Have you ever had a moment where you’re conversing with someone and you simultaneously think about what it is you are doing or how you sound while speaking to that person?
Perhaps you started to increase your voice or started to sound emotional. You’re still speaking, you’re still wavering your hands in the air. Your facial expressions are mildly exaggerated and you look like you may lose it soon.
But you don’t. Because you caught yourself. In the quickest of moments, you readjust yourself so as to not go overboard. You take a deep breath. You tell yourself to remain calm throughout the conversation.
Relationship expert Tracy Mcmillan calls this ‘emotional regulation’.
It’s when you are able to step back amidst an on-going situation, and to view it from a macro perspective or satellite view. It’s about cultivating that part of you that is an observer.
“It’s being able to say … oh here I am, doing that thing that I do, having those feelings that I have, reacting the way that I react. When you are able to do this, you give yourself choices. Choices on how to change your behaviour,” Mcmillan says in an Instagram post.
It’s a great tip and I do realise I have actually been doing this without realising, though it’s only recent and I figure, it’s come with some maturity.
Emotional regulation is healthy and is necessary. It’s a good self-regulating mechanism that helps us to reflect on our actions, whether negative or positive, and it’s a good way to protect and prevent us from hurting relationships we have with people.