Think of a situation or person that has triggered negative emotions in you. What did you do? Try not to judge the situation, just be the observer. How did you react? Did you heart rate increase? Did your breath become shallow? Any muscle tension? Maybe you said something you wish you could take back? Did you eat your feelings? Reach for an alcoholic beverage or sugary treat? It is not unusual to crave unhealthy foods when dealing with stressful situations. Its honestly not your fault! Stress causes your adrenal glands to release a hormone called cortisol. When this happens, you may notice an increase in appetite and a desire to eat sugary, salty, or fatty foods. THIS is the fight or flight response. It is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening.
Self-regulation or controlling and managing your emotions can help you better deal with conflict, manage stress, and achieve goals.
Triggers are everywhere! They are things, events or people that can spark negative emotions. Children only learn the coping skills their parents have. If we have never been taught how to regulate our emotions, or even that our emotions are valid, that can follow us into adulthood. We all have different thresholds for emotional intensity. When something or someone pushes us out of our window of tolerance, we make decisions that feel good in the moment, but don’t serve us well long term. This could be buying something we can’t afford, yelling at our kids, binge eating, drinking alcohol or smoking.
By building self-control and learning how to self regulate, we are better able to accept situations as they arise and understand that while we might have impulses to respond to or behave in specific ways, we don’t necessarily need to act on them. Radical acceptance is the process by which we accept stressful situations to manage our reactions. Your emotions are valid but they do not have to dictate your behavior!
Being mindful about our emotions can give us the strength to not indulge or obey its needs. Avoiding our feelings always makes them harder in the long run.
How do we build self-control? It starts with the basics:
Eat balanced meals to help manage the ups and downs of life
Limit mood alternating drugs like alcohol, caffeine and other substances.
Get your sleep! Sleep has a strong connection with the hormones that control mood and appetite, and when we’re tired, we’re biologically vulnerable to binging since food gives us energy.
Increase positive emotions by keeping a gratitude journal.
Exercise-people who regularly exercise have been shown to have more self-control than non-exercisers.
Learn tools like mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises and yoga to help regulate your emotions.
The list above sounds easy enough, but in a world where we are constantly on the move, it can be difficult. It can feel like we are CONSTANTLY in fight or flight but you get to choose. It takes work, but having someone to help you through works. Studies continue to show that working with a coach is more effective in reducing procrastination and facilitating goal attainment than doing it on your own.
Stay curious! Be the notice of your emotions and incorporate a pause in all situations. Become more mindful. When these triggers present themselves, you are better able to handle negative emotions and move away from self-sabotoging behaviors.
Life is challenging! It is so easy to let our emotions dictate how we respond to a situation. In order to deal with challenging situations you must reduce your emotional vulnerability and feel grounded to be able to deal with the world around you. You can not people, how they think or how they treat you around, but you can control the way you react! Say it outlaid!! “I can not control the world around me but I CAN control the way I react!” This is so powerful!
People who can manage their emotions and control their behavior are better able to manage stress, deal with conflict, and achieve any goal-yep, including weight loss!
I would love to hear your tools for self-regulation! What do you struggle with most often? Kids? Work? Who or what triggers you? Comment below! If you have questions on how to get started or just to figure out the next right step…I can help! Schedule your free no obligation discovery call and let me help you get started.
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