By: Julie Sekachev, M.Ed, LPC Associate Supervised by Melissa Barton, MA, LPC-S Do you feel as though you have difficulty with your emotions? Here at the Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we can help teach you ways you can regulate your emotions and improve your relationships. Become Aware of Your Emotions. The first step to […]
By: Julie Sekachev, M.Ed, LPC Associate
Supervised by Melissa Barton, MA, LPC-S
Do you feel as though you have difficulty with your emotions? Here at the Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we can help teach you ways you can regulate your emotions and improve your relationships.
Become Aware of Your Emotions.
The first step to regulating our emotional state is to become aware of what we are feeling. Become aware of your emotions by labeling them. If you have a hard time identifying what you are feeling at the moment, try using a feeling wheel, you can use the one here: https://feelingswheel.com/
When you label what you are experiencing, you will gain more clarity and control over your emotions. Labeling emotions also lowers cortisol, the stress hormone in the body. If you have a hard time identifying your feelings- start with the body. What sensations are coming up for you? Tightness in the chest? Feeling hot, trembling hands, a sad sinking feeling? Jot down these sensations. You can use the “Thought Diary” app to help you keep track of your emotional state.
Pause and Practice Mindfulness.
Resist the urge to react to your triggers. Mindfulness is the most powerful step. The moment we are aware of our emotional state, we are not yet ready to decide the next move because our bodies are activated. If you notice a trigger, do not react right away. A trigger is something that happened just before you had an intense emotional reaction. For example, this could be an email, text,or something someone says to you. A pause could mean taking an hour to identify what you are feeling and why, or it could take several hours or even a day to feel calm before you determine your next move. Remember, strong emotions and impulses are just feelings that will pass and do not need to be acted upon immediately.
Try not to rely on your partner or others for this step. Practice regulating your own emotions through:
- Guided meditation, deep breathing exercise, journaling, or spending time in nature.
- Try the Calm or Headspace app for guided meditation or checkout “Headspace Guide to Meditation” on Netflix.
- Feel your feelings: when an unpleasant or uncomfortable feeling arises in the body, it creates a story or a narrative. Begin to redirect your mind away from your thoughts. Instead, notice the sensations in your body (chest tightness, ball of nerves, tightness in shoulders). Breathe into the sensation, notice it, allow it to be without judgment. Your mind will want you to go back to the story about the feelings, redirect back to the body and, breathe, repeat. Trust that the feelings will subside, and you will move through this state.
Respond Instead of React.
When we react to our triggers, it feels automatic and unplanned. When we react, we operate based on our sensations, thoughts, or feelings that we may not have acknowledged. Responding, however, requires careful thought, reflection, and choice.
- “How do I want to respond to this?” “What feels right for me?”
- Use assertive communication to talk to the other person after you feel calm using the “gentle startup” (I feel…about what….I need).
For example, let’s say your significant other cancels your date last minute. An automatic reaction may be, “I can’t believe you would do this, I cleared out my plans, and you’re just canceling last minute?! We are done!” Another more passive automatic reaction could be, “No worries, it’s ok, let me know when you will be free!” Both reactions do not consider your needs or the other person’s needs and may end a relationship. A more thoughtful response could be: “things happen, I understand, I feel disappointed, I wanted to see you. I would appreciate a little more heads-up in the future to schedule something else if need be. Let me know when you are free next so we can reschedule.”
If you would like more help being in control of your emotions or ways to practice mindfulness, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help!
We provide couples counseling, as well as other mental health services. To begin couples counseling in Katy, TX, follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more about how to increase assertive communication
- Meet with one of our knowledgeable therapists
- Find new ways to become your most authentic you!
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!