Information enters the brain through our senses. When information is overwhelming or stressful, instinct takes over. Instead of choosing a response, we become reactive. The three most common reactive tendencies are flight, fight and freeze. Emotional self-regulation is a cornerstone of emotional intelligence and foundational in developing mental wellness.
Strategy: Feel it, Name it, Breathe
GOAL: increase responsiveness
TASK: identify and regulate emotions
1. Identify your reactive tendency. What are you most likely to do in a stressful situation? This is your go-to coping strategy for dealing with conflict:
Freeze (shut down)
2. Identify your preferred response, ie: share my feelings/thoughts in a tricky situation.
3. Feel it: When you are feeling overwhelmed, slow down and allow the emotion to surface. Do not push it away or ignore it.
4 . Name it: Identify the nuance of the emotion. Use a feeling chart if needed.
5. Breathe deeply through the experience, counting backwards from 10. Remind yourself that the feeling will pass.
6. Choose how you would like to respond.