For some people, there is a mistaken assumption that emotional regulation problems are a challenge often too closely associated with people who have special needs. It generally brings to mind a child with autism screaming due to their triggers and unable to manage their emotional responses. On the other hand, it is also too generally associated with people who have severe mental issues like anger management, depression, addiction and so forth.
In reality, emotional regulation can still be a common challenge even for neurotypical individuals who are more-or-less mentally healthy!
This is important because refusing to acknowledge that you have been having emotional regulation problems is already the first sign of diminishing mental health.
Hence, it is important to identify some of the more common challenges to emotional regulation that many normal people experience everyday. Doing so will enable you to catch yourself and be more conscious before falling into a false sense of security about your mind’s well-being.
1. Stress and Anxiety
Most people talk of stress and anxiety only if the person has reached boiling point levels and has begun engaging in harmful behaviour and bad coping mechanisms. It also more commonly believed that this boiling point was reached due to a traumatic event or bad circumstances (such as a divorce, struggling with poverty, etc).
The truth though is that we all experience stress and anxiety all the time! They are a natural part of how our minds perceive threats. Therefore, if you are habitually mismanaging them, you are still just as likely to experience the same serious problems even if you have had a normal, healthy environment.
2. Response to Sounds and Other Stimuli
People with special needs are characterised by high sensitivity to sounds and emotionally react accordingly. However, that doesn’t mean a regular person is 100% immune to those triggers. It is only that you are more resilient and have the ability to properly manage your reaction to stimulation.
Just like stress and anxiety, however, you can’t be complacent about the natural limits of how even your normal brain is being triggered by sound and stimuli. As a matter of fact, there is a lot of ongoing research into the negative, draining effects that low frequency sounds have on the body! Put that on top of the negative effects of loud, unharmonious noise and it is actually quite possible that you are being exhausted and stressed by the things you hear without actually realising it!
3. Motivation and Mood
This might surprise some but the act of motivating oneself to get daily tasks is also another challenge of emotional regulation. Too often we associate it with other things like laziness or tiredness but when you get to the bottom of it, those are really emotions that you are experiencing and they can still be controlled with the right strategies.
The same goes when we have a bad mood but decide to make sure this mood doesn’t hamper our ability to do our jobs. That is also another job of emotional regulation because you are working to manage negative feelings and reduce their intensity in order to stay focused on work.
All in all, it can be quite risky to think that just because you don’t struggle with any sort of disability, you are completely without emotional regulation problems. That is why it is best to acknowledge the little forms these problems take so you will have a more mature understanding when it comes to managing your emotions.
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