Emotional regulation and anxiety: Why a pause matters

Updated: Feb 23

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”. Viktor Frankl.

In the face of a real threat, fear may help to protect us or to act as a motivating force. However, when the perceived threat is imaginary or our fear is acting to overprotect us due to being exposed to prolonged stressful situations, it can feel like we have little control over our anxious response. Anxiety has the ability to hijack the rational and logical parts of our brain and the emotion can escalate quickly, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and at the mercy of our fear.

So how do we stop this overwhelming fear in its tracks? This is where emotional regulation comes into play. Emotional regulation involves the ability to exert control over our emotional state and is all about pausing between our a) feelings, thoughts and physical sensations and b) our reactions.

As you may know, this is easier said than done. In the past, you may have consciously decided to control your emotional reactions, such as by thinking that “this will be the last time I get so anxious”, but you may have found that in stressful situations, a conscious decision by itself rarely gets effective results.

However, working with our subconscious mind can provide something different and new. By positively offering suggestions to our subconscious, hypnotherapy can prove to be an effective tool in emotional regulation. New Leaf Hypnotherapy & Counselling can help you learn to cope with strong emotions such as anxiety by allowing you to become aware of your triggers, quickly recognising the physical sensations and thoughts accompanying the emotion and then interrupting the process of the reaction by learning skills to short-circuit the reaction.

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