Emotional Regulation (Managing how we are feeling)
We are emotional beings, that is because we are human and experience our world through our senses which create emotions as a result. We might like something that we see, we hate a song, we desire something new. We feel sad as someone that we love has left, we laugh at our favourite TV programme etc.
We are engulfed in our emotions and this is what makes life interesting and worth living. However, if we get stuck in emotional feelings that make us feel sad, depressed or in a low mood of any type they definitely need to be changed. That is when we might need to come and talk with someone about these emotional feelings that bring us down, especially when we find it hard to get away from them.
When a client comes to a therapist, maybe because they are stuck in a pattern of negative emotions. The therapist will want for the client to identify first what they are actually feeling.
It is not good enough to say that you are feeling down or even that you are depressed. There is possibly a need to define it more e.g., are you sad, lonely or even demotivated that presents itself as being depressed.
When you know exactly what you are feeling you have a much better chance of changing same. Once the emotion is identified, then the next question is why I am feeling this way e.g. sad. You might be feeling this way so long you do not even know, anymore - you just are feeling sad. You might be able to identify a number of reasons why you are sad, but they could be the current reasons they might not be the reason that you started to feel sad, in the first place.
We do have control in how we feel. For, example as you walk into a party you can decide so by saying: I am going to enjoy myself tonight or I am will hate this. There is much a better chance that you will enjoy something if you go into it with a mindset that I am going to enjoy this.
There are also different things that we can do to reduce the feeling of sadness, as we might feel sad as someone that has passed that we loved. Other examples include: coming and talking about these emotions and why we are feeling the way we are feeling - can in many instances reduce the emotion.
We can use physical exercise to release chemicals that counter the negative feelings. In certain instances, the client might need to take an e.g. antidepressant for a short period of time, while also coming to therapy to discover the origins of these feelings and discovering ways of reducing or eliminating same. Eventually taking the antidepressant can be stopped in conjunction with your GP’s supervision.
If you have any comments on the above please contact me as shown below.
Thanks for reading
Dr Dermot Casey
Counselling Psychologist, Cork, Ireland.