Emotions have a great role in moulding the personality of an individual. Ability of an individual to effectively manage and respond to an emotional experience is emotional regulation. It can also say that emotional regulation is the conscious or non-conscious control of emotion, mood, or affect. Emotional regulation can be both conscious and unconscious. Conscious emotional regulation can be either positive or negative emotional regulation. Positive or healthy emotional regulation is controlling or managing our emotions into a positive way. It can include counting 1to 10 when angry, walking backwards when angry, talking with friends when upset, walking to relieve stress, journaling, and meditation etc. Each healthy coping mechanism encourages the person to think through their emotions and encourages the individual to use them again because they help and don’t cause harm.
On the other way the negative emotional regulation includes drinking alcohol or using substances, cutting, bottling it up, denial, and lashing out. These emotional regulation strategies are not so good because they can cause injury and drive others away. It also affects the person because instead of dealing with the problem the negative strategies allow the person to avoid their own feelings. In addition, several of them can have consequences beyond the personal level, such as alcohol and substances combined with driving and verbally lashing out at others. Unconscious emotion regulations are unintentional, automatic, and relatively effortless control of one’s exposure to, processing of, and response to emotionally evocative events. It is the processes that you are not conscious of. There are some people who are considered emotionally mature and when an emotion or situation does come up, they handle it. In unconscious emotional regulation, the brain pathways are set up differently. For example, some people are raised to handle emotions better than others because of how they were raised.
Children often learn by examples and others learn as adults, rewiring their brains. There are verities of scales available for measuring the emotional regulation skill of an individual. It includes the Emotional Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) by Gross, J.J., & John, O.P. (2003). Other widely used scale to check the emotional regulation are the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (CERQ) by N. Garnefski and V. Kraaij and Multidimensional assessment of emotion regulation and dysregulation scale by Gratz, K. L. & Roemer, L. (2004). Importance of emotional regulation is very crucial in the current scenario. Regulating one’s own emotion would help the individual lead their life more positively. Strong emotional regulation skill can also enhance the long term wellbeing of an individual. It improves the work performance, enhance interpersonal relationships and even lead to the person’s better overall health. Moreover regulating one’s own emotion through problem solving, being assertive, and reappraisal of the situation makes that emotion much less likely to amplified and lead to regrettable situations. By regulating our emotions, we can also control mood fluctuations and eventually mood improvement will lead us compassion and empathy for others.
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