People often don’t understand their emotions and often see them as being wrong – which is untrue. If we are self-aware our emotions are great sources of information and internal feedback. If we are not self-aware and not able to manage our thoughts and emotions effectively we can fall into an emotional cycle which overwhelms us and results in inappropriate behaviours.
When participants on our program become emotional we get them to name the emotion, we then let them know that it is ok to be angry, sad, or upset, and we then get them to talk about what they feel is the underlying cause of the emotion. We educate them in the fact that things like anger are a secondary emotion often caused by other underlying emotions (frustration, fear, anxiety) and instead of trying to fight the emotion they need to work out how they can better ‘manage’, or eliminate the cause of the emotions.
Another aspect of emotional regulation is understanding our own thoughts about events which happen in our life. Events around us don’t directly cause the emotions; our emotion comes from the thoughts or beliefs we attach to the event. This is typical Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approach and whilst we don’t get into CBT with the participants we do educate them to become more self aware around their triggers, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and how they impact each other.
And finally we help them to understand the importance of being able to identify emotions of other people, and how they let themselves become impacted by the emotions of other people around them.