regulation

    Nicole said:
    February 27, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Very interesting post. I like the ideas of how to deal with stress.

    Like

    Andrea said:
    March 1, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I love this! I always know a walk will make me feel better and more productive but so often I can find an excuse to not go. Rather than thinking about the cold or how little time I have, I think about the fat squirrels, friendly dogs, or endless skies over the water that I’ve encountered before, and how I know I’ll always feel better and more productive with some fresh air. I also consider how it will help me stay in shape in the long run, most times these forces combined can get my butt moving!

    Like

      Dr. Heather Drummond responded:
      March 1, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Andrea! It makes life so much easier when you figure out what works for you. I am so glad to hear that you have found walking to be so beneficial in getting your butt moving! 🙂 Thanks for the great comment!

      Like

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