Ok, I will warn you in advance, today’s post is pretty PsychNerdy, but so important to your success as a college student; and really, it is important to your success as a human being.
Emotion Regulation is the platform from which you launch all of your academic skills. It’s true! Even researchers are finding this.
- “Students who can act on their emotions, trying to control them, tend to present better academic performance” (Pekrun, 2006; Pekrun et al., 2011).
- “How people regulate emotions affects their relationships, well-being, and stress” (Gross, 2002; Hochschild, 1983).
- “Individuals differ in their ability to regulate emotions, some choosing more successful strategies than others” (Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Salovey & Mayer, 1990).
Now are you Curious?!?!
Well, let’s get started with describing it. Emotion regulation is the ability to regulate emotions by modulating emotional experience to attain desired affective states and adaptive outcomes. Translation: learn the language of your emotions, what they are telling you, listen to the message, learn how to apply strategies that help you calm down and focus with the goal of successfully completing the task at hand.
SPOILER: It’s PsychNerd Time!
My favourite time 🙂
In one study, college students who scored higher on an assessment of their ability to regulate emotion reported having more positive relationships with others; less conflict and frustration in their relationship with a close friend; and stronger connections, affection, and support in their relationship with a parent (Lopes, Salovey, & Straus, 2003). So, emotion regulation helps in building stronger relationships, which is very important in navigating the college environment.
Here are some of the benefits of college relationships:
- Knowing people in your class can help you gain access to notes, create supportive study groups, ask questions when you don’t understand and help you to feel a sense of belonging in your classroom and your programs.
- Having positive relationships with your professors/instructors can help you to feel confident enough to approach them with questions and clarifications when you are having difficulty with the coursework. You can even ask for extensions if needed!
So, I assume you are wondering…
“well, great, how do I learn to manage my emotions!??!”
I am so glad you asked!
Process Model of Emotion Regulation (Gross, 1998)
Super nerdy, but please give me a chance to explain 😉
People can learn to regulate their emotions by:
- Situation Selection: choosing situations to enter (or not) based on their expected emotional outcomes,
- Situation Modification: modifying those situations once they are in them,
- Attentional Deployment: directing their attention to specific features of the situation,
- Cognitive Change: changing their appraisals, how they view a situation,
- Response Modulation: altering their physiological, experiential, and behavioural responses.
If you are feeling really nerdy and inspired, check out this interview with the amazing Dr. James Gross. He explains the Process Model of Emotion regulation very well…because it is his model 🙂
In the Coming Weeks…
I will be blogging about all the cool ways you can learn to regulate your emotions. I will be sharing different strategies that come from highly supported therapeutic techniques. Here are some highlights:
- Acts of Kindness (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, et al., 2005)
- Aerobic Laughter Intervention (Beckman et al., 2007)
- Behavioural Activation (Mazzucchelli et al., 2010)
- Best Possible Self (King, 2001)
- Character Strength (Seligman et al., 2005)
- Gratitude Visit (Seligman et al., 2005)
- Guided Imagery (Watanabe et al., 2006)
- Hope Therapy (Cheavens et al., 2006)
- Intensely Positive Experience (Burton & King, 2004)
- Mindfulness- based Therapies (Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Segal et al., 2002)
- Quality of Life Therapy (Frisch, 2006)
- Reminiscence Intervention (e.g., Pinquart & Forstmeier, 2012)
- Solution-Focused Coaching (e.g., Spence & Grant, 2007)
If I haven’t sold you yet on the value of Emotion Regulation…Please take a moment to watch this amazing TedTalk.
“We’ll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don’t have to”
Some Advice to Get You Thinking
Please know that there are counsellors in your community that are available at low or no cost. Also, your post-secondary institutions have counsellors, for free, waiting for you to connect 🙂
At Mohawk, we have a great counselling team that is very passionate about helping students, so contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-575-2211 to book an appointment.
Emotions are just little communication tools trying to tell you something
…learn to listen, communicate back and create a plan of action 🙂
Bortoletto, D. and Boruchovitch, E. (2013). Learning Strategies and Emotional Regulation of Pedagogy Students. Paidéia (Ribeirão Preto) [online]., vol.23, n.55, pp. 235-242. ISSN 0103-863X. Http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1982-43272355201311.
Gross, J. J. (2002). Emotion regulation: Affective, cognitive, and social consequences. Psychophysiology, 39, 281–291.
Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (2002). Wise emotion regulation. In L. Feldman Barrett & P. Salovey (Eds.), The wisdom in feeling: Psychological processes in emotional intelligence (pp. 297–319). New York: Guilford Press.
Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The managed heart. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Lopes, P. N., Salovey, P., & Straus, R. (2003). Emotional intelligence, personality, and the perceived quality of social relationships. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 641–658.
Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Frenzel, A. C., Barchfeld, P., & Perry, R. P. (2011). Measuring emotions in students’ learning and performance: The Achievement Emotions Questionnaire (AEQ). Contemporary Educational Psychology,36 (1), 36-48. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2010.10.002 [ Links ]
Pekrun, R., Goetz, T., Titz, W., & Perry, R. P. (2002). Academic emotions in students’ self-regulated learning and achievement: A program of qualitative and quantitative research. Educational Psychologist, 37 (2), 91-105. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3702_4 [ Links ]
Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination,Cognition, and Personality, 9, 185–211.
Salovey, P., Mayer, J. D., & Caruso, D. (2002). The positive psychology of emotional intelligence. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 159–171). New York: Oxford University Press.