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How to Self-Regulate like a Pro

Updated: Mar 22


Self-regulation is seriously a skill. We have all seen someone handle an issue so well that we wonder how we can be more like them or why we don't have those same skills. After reading this blog you too should be able to handle issues like a self-regulated pro. Are you ready for some self-regulation strategies? Let’s get started!


What is self-regulation?


Do you sometimes get annoyed by your inability to self-regulate? Maybe you cry during arguments, get visibly upset at work or just snap. Maybe you are wondering what self-regulating behaviour even looks like.




An individual with poor self-regulation might...


  • Get upset at minor inconveniences

  • Display anger or anxiety more often

  • Have low self-esteem or confidence

  • Blame others or themselves


An individual with healthy self-regulation might…


  • Adapt to change

  • Try to understand how others may be feeling

  • Have open communication

  • See good in others



Self-regulation skills


If you are starting to recognize that you may lack some basic self-regulation skills, then you are in the right place. Self-regulating behaviour is foreign to many of us and taking a step to improve in this area will benefit not just yourself but those around you too. Perhaps having seen someone model healthy self-regulation is what led you here in the first place. Now you can be that for someone else! I have listed some common and effective ways to improve your self-regulation skills.


Thought tracking


You are likely aware of the situations in which you personally struggle to self-regulate. Imagine that situation now and how it makes you feel and what actions result from it. You should be pretty good at identifying this because it is naturally what we pay most attention to when we get dysregulated. We can call the feeling “B” and the action “C”. Do you see what’s missing here? Yes; “A” is missing! So what is “A”? “A” is the thought you had that led you to “B” and “C” in the first place. “A” is the culprit here to your dysregulated behaviour.


Try this:


Step1: identify the event that occurred i.e. Jane double-booked you.

Step 2: identify the thought that you had as a result of the event i.e. Jane is incompetent.

Step 3: identify how that thought makes you feel i.e. angry.



Now start over and change your original thought to a healthier thought. Now, what do your "B" and "C" look like?

self-regulation skills

You can draw this triangle and go through a scenario at the end of the day, when you journal or when you feel stuck. This triangle helps you to see that more perspectives exist outside of the one you automatically chose; which was perhaps just out of habit.


Impulsivity


Think back to the last time you received a passive-aggressive email. Did you feel compelled to respond right away? It's hard not to take the b


ait. As hard as it might be; this is a great time for you to step away and take a break, grab a snack or go for a walk. When it comes to professionalism, we get a 24 to 48-hour window to respond before a response is considered late. Use that window of time! By the next day, your emotions have settled and you can better respond to the question in the email rather than the person's attitude.


Use this concept when it comes to texting, responding to requests, doing favours etc. You don't owe anyone an immediate response. If the situation is pressing, ask for more time before you respond. My favourite thing to do before I respond to something immediately is to ask myself, "is this an emergency?". If logically you can say it's not an emergency then don't respond until it feels like it's not an emergency to you anymore.



Accountability


We need to be accountable for our own behaviour rather than focusing on making someone else accountable for theirs. Have you ever felt so irritated by someone's behaviour that you put all your energy into getting them to understand what they are doing wrong? If someone or something comes to mind...ask yourself “why?” Why is it that you feel compelled to teach this person a lesson? Maybe it’s a friend, relative or your boss that comes to mind. Instead of getting them to change, what can you change? Can you set a boundary with this person instead of waiting for them to change?




Understand what is actually in your power or control. Don’t get caught up in teaching the other person a lesson. If this person needs to be held accountable, what are some other ways to go about it? Perhaps talking to HR, asking for space, or ending a relationship.



Summary


These tools should help you to change your perspective, be more productive and prevent conflict. Want to see more? Join our newsletter and follow us on Instagram.


Do you want to dig deeper? We offer accessible Online Therapy. Book a consultation today to get started and get the most out of your new self-regulation tools.