Emotional self regulation and co regulation
Nothing quite stabilises your relationships as much as being able to soothe yourself when you’re upset. We call this emotional self-regulation and co-regulation.
Recall a time when something unexpected and/or upsetting happened? Did your emotions rise? What did you do? Without suppressing or rationalising or projecting these feelings onto your partner, family, or another (oops you don’t do that do you? don’t worry it happens) could you settle and find your balance? That’s what matters.
If you can find your way back to compassion and awareness, you are a river. I mean that in the nicest way! Every relationship needs a river, and ideally, TWO people who can reliably be a solid, strong, reliable, trustworthy, compassionate steady flow.
Emotional self-regulation and co-regulation follow each other developmentally. First we ideally experience supportive caring co-regulation then as we get older we learn to self-regulate. To do this for ourselves.
Who was the person that you learned to reach out and be comforted by? That person showed you whether co-regulation is a good thing or not.
Then how did you learn to self-regulate? That’s vital so you have the capacity to co-regulate your partner if they get overwhelmed by emotions. We all need support at times.
You’ve got to be able to be there for yourself emotionally to be able to also be there to soothe the one you love. You can’t soothe someone else if you’re cut off or reactive emotionally.
Think about people you know who you feel good around because you know they’re able to do this regulating thing. Compared to those that you know who struggle with this. Remember not to mistake suppression or repression as being a regulated rock person.
How do I regulate my emotions?
You already have ways that you try to discharge or deal with your emotions. What you do may or may not be healthy for you or your relationship. What do you do? Acknowledge this and take a long hard look at how well that works for you and your partner.
If you think you do this well. Great. Now go ask your family, partner, close friends.
You don’t need to be perfect.
You do need to bring emotional self-regulation and co-regulation, to your relationship. That is present, empathic, honest from your heart and, emotionally responsible. Organising your thoughts, feelings and body sensations through with awareness is essential.
How do I emotionally co-regulate?
In other words, how do I help someone who has emotions overwhelming them, settle and ground?
Listening without an agenda is the primary thing you can do. Engaging and giving your attention, with eye contact if that’s appropriate in your culture. Touch if consented to is also soothing. “Mmmm” and “is there more?”- is supportive.
Staying in your own skin rather than reacting back is vital to be the safe place that allows the other’s emotions to unravel and calm. Put down the goal of being right or correcting the other. Be there for them.
Learn how to regulate emotions, at my online course – based on Nonviolent Communication https://everydaylove.com.au/connection-essentials