Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and behavior to fit the demands of the situation. To effectively deal with what life throws at you, you need to self-regulate. If you can’t manage yourself well, you might find yourself coping in ways that aren’t healthy for you. In the end, your mental health will suffer.
Episode 61 – Top 4 Strategies for Self-Regulation
Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and behavior to fit the demands of the situation. To effectively deal with what life throws at you, you need to self-regulate. If you can’t manage yourself well, you might find yourself coping in ways that aren’t healthy for you.
The good news is that physical and cognitive regulation are functions of the mind that can be trained. When Satori launched ProMind three years ago, our vision was simple: Get health practitioners to think about their mental health more proactively. In early 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Satori launched The ProMind Experience. This program was designed to be the next generation wellness strategy; to support hospitals in raising awareness of the benefits of workplace wellness and personal development The ProMind Experience broadened its focus to encompass physical, cognitive, spiritual and behavioural health, and support the full range of wellbeing needs of their employees. My agenda is to building the best hospitals any nurse could work for, from the outside!
Read the transcript below
How To Develop Self-Regulation
Self-regulation is a generic term for the voluntary management of physical, cognitive and emotional processes (Rheme & Rokke, 1988). These are processes that start in your childhood. Initially, a child is throwing temper tantrums because they can’t regulate their impulses, and eventually that child learns to get comfortable with their feelings and controls those impulses. This voluntary management also falls under the realm of mindfulness. Being able to think before you act. To become more aware of, or mindful of, your body’s response to stress offers you the opportunity to attend to it, and/or shift it. This shift gets you ahead of the emotional-physiological response, thus programming your mind for different results (aka ProMind!).
Self-Regulation In The Workplace
Self-regulation is an efficient resource tool inside and outside the workplace. Think about it like the gas tank of your car. You need to keep track of how much gas you have so that your car will run smoothly. Self-regulation is a similar concept. You want to be react to regulate your body before it runs out of gas, so you can lead a joyful and happy life. The most important element of being well is to be able to self-regulate, and manage your health across all areas in your life (ie. Work-Life Balance, Episode 59 here). And that’s not easy to do during a pandemic that’s constantly forcing people to change their routines and wellness strategies. Some people aren’t allowed in the gym and if that’s been been a life-long self-regulation strategy for you, you’ve undoubtedly had to adapt.
Here Are 4 Strategies To Support You In Self-Regulation
1.Become Aware of Your Body’s Response To Stress
Many people are afraid to experience some of their own feelings. Over time that fear holds them back from self-awareness, and self-regulation. By being aware of your body’s response to stress, you can get ahead of what your brain is about to do. This helps you take full control over your body. Awareness also helps prevent the subconscious mind from running the show. They say that 95% of our actions are subconscious. That means, you need to focus on what’s going on in your body.
Might you be feeling hungry, full or sluggish to get out of bed? Do you frequently have sugar cravings? If so, when do they tend to happen? Is your skin healthy, hydrated and glowing or are you constantly in need of moisturizers? Is your body at a healthy weight? Can you move freely – without joint mobility issues or might you be living with more pain than usual? Once you become aware of your body’s response to stress, you can start to manage your reactions to stress, and access the supports you need.
2. Challenge Your Emotional Responses
Rate your emotional responses on a scale of 1-10 when you check-in with yourself. As I said previously, people can be afraid of their feelings and emotions.
Wouldn’t it be great to turn the emotional response of anger into building a super-mind leaning towards more peace and clarity?
Think of a few keywords that might represent your top 5 emotions; empowered, compassion, patience, gratitude, appreciation, stressed, acute-stress, hungry, angry, impatient, confused, annoyed, judgemental, non-judgemental, etc….Try not to judge yourself. Instead, learn to be curious. Open yourself up to new ways of learning self-regulation, and shifting to more powerful emotions.
3. Develop A Toolbox of Coping Strategies
Once you have increased awareness of your physical and mental responses to stress, you want to try to stay in the moment. To stay calm and think – and not act on your big emotions – you will need some strategies.
– >> Take mental breaks like reading a book, or walk away from your work and make a cup of tea. You can also listen to music or watch a movie but try to develop a routine that gives you a mental break.
->> Have a physical break. I suggest you schedule a regular time in your calendar to do so each day. You can do 2 minutes of deep breathing, a quick walk up the stairs or go lift some weights. You choose, but try to get your body moving.
->> Support your body through grounding activities like yoga, deep breathing or using Satori Radio’s guided meditation. Close your eyes and breathe for a few seconds. When you build awareness into your day, you’re able to take the important pauses. You learnt to pace yourself and take a few breathes. Over time, this brings more focus and intention to what you want. Awareness is the pinnacle of mindfulness strategies that can help you stay focused on being sane, instead of the opposite.
Start by taking a few moments each day to practice these skills, in a time of calm. When you take care of your mind and body, pay attention to your thoughts (see Episode 35, Are Our Thoughts Really Energy?). Are they loud in your mind or soft, pleasant, painful or neutral? By taking a few deep breathes, regardless of what you were doing before or after this moment, you’re putting your prefrontal cortex in charge. The prefrontal cortex is the executor of your brain. But under stress, it gets pinched-off. This is why we don’t make the best decisions when under stress. By developing your toolbox of coping strategies when you’re calm, you can more readily access them in times of stress, giving you an advantage in self-regulating.
4. Add Supplements To Support Mind-Body Health
Many health problems can be linked to nutritional deficiencies. Nutrients like Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, Calcium, Folate Iodine, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc support one’s overall physical, emotional and cognitive health. The rising levels of nutrient deficiencies compounded by added workplace stress puts you at risk for anxiety and burnout. These are impacting one’s ability to perform at work, leading to absenteeism. You can counteract this risk and nutrient deficiency by taking a high quality B-Complex Vitamin and Multivitamin.
Just to be on the safe side, if you’re facing significant mental health difficulties, speak to your family physician before proceeding on supplements and contact the suicide hotline if you’re struggling with thoughts. As well, be sure to check your labels and avoid some of the common ingredients that can sneak-in to your vitamins like Sucralose, glucose, fructose, and maltodextrin (see podcast episode 29 on the truth about dietary supplements)
Applying Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness just means paying attention to what’s happening within and around you; listening more attentively to our own experiences and to the world around us (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Being able to practice mindfulness allows you to emotionally regulate more effectively. Any moment can become a mindfulness moment. You don’t need to take extra time out of your day to practice mindfulness. Many workplaces have ongoing mindfulness workshops that can help you further develop this skill.
Download my free 5-day audio program and learn to self-regulate the right way.
During the 5 days, I’m going to share with you exactly how to:
- Pay attention to what’s happening around you and get you to be more mindful.
- Create more opportunities for yourself.
- Improve the relationships in your life.
- Help you take action towards a goal, from either contemplating a change to preparing for it.