Emotion Regulation

Emotion regulation to reduce distress appears to be a fundamental human behaviour that doesn’t just happen within us, but between us. We’re constantly consoling others and being consoled, from instances of forgettable disappointment to life-changing traumas. Unfortunately, mainstream psychiatry and psychology, as well as the self-help movement, is burdened by the expectation that self-regulation skills must be mastered to achieve wellbeing. … Feelings such as anger, jealousy, shame, guilt, loneliness and grief are often triggered by changes to one’s position within a group or to important personal relationships. So, if emotional processes are bound up with social rupture, it follows that they’re likely to play a role in social repair. … Friends, family and social groups are kinds of ‘extended frontal lobes’, as the psychiatrist James Griffith likes to say. They help us to calm down and cope with loss, trauma and violation. … One important step is to recall that being helped by others is not a sign of weakness: it is fundamental to what we do and who we are. We should be willing to seek help when we need it, and to connect with others who are in distress. We all need more confidence that we can be helpful simply by being there, listening, and sharing another’s emotion.


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