The Importance of Emotional Regulation in Recovery

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When in recovery from a substance use disorder, there are many changes that individuals are making in their lives to support their newfound goals. Some of the most common things people in recovery do is go to 12-Step meetings, see their therapist regularly, build out a daily schedule to offer them regular structure, and practice skills designed to keep them from using drugs or alcohol again. It is not an easy task to take on, however those in recovery know that if they do not focus on their well-being, it can be easy to slip back into old patterns. Therefore, one of the most prominent things to pay attention to is the importance of emotional regulation. 

What is Emotional Regulation?

The definition of emotional regulation is in its name – regulating one’s emotions. It refers to the ability for an individual to properly and effectively manage their emotions regardless of whichever situation they may be in. It also refers to building emotional resilience. Many people in recovery from substance use disorder find emotional regulation to be somewhat of a challenge, especially if they have spent a good deal of time attempting to silence their emotions with drugs or alcohol. However, there is great importance of emotional regulation in relation to recovery. Learning how to identify emotions, determine how to process them, and develop behaviors that are not destructive is all part of establishing good emotional regulation skills. 

Benefits of Emotional Regulation for Recovery

Recovery from substance use disorder, regardless of time, is a constant, ever-evolving process. It is absolutely possible to stop drinking and using drugs but continue to behave in ways similar to when they were actively addicted to substances. But, when a focus is placed on improving emotional regulation, individuals can experience several benefits in their recovery. 

The importance of emotional regulation is most noticeable when it helps individuals in recovery to improve upon their coping skills. Rather than turning to negative outlets to express or soothe heavy emotions, emotional regulation teaches individuals how to effectively handle distressing feelings without causing chaos in their lives. For example, instead of allowing stress to trigger the desire to drink, emotional regulation can help individuals develop healthier ways to decompress from the stress they are experiencing. 

Additionally, those who incorporate emotional regulation into their recovery can benefit from the creation of emotional resiliency. Recovery is an extremely vulnerable, raw time in a person’s life, and attempting to manage the gamut of feelings that can develop at this time can be hard. Emotional regulation gives individuals the tools needed to manage the emotions they feel without allowing them to fester into a much bigger problem.

It is no secret that many people in recovery experience mental health conditions. Working on emotional regulation and learning how to manage all types of feelings can help to reduce symptoms related to common mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. When in control of one’s emotions, individuals can benefit from being in better control of their mental health conditions.

How to Practice and Strengthen Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is not something that develops overnight. It takes time and effort to actively work on establishing healthy regulation of all types of emotions. It is extremely important that, when in recovery, individuals focus on practicing and strengthening their emotional regulation. Doing so will open the doors for a healthier, happier future. There are numerous ways to do this, including the following:

  • Face your emotions rather than attempting to disguise or ignore them
  • Work to identify and adjust the negative thinking patterns you have in an effort to replace the negative with positive
  • Engage in holistic practices, including those that are offered here at Clear Behavioral Health, such as yoga and meditation
  • Attend regular therapy sessions that allow you to focus on your unique needs and emotions

We experience a number of emotions each and every day, which is why practicing and strengthening emotional regulation skills is absolutely vital in the success of someone in recovery from substance use disorder. 

Importance of Emotional Regulation During the Holidays

There are not many other events that trigger one’s emotions more than the holiday season. Emotional regulation is of utmost importance at this time, as it can help individuals cope with the unexpected (and the expected). When able to control one’s own emotions, the holiday season can become much more enjoyable. That is because emotional regulation works to:

  • Help reduce reactions to distressing events
  • Increase one’s emotional stability and resiliency
  • Alter negative ways of thinking that could otherwise contribute to stress during this time
  • Empower individuals to make decisions that support their wellbeing as opposed to attempting to please others
  • Improve interpersonal relationships with others

The holidays, as joyful as they are, can be just as difficult for some. Those who are in recovery are often triggered at this time by friends, family members, the presence of alcohol at gatherings, etc. However, emotional regulation gives individuals the ability to support themselves in their recovery rather than get steamrolled by the chaos that the holidays can bring. 

What Should I Do If I Have Trouble Self-Regulating My Emotions?

If you are struggling to regulate your emotions, know that you are not alone. Not only do several people in recovery grapple with this, but so do people from all walks of life. Emotions can be big and overwhelming, making them easy to manage. If you need help learning how to build your emotional regulation skills, the best thing you can do is reach out to a therapist or other mental health specialist. They can help guide you as you work to develop proper emotional regulation. At Clear Behavioral Health, our team of mental health providers rank among some of the best in the business when it comes to addressing the needs of those in recovery, including those looking to improve upon their emotional regulation. 

Mental Health Treatment in Redondo Beach, CA

Learning how to regulate your own emotions can be a challenge, but with our team by your side, it does not have to be. If you are ready to get moving on the goal of better managing your emotions, call us right now at (877) 799-1985 or visit our website to learn more about how we can help.

You do not need to go through any recovery challenges on your own. Get in touch with us right now to get started on a brighter tomorrow.

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