As a mom, I can tell when I’m out of sorts. Sometimes I don’t stress about the sticky floor or the grumbling kids. And then there are days when everything seems wrong, and deep down I know the “wrong” is something inside me. Everything makes me angry. Have you ever had days like that?
The problem isn’t my life, it’s my emotional self-regulation. An easy way to explain emotional self-regulation is the ability to calm yourself down.
My emotions often get out of check when I’m tired or overwhelmed. Adopting seven kids has made both common. Yet here are some ways I’ve learned to self-regulate:
1. I must get perspective. I’ve learned to step back from a situation and looking at it objectively. For example, Will it really matter—in light of eternity—that my sink is full of dishes today? Bible reading and prayer helps me gain perspective the most. The quiet of the day tends my soul, and I’m reminded that this day’s troubles are small compared to God’s big plans.
2. I must understand I am an emotional being. It’s okay to have emotions. There are times we should be sad or frustrated. Anger even makes sense at times, but acting out on our emotions in negative ways is never right.
When I’m in the middle of a hard situation, such as dealing with an angry kid, my emotions will naturally react. My heart will pound. My jaw will tighten. Anger becomes a physical response, but it still doesn’t mean I need to act out on it. I’ve learned to tell myself, “My body is responding, but I still have control. I don’t have to be impulsive. I don’t have to act angry.”