You don’t get to play all day. You can’t wear dress up clothes as part of your standard daily dress and you can’t hold onto the door handle while your mum tries to drag you away because you don’t want to go to work.
No. Fun. At. All.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions to be adult, we still behave like children. This is great if that means finger painting and seeing how high you can go on the swing. This is not great if it involves throwing tantys that hurt other people or make us feel bad about ourselves.
It’s surprisingly easy to be at the mercy of our emotions. Which translates to: it can be surprisingly easy to have tantys.
If you had parents that were tanty chuckers,
or you had parents that didn’t soothe you when you were upset as a kid,
or parents who didn’t teach you how to soothe yourself (not the “get over it” variety of soothing),
or if you lived in a highly charged environment where you were on alert all the time,
chances are you didn’t learn good emotion regulation.
Emotion regulation is what stops the bad emotions escalating, that stops the overwhelm, that stops the tanties.
The problem is, if we haven’t learnt the language of emotion regulation, we probably can’t recognise when we’re winding up until it’s too late.
I thought it might be possible to have technology help with recognising our rising emotions. I thought a heart rate monitor could beep a warning as our rising heart rate indicated rising emotions but my research revealed they’re not sensitive enough.
*****If anyone knows of one that is accurate and sensitive please let me know.*****
So I guess it’s back to doing it the standard way.
Dan Siegel, one of my favourite neuro psychs recommends a little strategy called “Move it or lose it”in his parenting book “The Whole Brain Child”.
Basically, when you feel yourself winding up, move your body or lose your sh*t. Star jumps, a run around the block, anything that diverts the emotion and uses the adrenalin that’s surging for some sh*t losing.
Yes, that’s correct. This is a strategy to teach children but ….if we haven’t learnt the language of emotion regulation, why not start with our a’s, b’s and c’s!
So whether your emotional storms are screaming rages, deer in the headlights overwhelm, or silent withdrawal from what’s around you, it’s never too late to learn emotion regulation.
If you want to know more about emotion regulation let me know.