Three Tools For Self-Regulation


First off, What is Self-Regulation?

Self regulation involves controlling one’s behaviour, emotions, and thoughts in the pursuit of long-term goals. More specifically, emotional selfregulation refers to the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses.

The reason I am writing about these tools, is because I have had to use them in my own life. To learn how to control my own emotions which sometimes like to run wild as a result of my own lived experience of trauma. So I am not a stranger to these tools and hope they can also assist you on your journey.

“A teacher cannot take a student, where they themselves have not been” -shauna paynter

Here are three methods of identifying and regulating emotions, thoughts and impulses. I have put the in the order in which I believe, are most effective.

1. Visual Journaling (Expressive Arts)

Self-exploration through visual journaling is an approach to treating stress, particularly with those individuals who have experienced intergenerational trauma.

Visual journaling is an emerging best practice in the treatment of historical trauma present in these cultural groups. Based on preliminary data, visual journaling has helped these individuals externalize traumatic stress and strengthen concepts of well-being.

A friend of mine, Susie Stonefield Miller, has an amazing website that goes over this type of Journalling and is worth checking out.

2. Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT focuses on 3 areas:

Accept your reactions and be present
Choose a valued direction
Take action.

The ACT experience of reworking your verbal connections to thoughts and feelings, known as comprehensive distancing can be extremely helpful in the treatment of anxiety or depression and many other psychological disorders

3. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

One of the major goals of CBT is for you to “become your own therapist” by learning skills that you can continue to practice after you’ve ended treatment. These studies show that people who learn CBT skills on their own can use these skills to keep feeling well. You can even begin before you start treatment and I suggest doing this through spontaneous journalling. Just start writing with the intention to discover your thoughts. Write whatever comes out of you, and just keep writing.

The cognitive techniques include:

  • Learning to identify your thought patterns.
  • Discovering how your thoughts affect your feelings and behaviours.
  • Discerning if your thoughts are accurate.
  • Replacing biased thoughts with more realistic ones.

For more information on these three methods or if you are interested in experiencing one of these, either through an individual session or a group class visit my website.


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