What is Emotion Regulation?

We all experience moments when our emotions control our actions. When this happens, we often regret the things we say or do and wish we had been able to keep our emotions in check. There are techniques—like meditation—that can allow you to do just that, along with various other benefits, like mood improvement and increased compassion and empathy.

Recent Posts on Emotion Regulation

Are You Angry or Hangry?

By Temma Ehrenfeld on August 28, 2015 in Open Gently
Don't have angry discussions on an empty stomach. And if your husband is angry at you, make sure he's fed.

Intimate Relationship Dynamics

They worst thing your partner says goes into long-term memory; the worst thing you say does not. Natural selection favored recording injury we suffer more than injury we inflict.

Why Are We So Prone to Feeling Crazy?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on August 27, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
How our nature nurtures feelings of insanity. If we’re not stressed out and feeling crazy right at this moment, we’ve probably paid a recent visit to that neighborhood – and are likely to return in the very near future. Our own thinking may twist us – but it can also uncrumple us again.

On-Air Shooting Raises Specter of "Bullying"

Before we are content to establish Flanagan’s ‘underlying mental instability,’ or situate the tragedy at the intersection of graphic video games and life, we must consider the ways in which our culture is fast paced and unforgiving.

More Music, More Empathy

By Robert H. Woody Ph.D. on August 25, 2015 in Live... In Concert
Music is often called a universal language because it seems to speak to the emotions of disparate groups of people. In this light, some believe music has almost magical powers toward helping people find common ground with others seen as unlike themselves. So is music a uniquely powerful tool in building human empathy?

Anger's Allure: Are You Addicted to Anger?

By Jean Kim M.D. on August 25, 2015 in Culture Shrink
Anger is becoming an epidemic; it's worth exploring the biological and psychological reasons why anger can become addictive for people, and alternatives to kick the habit.

More Evidence For Meditation

By Temma Ehrenfeld on August 25, 2015 in Open Gently
Chinese mindfulness practice can lower cortisol levels in a week.

Psychotherapy as a Learning Experience

Therapy is a learning experience. Perhaps findings from the neuroscience of learning and memory can suggest ways to improve the storage of memories that are formed during a therapy session.

Practice Waiting

By Karyn Hall Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Pieces of Mind
So many times life is lived at a fast pace. Practice slowing down daily decisions and reactions to make more effective decisions and not act impulsively when you are emotionally overwhelmed.

Helping Kids Thrive in Middle School and High School

Early adolescence is a time of vulnerability and possibility, and whether they realize it or not, young people need their parents as much as they did as toddlers. Kids are moving toward independence, but parents still have an enormous role making sure they are safe, and increasing their chances of creating happily productive adult lives for themselves. Here are 10 ideas.

Dealing with an Intense Person

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 21, 2015 in How To Do Life
Hard-driving people can be invaluable...if you know how to bring out the best in them.

Love Is a Feeling, Love Is a Plan

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 19, 2015 in Ambigamy
Don't tell me you love me if you don't feel it, but tell me you love me when you don't feel it, yet still want to stay together.

Make It a Happy Start to School: Our Top 10 Secrets

Here are some ideas for parents who want to ease their child’s return to the classroom. There are thoughts on planning ahead, paying close attention, nurturing creativity, being reassuring, making real-world connections, encouraging exploration, supporting good work habits, making time for play, finding a healthy balance, and advocating as needed.

What to Do When Life Hurts

By Leslie Becker-Phelps Ph.D. on August 18, 2015 in Making Change
Adversity can cut deep, like a psychic dagger. The pain is real, and the psychic scar can last a lifetime. While you probably wouldn’t choose adversity, you can choose how to respond to it. You can choose to listen to what it has to teach and to be better in some way for the lessons it offers.

Grief Out Of Order: Apocalyptic Loss and "The Walking Dead"

"The Walking Dead" demonstrates how stages of grief follow no universal order. Before we discover how new characters on "Fear the Walking Dead" respond to the zombie apocalyse, look back at how one of the original program's characters faced loss and bereavement. What do these reactions mean for ongoing survival in a complicated world? What might Kübler-Ross say?

Make Envy Your Friend—and Keep Your Friends

By Temma Ehrenfeld on August 17, 2015 in Open Gently
Envy is normal but dangerous if it combines with anger.

Recent Research on REM Sleep Functions

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on August 16, 2015 in Dream Catcher
REM has been shown to be genetically determined and important for emotional memory.

Are You a Quitter? Time to Bulk Up Your Willpower

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on August 14, 2015 in Fixing Families
The antidote to being a quitter is recognizing where you get stuck and learning to override these emotions. Tips for developing perseverance.

Emotion Regulation

Before you know that you’re sad, you’re motivated to drink or eat too much. Before you know that you feel vulnerable, you’re motivated to blame, deny, or avoid. Before you know you’re ashamed, you’re motivated to seek quick adrenalin through active or passive aggression.

A Mom-tervention

How do you find the courage to resist a bully? My cousin found it when her mother urgently needed protection from her father. They tried to sneak away when he wasn't looking, but the cat escaped and my cousin had to go back and face her Dad. In that moment, she learned to believe in her power to set boundaries. She will enjoy that skill forever.

When You're Not Supposed to Laugh

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 13, 2015 in On Having Fun
For some people, like people with autism, or people who think of themselves as rejected, isolated, alienated; Not Laughing games are probably more important than we could possibly guess.

Through Rose-Coloured Glasses

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on August 10, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Happiness typically occurs through a) the frequency and intensity of pleasant moods, b) the infrequency of unpleasant moods, and c) how well we are able to view the world around us in a positive way. While it's a common folk saying that happy people look at the world through "rose-coloured glasses." does feeling happy really make us more likely to focus on positive things?

Grid Irony? Taunting Initiatives and the NFL

With taunting penalties on the books since the mid 1980's, the NFL has the opportunity to take on much more than jeers, derision, and game-related 'in-your-face' posturing. By modelling and showcasing what it already proclaims—that ridicule, disparagement and discrimination will not be tolerated—the league reinforces social, anti-bullying agendas.

The Key to Experiencing and Handling Stress in a Healthy Way

The raincoat refers to the resources that protect you from experiencing something as stressful, while the towel reflects how rapidly you can recover. These resources determine the extent to which stress contributes to stress-mediated disease states like cardiovascular disease and mental illness

Anger at Our Children

Your reaction to the child's behavior depends completely on how you feel about yourself.

A Punished Dog Is an Aggressive Dog

Physically punishing human children leads to higher levels of aggression and data now shows that the same holds for dogs.

I am a Sourpuss and I Deserve to Be!

By Cortney S. Warren Ph.D. on August 05, 2015 in Naked Truth
Often, we use challenging real-life circumstances to justify undesirable thoughts, behavior and emotional states. This is not in our best interest. We can choose to change our perspective to focus on the positive. At the end of the day, it is a choice —and your choice will affect your life fulfillment and happiness.

What Does Your Face Really Tell the World About You?

The phenomenon of “Resting Bitch Face (RBF)” is a new take on an old problem; namely, that women need to smile to be seen favorably. This raises the question of how we communicate our feelings through our faces and what we can, or cannot, change about how we’re perceived.

Why Do People Like Sad Songs?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on July 31, 2015 in Hot Thought
The emotional impact of music does not come from imparting particular emotions, but rather from being emotionally engaging in general. So it does not matter whether a song is happy or sad, only whether it has an emotional impact on the listeners.

The Value of Sadness

We tend to pass on the message that sadness is bad and should be avoided. Yet, research has shown that sadness can be an adaptive emotion with real benefits. Sadness can make us feel more vital and centered within ourselves. So, why is it that we are so afraid to feel sad?