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Regulating your Emotions

Emotion regulation is the ability to manage our emotions.

Paying Attention to Positive Events

Sometimes we can pay more attention to negative rather than positive events and experiences. We are often inclined to focus on one item of bad news among numerous other examples of good news or a single criticism among multiple compliments. When you find your attention singling out or homing in on the negative elements of an incident, make a conscious effort to stop. It may take some effort but try to draw your attention back to the positive aspects instead. One helpful way to practice your ability to refocus is by making time for a positive experience each day and consciously recognising the positive aspects of it. Try to include one or more positive experiences into your daily routine and, with regular practice, you will build up your ability to focus on the positive.


Setting yourself new routines can be a really helpful way of coping as having a structure to our day helps us feel settled and in control. This might be as simple as writing down a timetable for the week.


With hindsight, everybody can recall times when they have blown things out of proportion, perhaps reacted in a certain way or overemphasized one specific aspect of a situation. Fact checking is a technique that allows us to bring intense emotions back into proportion. Use these three simple questions to fact-check your situation when you find yourself experiencing a negative feeling in the moment:

  1. What happened to give rise to this emotion?
  2. What am I assuming about this experience or what explanations am I giving myself in my head?
  3. Does my emotion and its intensity match the facts of the situation? Or does it just match my assumptions of the situation?


Our physical and mental states impact on each other and if we are physically unwell or unhealthy, it can be harder to regulate our emotions. Use this P.L.E.A.S.E. acronym as a reminder of how taking care of your body will positively influence your mind.

PLEASE acronym: PhysicaL illness Eating Avoid Altering Drugs Sleep Exercise

Physical Health: It is important to take care of your physical health and seeking advice if you are not feeling well.

Eating Healthily: It is important to eat healthy foods. Click here for more information about Nutrition and Diet.

Avoid mood altering substances: Substances such as excessive caffeine, nicotine, illegal drugs and alcohol as they can keep you from being able to use coping mechanisms effectively. Click here for more information about mood altering substances.

Sleeping well: It is important to set yourself a healthy sleep pattern – getting a good night’s sleep helps the mind and body recharge. Why not click here to watch our video on 5 ways to get a better night’s sleep? Click here for more information about sleep and mental health

 Regular exercise: Exercise is  an important way of keeping both your mind and body healthy There will be opportunities at school for you to join clubs or sports teams and this can be a good way of making new friends too. You don’t have to join a gym or have access to special equipment to exercise: dancing, walking, or working out at home (try using bottled water as weights) are all free ways of keeping fit. Click here for NHS Free fitness ideas. Click here to learn more about the importance of exercise.


Opposite Behaviour

Our behaviours are usually associated with feelings or emotions that we experience. For example:

  • When we feel sad, we might become quiet or look for a way to be alone.
  • If we are feeling annoyed, we might snap at someone.

The physical sensations we feel in response to our emotions can often drive our behaviours, and as such, doing the reverse can play a role in altering that emotion, some examples include:

Opposite Behaviour image

It may be helpful to write down the behaviour that you show and what you may like to try instead.

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