Emotional self-regulation is the ability to modify or control your thoughts, emotions, actions and words. Self-regulating your emotional state can stop you from saying or doing things that might hurt others or yourself. Impulsive behaviours, for example, can significantly damage personal and professional relationships. Emotional self-regulation lets you pause before you do or say something harmful that may stop you from achieving short or long-term goals. Emotional self-regulation requires self-control, but it’s much more than simple self-policing. It also includes the ability to reframe challenging or disappointing experiences in positive ways and to live in accordance with your core value system.

Why is it important?
Emotional self-regulation is an important part of empathy. Regulating your feelings and reactions gives you time to listen and take other people’s feelings into account. It also helps you handle disappointment and react rationally to changes that are out of your control. Emotional self-regulation gives them the ability to calmly resolve conflict in a rational manner. It doesn’t get rid of anger, sadness, or disappointment. Rather, it provides a framework for dealing with those emotions. It also stops you from making things worse by reacting recklessly or impulsively to situations you can’t control.

3 strategies that can help manage emotions:


Mindfulness is a technique used during meditation. It refers to the practice of focusing your attention on the now, rather than on the past or future. It is a gentle strategy that enables your brain to let go of worry, guilt, and anxiety.

Cognitive reappraisal
Cognitive reappraisal is also referred to as cognitive re-evaluation. This emotional self-regulation strategy is the ability to change the way you think about and react to a potentially triggering situation. Changing how you interpret stressful occurrences has been shown to reduce stress and increase positive feelings.

Emotion suppression
Emotional suppression tamps down your emotions but doesn’t shift them. It postpones feeling them, which causes them to fester and grow. This self-regulation technique doesn’t alter your emotional state. It merely stops you from expressing how you feel to others. Emotion suppression can be helpful for the de-escalation of potentially challenging situations. However, it won’t improve emotional self-regulation long term.

Tips for emotional self-regulation:
You can strengthen and bolster emotional self-regulation through self-awareness and daily practice. These tips may help:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Practice pausing
  • Acknowledge your emotions