By Harry Petsanis and Donna McCance
Self-regulation is a set of life skills used to develop your ability to manage and control your emotions, impulses, thoughts, and behavior in response to situations. There are different causes for people’s inability to self-regulate, such as medical conditions and lack of skills on how to manage and control emotions.
Self-regulation is a learned behavior which children acquire from their environment and modeling of their caregivers. If a child is discouraged from showing their emotions or punished for it, this negative reaction can harm their ability to learn how to self-regulate. Children also learn negative behaviors by observing caregivers who do not respond to situations with emotional maturity.
The Foundation of Self-Regulation
Developing An Understanding of Mindset and Logic
Telling people to self regulate and control their emotions is a conundrum. All people are emotional, but many people are highly emotional, making it even more difficult for them to regulate their emotions.
People get highly emotional when they feel they are losing control. It’s important to recognize when you have reached that heightened emotional state so that you can use strategies to help calm yourself down. You always have control, you just have to learn to recognize it and use it so you can exercise control over yourself.
Very few things in life are unpredictable. Every person has experienced loss, heartache, betrayal, resentment, disappointment, embarrassment, shame, pain, and fear. We react to these things with such a heightened state of emotion that it makes it appear from the outside that they are unpredictable, when in reality they are a part of everyone's life.
Logical thinking is making rational decisions based on your analysis of a situation to develop rational solutions. It involves examining problems objectively through the use of reasoning skills. When people are in a highly emotional state, many of them skip past the analysis and go right to the reaction.
Lack of understanding in mindset and logic is why people don’t self-regulate. Once people understand that they have the ability to change their mindset and build a foundation based on logic, then they no longer are highly emotional and it becomes much easier for them to self-regulate.
The following process of mindset and logic will help you toward developing self-regulation and improve your life. Learn how to logically identify your thought process, decision making, choices, actions, and results. It’s a process to learn.
Your foundation is built on your thought process.
Your thought process is the first step toward controlling your actions, reactions, and response to situations. When you feel you are losing control or you are emotionally heightened, you must first pause, recognize the emotion, and put a word to it: “I am feeling angry right now.” This is being self-aware and acknowledging your emotions.
Your thought process results in your decision making.
The decision making process involves identifying why you are feeling that emotion. “I am feeling angry because…” This is taking responsibility for your emotions. You think logically about your options and alternatives, weighing the evidence before you make a choice as to how you will react.
Your decision making leads to your choices.
This is when you make a conscious, logical choice as to how you are going to react. Allow yourself to take a step back and reflect, Fight the feeling that you need to engage. Fight the feeling that you need to be defensive. Recognize that part of your responsibility in regulating your emotions is to calm yourself down first before you react.
Your choices lead to your actions.
Your emotional reaction is your action. When you think logically about your thought process, decision making, and choices/options, you go through the process of pausing, analyzing, and foreseeing consequences of your behavior. You have given yourself time to control your highly emotional state and not react in an uncontrolled, illogical manner. This is why it is important to pause, recognize, and identify when you may be feeling highly emotional so you can resist reacting and logically manage your behavior.
Your actions lead to results.
The results are that you are able to regulate your emotions and act logically. You maintain control of yourself and the situation by using logical reasoning skills to help you to develop emotional maturity. Once you have put aside your emotions, calmed down, and are in your own space, you can assess clearly and accurately to allow yourself to self-correct. This results in your new mindset!
Many times when people face adversity, they act like it's the first time they’ve ever faced it, when in reality, they face it every day. If you don’t take time to pause, calm down, get into a space of logic, and allow emotions to dissipate, every time you face adversity it’s going to feel like it’s the first time because all you’ve been doing is reacting.
And don’t forget…
About the Authors
Harry Petsanis is a mindset and accountability coach, philosopher of human nature, consultant, and lifelong fitness and nutrition expert. He is a writer and author, with two published books: “The Truth is A Lie” and “The Logical Path To Life.” His book “The Truth is A Lie” was nominated by the 2019 Author Academy Awards in the "best self help" book category. Harry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He has an intense passion for psychology and the human condition.
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Donna McCance, M.Ed. is a business administrator, licensed teacher and principal/vice principal with over 20 years experience teaching in elementary education and educational leadership. She has a Masters in Education, Masters in Human Services Management, Bachelors in Business Administration and Associates in Business Administration.