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Emotion Regulation for Improved Interpersonal Effectiveness

By: CJ McGillivray

Published On: January 24, 2022

How often do you consider your emotional health and wellness? And how much confidence do you place in your emotions? These are questions that you may or may not have previously thought about, but emotions evidently play an important role in our professional and personal lives. Read on to learn how emotion regulation can lead to increased effectiveness in interpersonal relationships and in the workplace. 

What is emotion regulation? 

Emotion regulation is one of the four interventions covered by Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). In an academic article on the future of emotion regulation research, psychologist Dr. Amelia Aldao describes emotion regulation as a process where people can learn to “modify their emotional experiences, expressions, and physiology and the situations eliciting such emotions in order to produce appropriate responses” to the outside world. But modulating or modifying our emotions does not mean pretending or denying how we feel. Emotion regulation is simply about shifting particular emotions and perspectives when they do not serve us. 

There are two styles of emotion regulation that require differing levels of attention and awareness: explicit emotion regulation and implicit emotion regulation. With explicit emotion regulation, you are making a conscious or intentional effort to manage the emotions you are experiencing. This could involve intentionally reframing a situation so you can evoke a more positive emotion and create a better outcome for yourself and others. With implicit emotion regulation, we can naturally and effortlessly moderate our feelings without conscious thought. The American Psychology Association describes this process as modulating “the intensity or duration of an emotional response without the need for awareness.” Both styles are beneficial, though it helps to walk before you run. Try focusing on explicit emotion regulation first and then you can slowly develop intuitive, natural or implicit emotion regulation over time. 

How can you regulate your emotions? 

Try the following recommendations to help shift your emotional perspective: 

  • Try noticing and labelling your emotions to help you feel more grounded and aware 
  • You can then apply mindfulness techniques or mindfulness training to help you observe, acknowledge and accept your emotions 
  • To help you snap out of particularly intense or harmful emotions, use your senses and focus on a comforting visual, sound, smell, taste or sensation. 
  • Focusing on the breath can also help pull you out of intense emotions 
  • Try reframing your perspective whenever you receive disappointing news, and know that you do have the power to control your reaction, even if other factors are completely out of your control 

Conclusion 

Our emotions are constantly changing as we respond to outside stimuli, and regulating our emotions helps increase our interpersonal effectiveness in all scenarios. Emotion regulation can also be beneficial in various scenarios including our personal or romantic relationships, job interviews, family dynamics, public speaking opportunities, performance reviews, tense discussions or simple everyday interactions at the coffee shop or on the bus. Regulated emotions also enable us to engage in more open and accessible conversations and live in ways that better align with our values. 

Additional Resources 

Are you passionate about mental health, emotion regulation and cognitive behaviour therapy? You can gain additional insight and understanding through our broad range of CBT courses which focus on stressdepression and anxiety. You may also be inspired by our trauma counselling course or addictions and mental health program. 

Disclaimer 

The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog. 

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