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Emotional Health Minute: How do you emotionally regulate yourself?

The range of emotions are all part of the human experience but sometimes we can get triggered in such a way that it’s not helpful, like when fear, anxiety or stress gets too firm of a hold.  When this happens you can feel out of control, irrational and generally uncomfortable.  It’s hard to think straight when you’re emotionally dysregulated!

If you struggle with uncomfortable emotional states that are hard to get out of, it’s important to have the tools in your toolbox to self-soothe.  Fear, anxiety and stress all can stimulate cortisol which over time can be physically damaging to your body, regardless.  The key is to find the ways that work for you to regulate yourself and come back to center.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Take a walk and breathe deeply.  Oxygen is a known counter to cortisol so to calm you body, take a walk.  Notice what is around you as you take in the air, which will also incorporate a more mindful approach to this (and a distraction from your distress).
  • Do the things that you know are relaxing for you.  People will have different ideas of what these things are so you first need to identify what feels good.  Taking a bath, reading, talking to a friend, tinkering on a project…


If you feel you could benefit from learning more about how to self-regulate and/or you’d like to uncover what the roots are of your distress via family of origin work, consider individual therapy. I offer in-office for Marin and local residents, video and phone for those in California.