Feel it, Name it, Breathe: Regulating Your Emotions

Information enters the brain through our senses.  When information is overwhelming or stressful, instinct takes over.  Instead of choosing a response, we become reactive.   The three most common reactive tendencies are flight, fight and freeze.  Emotional self-regulation is a cornerstone of emotional intelligence and foundational in developing mental wellness.

Strategy:  Feel it, Name it, Breathe

GOAL:  increase responsiveness

TASK:  identify and regulate emotions

  • Identify your reactive tendency.  What are you most likely to do in a stressful situation?  This is your go-to coping strategy for dealing with conflict:

Flight (withdraw/placate)

Fight (pursue/attack)

Freeze (shut down)

  • Identify your preferred response, ie: share my feelings/thoughts in a tricky situation.
  • Feel it: When you are feeling overwhelmed, slow down and allow the emotion to surface.  Do not push it away or ignore it.
  • Name it: Identify the nuance of the emotion. Use a feeling chart if needed.
  • Breathe deeply through the experience, counting backwards from 10.
  • Remind yourself that the feeling will pass.
  • Choose  how you would like to respond.

Shyamala Kiru, D.Min.

shyamala_portraitAbout Shyamala

Shyamala Kiru has spent over a decade working with hundreds of individuals, couples and families. She is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist with the American and Ontario Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently serves as their Chair of Public Relations. She holds a Masters in Counselling and a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition to her private practice in Markham, she is a consultant for the Health Services Team at a York Region Private School and is a media expert for sources such as Chatelaine and the Globe and Mail. You can also find her the panel of Discovery Channel’s National TV show, Canada’s Worst Driver. She regularly delivers psycho-educational workshops as well as professional development for schools all across York Region. With an approach that is sensitive and down to earth, Shyamala brings authenticity and energy to her work with people of all cultures and backgrounds.

June 7, 2017

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