Emotional regulation: Skills, exercises, and strategies

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Regulating your emotions can help you succeed in your studies, career, and life. We often end up making wrong choices due to poor emotional reasoning. Students, in particular, are surrounded by thousands of situations where they need to check their emotions. For instance, a student failing an exam could feel depressed (a strong sign of emotional disturbance). 

In this article, we will look at the Importance of Teaching Students Self-Regulation Skills through strategies, skills, and exercise. 

Top Five Emotional Regulation Skills

To regulate emotions, you need to identify them, name them, and create a strategy to deal with them. The first step to regulating emotions is to understand which emotion is causing you more problems. 

1. Identify the Emotion: Introspection is a great way to understand your feelings. For instance, do you get angry when you get low grades? What feelings do you experience when getting low or even high grades? 

2. Name the Emotion: Once you start understanding the emotions that trouble you, name it. What is it? Do you get sad, disappointed, and resented when you get low exam grades? Naming the emotion will help you understand how to deal with it. 

3. Create a space: Now, at least you can name the emotion that troubles you; it’s time to create a space to talk to yourself. Suppose you are sad about getting low grades; go for some alone time and talk to yourself. Tell yourself, ‘It’s okay to get a low grade. I can do better.’ Sometimes, isolating helps in easing the emotion. Or if you have someone to talk with, don’t hesitate and approach the person. You will feel better. 

4. Accept the Emotion: Now, you also need to accept the emotion. If you are sad about getting good grades, accept the emotion and don’t hide it from others. Sometimes, sharing emotions does help create a better version of yourself.

5. Practice Meditation: Meditation is a great way to live in the moment and get ready for the future. Focus on what matters – the goals.

Top Five Strategies to Regulate Emotions

By now, you can identify emotions and name them. We will now look at some strategies to help you regulate emotions. 

1. Identify the Triggers: Our emotions are triggered by situations. For instance, a student with stage fear might feel afraid to perform on the stage. So, which emotion is triggered at what time is crucial to understand to regulate the emotions? In the case of stage fear, practicing can help. 

2. Check for Physical Symptoms: Does your heart start pumping hard when anxiety strikes, or do you feel shortness of breath? Understand the physical symptoms to experience when you have emotional disturbance. Try relaxing the physical symptoms to control your emotional outbreak. 

3. Start Reasoning: Sometimes our emotional the disturbance is due to our assumptions. For instance, a student with stage fear may assume everyone will laugh at him. But, reasoning yourself and asking what could be the other outcomes. The audience might clap and appraise the performance. 

4. Stay Positive: Keep away the negative thoughts. Always tell yourself you can do it. You have prepared well, and there is nothing to fear about. 

5. Prepare the Response: It is also highly helpful to prepare the response beforehand. For instance, if the audience claps and smiles, you can bend your head to thank them. 

Top Four Emotional Regulation Exercises:

1. Breathing Exercises: There are three types of breathing exercises you can do to regulate your emotions:

  • Counting the breaths – count five inhaled and seven exhaled breaths for 2-5 minutes. 
  • Breathe Shifting: Place one hand on the chest and the other on the abdomen. Breathe in and out with closed eyes. Feel the shifting of breath from abdomen to chest. 
  • Relaxed Breathing: Close your eyes and exhale while relaxing your muscles. 

These breathing exercises will certainly help you calm down tensed tissues and emotions. 

2. Emotional Catharsis: Catharsis means releasing strong emotions. If you have a strong urge to cry, find an alone place and cry. Don’t stop. Don’t suppress the emotion. Let it go. It will relax you. But do it in your alone space.  

3. Mindfulness: Understand your emotions and act accordingly. If you are angry about anything, don’t pressure yourself to laugh. Sometimes, a smile is enough to control anger. 

4. Self-awareness: Know what your body is experiencing and how to help yourself. Take strategies to relax your tensed muscles. 


Regulating your emotions can help you achieve goals in your life. You can do better if you control your mind and body in all situations. 

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