What is Emotional Regulation?

Emotional Regulation can be defined as the ability to manipulate your own emotional state using other executive functions. This means learning to use words, images, and your own self-awareness to process and alter how we feel about, and how to respond in a more adaptive way to perceived triggers.

What Executive Functions Aid Emotional Regulation?

Emotional Regulation is one of the most important executive functions. These enable us to function productively everyday. When our executive functions fail, we also have trouble analysing, planning, organising, scheduling, and completing tasks.

Executive functions can be assessed by the strength of these seven skills:

1. Self-awareness: Simply put, this is self-directed attention

2. Inhibition: Also known as self-restraint

3. Non-Verbal Working Memory: The ability to hold things in your mind. Essentially, visual imagery — how well you can picture things mentally

4. Verbal Working Memory: Self-speech, or internal speech. Most people think of this as their “inner monologue”

5. Emotional Self-Regulation: The ability to take the previous four executive functions and use them to manipulate your own emotional state. This means learning to use words, images, and your own self-awareness to process and alter how we feel about things.

6. Self-Motivation: How well you can motivate yourself to complete a task when there is no immediate external consequence

7. “Self-play” — how we play with information in our minds to come up with new ways of doing something.

By taking things apart and recombining the above executive functions in different ways, we’re planning solutions to our problems.

What to find out more?

Get in touch to get a Free Test about the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF). This is a written survey that you can complete to assess executive functioning.

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