Emotional regulation (part 1)
"The myth surrounding regulation is that regulation means 'calm.' The goal of regulation is how to connect to myself in the midst of my activation. It is not about making it go away; it is not about calming it down."
- Lisa Dion (Teacher, Entrepreneur, Author,
Coach and Mother)
Somatic regulation tools have been a support for me for longer than I'm even fully aware of.
The body will often do things so instinctively to regulate, that many people won't notice when it's happening...
Placing a hand on the heart...
Shaking a limb...
Making a sound on an exhale...
Wrapping the arms around the body...
Sitting on the floor...
Humming a little tune...
The body attempts to take emotionally activating information and make it more digestible through movement, vocalization, establishing connection with self, another, an item or a space. And as the quote above says, regulation is not about pushing away emotion, or making emotions wrong or bad. Being regulated simply means that you're more able to choose how you respond.
The ability to choose takes practice—practice in sitting with discomfort and presence at the same time, and reminding the body that it's safe to feel the full spectrum of emotion.
And why is it valuable to practice this?
Because life will always find ways to push your buttons towards growth. That's called being human. When you learn how to regulate yourself, and learn about what circumstances are particularly activating for you, you can take care of yourself and your loved ones more effectively and find creative solutions for life's puzzles without losing yourself in the process.