Emotions are just raw sensations that seem to bubble up from the core of our beings, changing the way we feel and provoking us to behave in specific ways. A lot of the sensations that we feel are positive, like joy and peace. Others, though, don’t feel so good, like remorse or anger.
Simple observation, however, tells us that some people are better able to regulate their emotions than others. One individual might fly off the rails at the slightest provocation. At the same time, another will remain calm, even in the most extreme of circumstances. Why is there such a difference in how people react to emotions?
Neuroscientists don’t really understand why the brain generates emotion or how some people control it. However, the current science seems to suggest that we have two minds – one that produces the feeling, and another that regulates it.
In general, researchers believe that emotions emanate from the old parts of the brain we inherited from our ancestors. These structures seem most active when passions strike, churning out a bunch of chemicals and making us feel a certain way.
Regulation comes from the newer parts of the brain found in mammals called the neocortex (meaning “new rind”.) As humans, this structure comprises the vast majority of our grey matter and allows us to reflect on how we feel. It is, therefore, vital.
Why Some People Can Regulate Their Emotions
In childhood, kids begin to experience powerful emotions. Often, they can become overwhelming, causing temper tantrums and screaming matches. As they grow up, though, they get better at controlling them. And eventually, they emerge as adults with a healthier relationship to how they feel.
Some kids, however, don’t get a chance to develop emotional regulation. And that’s what ultimately sets them up for a life of psychological problems. They don’t build the necessary connections between the ancient parts of the brain and the neocortex. So controlling emotions becomes a challenge.
Strategies To Regulate Emotions
Fortunately, they are strategies that you can use to regulate emotions if you struggle.
Perhaps the most obvious is CBT. Here a therapist coaches you through your emotional problems, teaching you ways to regulate how you feel.
People then supplement this with relaxing activities that help them unwind. Things like aromatherapy, massage and meditation are all powerful ways to regulate emotions. Shopping for vape liquid deals can also help.
You can also practice self-knowledge to get a better grip on why you feel the way you do. Ancient philosophers understood the importance of “knowing yourself.” They saw it as a portal for understanding why their emotions were out of whack in the first place and a tool that they could use to realign them.
Self-knowledge is a long process of discovery. You often have to start with the basics, like the things you like and don’t like. And then, you begin probing deeper, thinking about how your childhood might have affected the way you feel. Eventually, you learn so much about yourself that you’re able to step in before your emotions get out of control.