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Self-regulation refers to the ability to manage your emotions and behaviour in a way that aligns with your goals and values. It involves being able to control your impulses, delay gratification, and adapt to changing circumstances. Self-regulation is an important component of emotional intelligence, as it allows you to navigate challenging situations and achieve your goals.

An example of self-regulation is when someone feels frustrated by a colleague's behaviour but chooses to respond in a calm and professional manner. They might recognize their own emotional reaction and take steps to manage it, such as taking a few deep breaths or stepping away from the situation briefly. By regulating their emotional response, they can communicate more effectively and avoid damaging their relationship with their colleague.

Another example of self-regulation is when someone sets a goal to exercise regularly and creates a plan to achieve it. They might schedule time in their calendar for workouts, enlist a friend for accountability, and track their progress over time. By regulating their behaviour and sticking to their plan, they can achieve their goal of improving their physical health.

Self-regulation is a critical component of emotional intelligence and personal growth. By managing your emotions and behaviour in a way that aligns with your goals and values, you can achieve greater success and happiness in your personal and professional lives.

Becoming better at self-regulation involves developing a set of skills and strategies to manage your emotions and behaviour in a way that aligns with your goals and values. Here are some techniques that can be helpful, notice the overlap with the skillsets from Self-awareness:

  • Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of your emotions and reactions. By developing the skill of non-judgmental observation, you can gain greater control over your emotional responses and make more informed choices.

  • Self-reflection: Taking time to reflect on your emotions and behaviour can be a helpful way to develop greater self-awareness and self-regulation. This can involve asking yourself questions such as "What triggered my emotional response?", "What values am I trying to uphold in this situation?", “can I stick to this routine?”, or “I did/didn’t like my response, and wish I did it this way next time.”

  • Cognitive restructuring: This involves identifying and challenging negative or unhelpful thoughts that can lead to emotional distress. By replacing negative thoughts with more balanced or positive ones, you can regulate your emotions and behaviours more effectively.

  • Developing healthy habits: Regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can all contribute to improved self-regulation. When the body is well-nourished and rested, you are better able to manage stress and regulate yourself. This is notable if you find self-regulation more difficult when you’re tired or hungry (yes this is a real thing!).

  • Seeking support: Talking to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional can be a helpful way to gain perspective and develop strategies for self-regulation.

Overall, becoming better at self-regulation involves a combination of self-awareness, skill development, and support. By practicing these techniques regularly, individuals can develop greater emotional intelligence and achieve their goals more effectively.


Once you’ve used your self-awareness skills to identify areas you want to regulate, try it. Do it today! Delaying gratification by making dinner instead of dining out to save money, or waiting to eat ice–cream after a quick workout to manage calories. Both are wins on the self-regulation front. When it comes up next - a social situation where you would respond in a way that makes you feel bad afterward - regulate yourself and respond differently. Trial and error on the path to you fulfilling your goals is the result of regulating yourself.


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