Thursday, April 1, 2021

Helping our patients with better emotional regulation

When describing patients as having “poor emotional regulation”, it’s important to explore which part of emotional regulation is problematic.

Is it a difficulty around processing the feelings of others, or is it a difficulty around processing one’s own feelings, or both?

1. Are they too “zoomed in” or fused with other people’s feelings leading to excessive empathy, over pleasing, emotional sensitivity from others, mood fluctuation, poor self esteem, excessive peer pressure, and other unintended consequences?

2. Are they too “zoomed in” or fused with their own feelings leading to impulsivity, mood fluctuation, stubbornness, inflexibility, self centeredness, and other unintended consequences?

Some folks are really good at processing other people’s feelings, but not great when it comes to their own feelings. The opposite is also observed. Some are not great with processing any feelings. They simply don’t trust “feelings”. They are extremely data driven and “logical”.

Helping them with the emotional literacy to become more aware, and learning how “to hold” those feelings “more lightly” will help.

We don’t always to have to act on those feelings straight away. Often, we don’t even have to act on them at all. They may be there to be observed, noticed, and processed if relevant, before taking action.

It’s not an easy thing to do at all, but it’s super important to learn for our mental health and wellbeing.

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