What is: Self-Regulation?

What is: Self-Regulation?

What is: Self-Regulation?

Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions, understand and adapt your behaviour in response to changing circumstances.

Being aware of your energy level (and basic emotions) means being able to identify what external experiences and internal thoughts result in that specific state.

The next step is to choose strategies that will help you adjust your energy level for the most effective response.

In real life, this may look like saying something like “I’m losing it! I need to go for a walk and cool off.”

If you take a brisk walk to calm yourself down, the rhythmic motion of your muscles and joints will use up some of the fight-or-flight chemicals that were flooding into your body.

After your brain has processed this information, it tells the rest of your body that “the danger is over” and you are able to think clearly again.

Energy self-awareness (arousal state)
Healthy coping strategies

Self-regulation is an important precursor to emotional regulation.
Self regulation gives you the space to then understand, evaluate
and take action on what you are feeling in a conscious and
effective way.

Four major types of self-regulation strategies are:

  • Self-monitoring (also called self-assessment or self-recording)
  • Self-instruction (also called self-talk)
  • Goal-setting.
  • Self-reinforcement.

Examples of self-regulation strategies:

  • Grounding – feel the weight of your body on your feet or sit bones and consciously connect with that gravitational pull.
  • Slow your inner dialogue and physiology down
  • Notice how fast you are feeling inside and consciously slow it down.
  • Soften your forehead and eyes – imagine them widening and relaxing.
  • Stomp your feet and notice the sensations moving from your feet all the way through your hips and spine.
  • Go for a brisk walk or run.
  • Bounce, shake or dance.
  • Remove external stimuli – give yourself space or change of environment.

The skills involved in self-regulation are necessary for achieving success in life and reaching our most important goals. These skills can also have a major impact on overall wellbeing.

Self-regulation is truly an important topic for everyone to consider. However, it might be even more important for parents and educators to learn about it, since it is an important skill for children to develop.