Do I Need to Learn Emotional Regulation to Achieve Recovery.jpg

Do I Need to Learn Emotional Regulation to Achieve Recovery?

Emotional regulation is a skill we begin to learn as young children. It allows us to recognize our emotions and express them. We spend this time learning to use healthy outlets for our emotions instead of unhealthy ones. However, if someone has struggled with trauma, abuse, and other factors beyond their control, they may bury their emotions or struggle to express themselves. It's important to remember that just because a person may struggle with regulating their emotions now doesn't mean that they cannot learn to do so later. It is never too late to seek help.

That's why emotional regulation is an essential skill for those working towards recovery from addiction and other mental health conditions. As a result, mental health care and treatment facilities such as Driftwood Recovery include emotional regulation as a part of treatment. Alongside other life skills, such as stress management and relapse prevention, emotional regulation can be one of the keys needed for a long and happy recovery.

Understanding what emotional regulation is can be a bit confusing to those who have never heard of it. Thankfully, anyone can get a grasp on it once it's broken down to its base concepts.

What Is Emotional Regulation?

There are several aspects to emotional regulation. Firstly, a person must be able to recognize what emotions they are experiencing. Second, they must healthily manage these emotions. Third, they must be able to respond to these emotions in a socially acceptable way. This does not mean that a person must keep themselves from experiencing strong emotions. Instead, emotional regulation is a tool that allows someone to accurately understand how they feel and respond appropriately.

For example, if you feel angry, it is not acceptable to hit or yell at another person to feel better. Instead, you can direct your anger into a productive and healthy outlet, such as painting. Emotional regulation can help someone manage their emotions without relying on drugs or other substances to numb them. A person who is used to hiding emotions to survive a past abusive situation may use emotional regulation to help them regain their full spectrum of emotions. Emotional regulation is not just a skill used to help manage emotions. It is also a tool used to help people heal.

Is There Such a Thing as ‘Bad’ Emotions?

An important fact learned in emotional regulation training is that there are no “bad” emotions. Our emotions exist for a reason. Without them, we become emotionally stunted and struggle with basic human connections.

An example of this is anger. People typically believe that anger is a bad emotion that people should strive to never feel. However, anger is an important emotion. It alerts you to injustices done against you and others. Anger is an emotion that inspires people to right serious wrongs in society. However, anger when used in in an unhealthy way can harm yourself and others. With training and practice, people can learn how to utilize an emotion like anger productively.

Ignoring your emotions is not healthy. Yes, emotions such as sadness when we experience grief or shame when we have done wrong to another are not fun to experience. However, these emotions help us learn and grow. The purpose of emotional regulation is to allow us to understand why these emotions are important and express them. Emotional regulation, however, is not to be used to decide what emotions you are allowed to feel.

Learning Emotional Regulation at Driftwood Recovery

At Driftwood Recovery, clients don't just enroll to recover from their conditions. It's also a place where a client can learn how to be a healthier person overall. Holistic treatment is about giving attention to all parts of a person during treatment. As a result, care is taken to address and nurture the emotional needs of each individual. Emotional regulation is a skill that is flexible enough to be incorporated into most therapies. This allows clients to obtain this vital skill, no matter what treatment program they are enrolled in.

Perhaps the most common way a client will receive emotional regulation training is through psychotherapy. Through therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), clients can learn how to recognize and accept their emotions. Therapies such as art and therapeutic recreation are used to teach clients how to express their emotions productively. These also allow clients to learn hobbies and other positive outlets for particularly difficult emotions.

Trauma-focused therapy is also important for those who have difficulties with their emotions due to trauma. It's common for those who lived through trauma to attempt to bottle up their emotions. If they don't acknowledge that these emotions exist, then they can pretend the traumatic event never happened. These therapies focus on using emotional regulation to allow clients to feel safe enough to express their emotions. It also helps clients learn how to regain their full emotional spectrum and feel confident once more.

Of course, every client is different, which is why each client is assessed when enrolling. This allows the professionals on staff to create a unique and individualized treatment plan. Those wanting help regulating their emotions should be honest with their treatment providers. They are not here to judge; they are here to provide help. Once you learn how to accept that help, you may find yourself feeling hope once again.

Learning how to regulate your emotions healthily is an important life skill. Without this skill, emotions like sorrow and anger can overtake you. This regulation can lead to several conditions, including addiction, in an attempt to cope with them. However, emotional regulation is a skill that can be learned and practiced. At Driftwood Recovery in Driftwood and Austin, Texas, clients learn life skills such as emotional regulation before they finish treatment. By utilizing this skill, clients have a greater ability to deal with stress and difficulty. If you are struggling with your mental health as well as regulating your emotions, don't wait to seek help. Reach out today by calling (512) 759-8330.