Month: December 2022

What is Emotional Regulation?

Emotional regulation is the ability to be able to control your own emotional state. Such regulation can include focusing on being calm and happy, rethinking the situation to reduce anxiety, or overcoming the sense of fear or sadness.


Regulation is often about reducing how intense some emotions are or increasing that intensity. Down-regulation and up-regulation are terms for ways to control your emotions. The first one is for reducing negative ones, and the latter is to increase anxiety or happiness when needed.


Psychologists say that emotion regulation happens in two phases – before feeling an emotion and after. The first is antecedent-focused emotion regulation, and the second is response-focused emotion regulation.


Today, we are diving deeper into the meaning of emotional regulation and the ways to enhance that superpower in order to improve your overall quality of life.


Why Is Emotional Regulation Important?


Adults are expected to manage their emotions in a socially acceptable way, without the outbursts and tantrums that children usually have. On the other hand, failure to meet those expectations usually has two mutually connected consequences.


First, your social circle shrinks, and your intercommunication patterns begin to suffer. And second, you begin to feel lonely, distant, irritated and misunderstood.


Sometimes when emotional control is poor, we tend to say and do things we regret later. If learning how to regulate emotions happens sooner, the life and relationships of a person can benefit massively.


So, what are the emotional self-regulation habits you need to integrate into your lifestyle and philosophy?


Ways to Control Your Emotions


The two main ways to reach emotional control are changing how you think about something or suppressing it. Unfortunately, the latter can have a negative effect.


Other ways are to change the situation that influenced emotional experiences or shift your attention. The hardest one is to accept your emotions and simply move on.


Emotional Regulation Exercises

If you are looking forward to an emotional regulation activity, then we have a couple of suggestions down below.


Breathing Exercises


There are three main breathing exercises for good emotional regulation:


  • You can do breath counting, sitting calmly, counting to 5 on an inhale, and counting to 7 on an exhale. This makes you focus on breathing and not on intrusive thoughts.
  • Breath shifting is another way to help yourself out. You just need to put one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Notice how they rise and fall when you breathe. This gives you a good focus on both areas and calms you down.
  • Breath relaxation is simply taking deep breaths with your eyes closed until you feel that all the stress is going away, and you can feel a bit more relaxed.

You can try out all three of them and choose the one that works best for you and your temperament.


Reaching Emotional Catharsis


A great effective way to deal with emotional dysregulation disorder is to go through an emotional catharsis. This way, you will let go of suppressed emotions and reach a good mental balance.


To reach such a blissful state, you need to observe your emotions without trying to change them. Evaluate the experience that caused your emotions and acknowledge that emotions are just states that pass. Don’t identify with them; instead, treat them as a river flowing through you.


You can name or write these emotions down on a piece of paper and talk them out with friends, relatives, or a therapist.


Mindfulness and Self-awareness


Mindfulness is one of those emotional regulation skills that can help you live in the present by acknowledging your feelings, mind, and body.

Such a skill can help you look at your feelings and thoughts from a neutral point of view.


Exercises for mindfulness are implementation and acknowledgment exercises. The first ones include self-expression, empathetic listening, or thinking in a non-judgmental way. The latter are naming thoughts and emotions and observing them.


Mindfulness is also a synonym for self-awareness which is again about recognizing our emotions and how they affect us.


Again, thought and emotion naming here is a good exercise, and you can even create a chart with columns titles like:


  • What am I feeling right now?
  • What caused it?
  • How did I respond to it?
  • What emotions did I feel at that time?


Once you have the answer, you can have the strategy for managing what you feel.


Which Are the Hardest Emotions to Control?


The most challenging emotions to control are disappointment, anger, and resentment. Unfortunately, people tend to suppress such feelings, and this often leads to mental health issues like depression or even borderline personality disorder.


When not addressing such emotions correctly, you can overreact and feel less satisfaction in your life and relationships.


Sometimes controlling your emotions can be difficult thanks to beliefs that negative emotions are destructive and uncontrollable. For example, uncertainty might make emotions run wild, and if you don’t communicate clearly with someone, you might start feeling hopeless.


Emotional regulation can be tough to harness and manage, especially in this day and age. Social media is a massive trigger for everyone that has a hard time being too self-aware. The perfect life portrayed online is why so many young people feel like they are missing out on something.


Always find a friend or therapist that you feel comfortable speaking to; when a traumatic experience arises, don’t wait for the emotions to go away. They never do by putting a lid on them. Instead, let them out and let them go.


What Is Emotional Regulation Disorder?


An emotional regulation disorder is a condition in which the ability to manage and regulate a person’s emotions is not present. Emotional dysregulation, or ED, is a term that psychologists use for weakly governed emotional responses.


The most common symptoms of the emotional regulation disorder are:

  • Sudden anger outbursts to someone who hasn’t done any harm or simply passive-aggressive behavior;
  • Suicidal thoughts and self-destructing behavior;
  • Symptoms like chronic pain not caused by a medical condition and unexplained by specialists;
  • Having difficulty in building social relationships in professional and personal fields;
  • Inability to focus on work since the mind is occupied with negative emotions;
  • Poor self-control, hypersensitivity, etc.


Usually, emotion regulation disorder is accompanied by other mental health conditions like mood polarities and depression.


The best way to treat emotion regulation disorder is through Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT. This condition can be treated if the person takes care of the issue as soon as possible and follows consistently long-term treatment.


Another way to start your recovery journey is to build a well-being routine with a chosen mental health app, a podcast, or a tailor-made well-being program.

20+ Grounding Techniques for Anxiety for When You Feel Overwhelmed

If you have anxiety, you know the heart palpitations, the dry mouth, and the trembling. You know the feeling of cold sweat coming over your body and the panic taking over your mind. At this moment, all reality and logic seem to blur together. However, there are ways to manage those symptoms, and these are called anxiety grounding techniques.


Anxiety is usually triggered by fight-or-flight instincts which are common in people with traumatic events in their lives. As a result, such people develop PTSD, and they always feel like the world is out to get them.


Grounding techniques for anxiety are a precious resource for those with intrusive thoughts that influence their lives negatively. So, let’s talk about the best grounding strategies out there.


What are Grounding Methods In a Nutshell?


Grounding exercises for anxiety are mental or physical actions that distract you from the anxiety when it hits.


Such methods help you focus on the current moment and what is happening around you. Grounding methods enable you to create a healthy space from upsetting feelings in situations where it’s needed.


These methods can help you achieve the following:

  • Decrease anxiety;
  • Improve well-being;
  • Decrease stress;
  • Improve your mood;
  • Help you deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • Decrease depression;
  • Lessen dissociation, etc.


Grounding skills are distributed in categories like physical grounding techniques, mental grounding techniques, and soothing grounding techniques.


Physical Grounding Techniques


Physical panic attack grounding techniques for anxiety take over all of your senses, so your attention is directed toward the current moment.


Below, we have gathered some of our favorites which are pretty effective.


Use Water, Touch Items, and Breathe in Deeply


The first panic attack grounding technique is to put your hands in some water and feel the temperature with your palms, fingers, and backs of your hands. Try out with warm water and then cold water. Examine how it feels with both temperatures. Bring your focus on your body.


The next good technique is picking up items and seeing whether they feel soft, heavy, warm, or cold. Think about their color and texture. How do you feel about them? Import breathing deeply in the mix and feel your lungs expand each time you inhale. Focus on exhaling slowly and steadily.


Savor Your Food and Scents, Take Walks, and Hold Ice


Good physical grounding techniques for anxiety include savoring what you eat, drink, and smell. Take small sips and bites out of your food and drinks. Explore their smell and taste.


If there is a scented candle around you, breathe in deeply. Notice its notes- is it spicy, sweet, or citrusy? This helps you concentrate on your surroundings and focus less on your anxiety.


Taking short walks and counting your steps help, too.


However, one of the best grounding techniques for anxiety is still holding a small piece of ice. The cold sensation makes your brain focus on it, and the anxiety strips away.


Do Exercises, Listen Carefully, and Focus On Your Body


Doing stretches or exercises like jumping jacks, jumping rope, jogging, or stretching can help you release stress and boost serotonin. Simply notice how your body moves and feels, how the mat and floor you exercise on rub against your body. For example, intentionally wiggle your toes or curl your fingers, and pay attention to how that feels.


Incorporate listening to the sounds when you exercise – what sounds does the gym equipment make, the conversations around you, the aircon working in the background, anything.


Use the 5-4-3-2-1 Technique


The last physical grounding technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 method. With this method, you count backward from 5 and list things you notice in your surroundings.


List 5 things you hear, see, touch, smell, and taste. Notice even the most minor things, like the hum of your computer box or the tiny specks of color on your carpet.


Mental Grounding Techniques


Mental grounding techniques for anxiety are good for helping you turn away your thoughts from overwhelming sensations.


Memory Games, Math, Poems, and Categories


Memory games are great when you feel like your mind is going to burst. Simply take a photograph and look at it for 10 seconds. Then, turn the photo upside down and try to remember it as best as possible. Write down everything you remember.


Thinking in categories is also great, so place down some categories, like football teams or musical instruments and write as many things as you can think of.


If you are a maths person, you can use math to calm yourself down. For example, count backward from 100 or do short equations in your head.


Reciting a book passage, a song, or a poem in your head and visualizing them is another good way to stay concentrated away from anxiety.


Leave the Pain Physically Behind


Visualizing throwing your pain away, like balling it in a scrunched-up paper ball or putting it in a box, helps. Then, you can jog, bike, swim, or walk away from these feelings and thoughts. See your anxiety as a TV program or a song and change the channel or mute the volume.


You can even describe your surroundings in your head, like, “This building is yellow with a red roof. The sun is shining on my face, and I can hear a bike bell nearby. A poodle is barking at children jumping rope.”


Soothing Grounding Techniques


Finally, using soothing grounding exercises for anxiety is another great option.


Below, you will see some examples.


Picture the Face or Voice of a Loved One and Be Kind to You


Picturing the face or voice of a loved one can make you feel comforted and confident that you will get through every obstacle. Imagine them coming through a door and sitting opposite you. Talk to them in your head and let go of your pain.


You can also visualize a favorite place or memory and feel its warmth.

Remember to be gentle towards yourself with phrases like “you are doing your best,” “you are strong,” and “you will make it through.”


Spend Time With Your Pet and Plan Activities


Spending time with pets is so important. You can snuggle with them or play at home and enjoy your company.


If you have a dog, go on a long walk or to the dog park and throw a ball together or throw them a stick. If you have a cat, play together with their cat toys.


Plan activities with humans, too. Go to the cinema or a restaurant with friends or family. Be present in the moment and cherish this experience. Share with them what bothers you, and you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders.


Touch Comforting Items, List Your Favorite Things, and Listen to Music


Touching something comforting like a fluffy blanket or a loved T-shirt, even a smooth stone, is good for comfort.


Put on your favorite socks, scarf, or sweater, and feel the fabric against your skin.


List Your Favorite Things, and Listen to Music


Listing your favorite things can also bring happiness. Then, listing some things that you are grateful for helps out, too.


Listening to music also helps, and you can even try dipping into some soothing podcasts for mental health or mental health apps.


download relaxifyapp today

Gaslighting in a Relationship – How To Recognize and Avoid It?

The term gaslighting has gained popularity in recent years, but the phenomenon behind it reaches way further back in time. In fact, the term originates from a 1940s film called Gaslight. In this psycho-thriller, a man leads a woman to believe she is losing her sanity by plotting a super-detailed pattern of deception.


What we get is a brand-new concept in the field of psychological manipulation – the so-called gaslighting.


Fortunately, people nowadays are paying increasing attention to recognizing and avoiding toxicity in their relationships, and emotional manipulation is a subject that’s worth all the discussion it takes.


So, let’s discuss.


What Is Gaslighting?


Gaslighting is a type of manipulative and emotionally abusive behavior where the abuser minimizes their victim’s feelings and shifts the blame in order to acquire dominance. While the process may look different, the results are often the same – emotional neglect, devalued feelings, and overall damaged well-being.


More often than not, gaslighting includes a conscious and well-planned effort toward building a sense of uncertainty, insecurity, and emotional instability. While the victim falls deeper into that state of self-doubt, the abuser gains more and more power over their inner world.


Although it is most closely associated with romantic relationships, gaslighting is common enough in all other types of interpersonal interaction. You can see it between friends, co-workers, and even business partners. One of the worst types of gaslighting happens between family members, including between parents and children.


What Is an Example of Gaslighting?


The most straightforward gaslighting example to come up with is something you’ve probably heard at least once in your life. “It’s no big deal”, remember? Unless it is.


Complied briefly, some other examples of what gaslighting is looking as follows:


  • Claiming you’re paranoid, overreacting, or making things up in order to dramatize – when you, in fact, have the absolute right to be upset.
  • Putting the blame on you whenever something goes wrong or things get tough – even when none of it is actually your fault.
  • Lying and clinging on to made-up scenarios, including when it comes to easily checkable facts.
  • Never taking responsibility for the things they did wrong or the ways they’ve let you down.
  • Blaming you for being overdramatic, imagining things, or having skyrocketing expectations – when you’re actually settling for something below the bare minimum.


Or else said – “You’re just paranoid,” and “You are making that up” will be among your most powerful red flags for dealing with a gaslighter.


Gaslighting in Relationships: Definition and Signs


Recognizing gaslighting in a relationship might be a challenging thing to do, especially if you’re insecure. The reason is simple – gaslighters will lead you to actually believe it’s your fault instead of theirs.


That’s why spotting the early signs of gaslighting will be your most effective strategy for leaving this toxic relationship unharmed. And the easiest way to spot it is to stay cautious about your own feelings.


Some of the most evident emotional reactions to being gaslighted are:


  • You feel confused and question yourself. Did that really happen? Are you a horrible person for making a scene? Are you even sane? You are most probably okay, so you better trust yourself or ask for an unbiased opinion because gaslighting is all about making you question your judgment.
  • You spend a lot of your time apologizing. It seems like whatever you do, you do it wrong. You never feel like you’re good enough and your input is continually undervalued. Looks like you have something to think about, right?
  • You feel lonely and cannot share your genuine thoughts. Whatever you say in your head sounds wrong, and you’re too afraid of being a disappointment. So you watch your tongue, filter what you share, and get too self-conscious when you speak about your feelings.
  • You’re growing apart from your friends, family, and relatives. You keep your struggles secret and probably feel embarrassed by how you feel and what you go through. If you try to seek reassurance and support, the other person reminds you of how insignificant your feelings are and how irrational your behavior is.


This list can be modified and filled up with multiple different emotional reactions to being gaslighted. But however different, they revolve around a single feeling – that something’s just not right, and it worsens with time.

am I gaslighted

Am I Being Gaslighted?

If you spot just one of the signs listed above, it’s already time to think about it and react. The higher the red flag count, the more pressing the need to step up for yourself and regain your right to be who you are with no remorse.


Seeking support from family and friends will always give you another perspective. So – don’t hesitate to share what you go through and hear what the people who love you have to say about it.


Then, their honest feedback might surprise you and drive you to make the best possible decision – leaving toxicity behind and regaining your self-esteem.

Scroll to top