Why is emotional regulation important?

Despite being an aspect of great importance in a person’s life, in general very little is said about emotional regulation. Today we show you its importance.

Last update: December 11, 2021

Emotional regulation, also known as emotional self-regulation, consists of a series of strategies or techniques we use to control emotions and feelings. In general, it is the ability we have to relax our emotional reactions in a social environment. However, this ability also manifests itself in private (when we are alone).

It is said that a person has a good regulation of his emotions when he is able to reproduce, adjust and express them according to the context. Also when you can delay or even eliminate them, although the latter is in any case debatable. We will show you in the next few lines why emotional regulation is so important and what you should know about it.

Importance of emotional regulation

Every day people are exposed to potentially emotionally exciting situations. Emotions such as happiness, anger, hatred, pride, sadness and others are experienced on a daily basis, which forces us to have to modulate them based on the context in which we find ourselves.

For example, consider a hypothetical situation in which you receive a message with news that makes you upset (nothing serious, but enough to annoy you). You receive the message in the middle of a company meeting surrounded by superiors and colleagues. What is the normative behavior that would be expected? What do you start screaming? That your face turns red in frustration? That you throw the things that you have in front of you?

This is just one example, but the truth is that they abound like that on a day-to-day basis. Talking to your partner, interacting with people at the supermarket, waiting for the traffic light to turn green, watching news on social media, and more. The truth is that we are continuously regulating our emotions, since modulation is the key to normative social behavior.

Similarly, emotional regulation is not just done to “fit in” with society’s standards. Researchers agree that it is a good indicator of mental health, understood as the psychological well-being of people. With these reflections as a preamble, we leave you with 7 keys that synthesize the importance of emotional regulation.

1. Avoid impulsive reactions

Although impulsivity is completely natural, in our society it is convenient to regulate some of these attitudes.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the benefits of emotional regulation is that it helps reduce impulsive behaviors. Indeed, by intelligently managing your emotions and feelings You save yourself impulsive reactions that make you say or do something that you will regret later.

Think back to the last emotion you felt. It may have been anger at seeing news that you disliked, or joy at seeing an adorable dog before you got home. In any case, you contained your reactions to a greater or lesser extent, so that these feelings were not impulsively overexaggerated.

2. It allows you to better deal with frustration

Frustration is the set of feelings that we develop when we fail to meet our goals. In general, it is associated with expressions such as anger, disappointment, sadness, anger, and so on. Since it is a very common experience in life (we do not always achieve everything we set out to do) knowing how to regulate our emotions is having a great ally in the process.

Indeed, if you do not do the latter, these feelings are more likely to consume you, prevent you from overcoming frustration, negatively affect your self-perception and get in the way of your future goals. Knowing how to control your emotions will allow you to better tolerate the blows of life.

3. It is a mechanism of social insertion

As we have explained in the initial reflection, emotional regulation is an essential ally in social behavior. Society expects us to manifest normative behavior, one that is often implicit or tacit and that serves to create coexistence between people.

For example, it is socially reprehensible that, when reading an unpleasant message at work, you start yelling or displaying offensive behavior with your colleagues (to use the example we gave at the beginning). If you know how to control your emotions, you can achieve a social approval that allows you to guide yourself through it without major obstacles.

4. Allows you to deal with pressure

It is normal for pressure to make us develop a whirlwind of emotions around us. Speaking in public, facing an important interview, handing in an assignment at work or assimilating the birth of a child, to use various examples, are situations in which emotions can overwhelm you and cloud your mind.

In this way, you can reduce your ability to react, limit decision-making and generally behave negatively in relation to what is expected of the moment. If you know how to regulate your emotions, you can deal with all these problems in a more efficient and functional way.

5. Reduce your stress and tension levels

As expected, the fact that you do not practice emotional regulation does not translate especially into positive effects for your stability. The levels of stress and tension are higher in those who are not able to manage what they experience on an emotional level.

What happens is that when this mechanism is not tuned, the emotions control you, and not the other way around. This emotional control can make you think excessively about it, which translates into an overflow that is felt in any of the mental manifestations indicated.

6. Leads to an improvement in moods

In its proper measure, emotional regulation allows negative feelings and thoughts to be discarded and replaced by good ones.

This is an advantage of emotional regulation that is in tune with the previous one. If you practice controlling your emotions, you also practice controlling your moods. This way you prevent a minor or major event from developing an emotion that gnaws at you in different ways throughout the day.

This will prevent you from being angry, sad or happy throughout the day. Although you may think that the last case does not lead to negative consequences, imagine that the day you received great news that made you happy, you have to attend a funeral. Would it be good if during this you were explicitly happy thinking about that news you received hours ago?

7. It affects many aspects of your life

Okay, we cheated on this latest benefit of emotional regulation. The truth is that making such a short list falls short, so we summarize several briefly in this section. Experts have found a link between emotion regulation and anxiety disorders. In general, those who do not control well some states have a greater risk of suffering from these disorders.

There is evidence that it affects job performance, the progress of eating disorders, the prevalence of suicidal behavior and the achievement of goals. This is just a selection of very varied aspects in which emotional regulation can affect, which implies in a very explicit way that its influence is not less.

There are certain disorders that can prevent you from managing your emotions intelligently. For example, people with Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Depressive Disorders, Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, and so on often have trouble with this.

When this is the case, or when a patient unaware of these diagnoses has not been able to find a way to control emotions on their own, it is advisable to seek professional help. A psychologist or psychiatrist can find the best strategies to prevent feelings and emotions from overflowing, which would allow the patient to regain control of their life.

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