Positive Psychology : Emotion Regulation and Resilience

Role of Emotions in Positive Psychology We experience many emotions in our daily lives so, emotions are really effective on our overall well-being. Experiencing positive emotions results in high levels of well-being. According to a psychological model, the broaden-and-build model, positive emotions are what is leading us to personal growth and social connection. Our personal and at the same time social resources increase with positive emotions. Yet, we experience negative emotions as well. What should we do when we experience negative emotions?

T.S.C. (n.d.). Emotions [Illustration]. Pinterest.https://tr.pinterest.com/pin/33495590964134078/

What is Emotion Regulation? As we can understand from its name, emotion regulation is related to how we regulate our emotions, meaning that we lower the intensity of our emotions. For instance, if we are anxious about something, thinking about a funny thing that our pet did last night can be beneficial for lowering the intensity of our anxiety. In detail, this means controlling our emotions, knowing when they emerge, and how do we experience these emotions. We can either do this regulation of emotion process consciously or unconsciously. One of the famous psychologists, James Gross, examined how we regulate our emotions. He argued that we either try to control our emotions before we experience them or while we are experiencing them. Also, there are two main ways to regulate our emotions. The first way is to reappraise, meaning that we can alter our perception of the situation by changing our emotions related to it. The second way is to suppress our emotions. Suppression mostly leads us to experience negative outcomes as a burst of anger. There are also other strategies as shifting our attention, accepting emotions, or trying not to be in that specific situation that triggers our emotions. Emotion regulation also affects us psychopathologically. There is an association between depression and emotion regulation. If we are less anxious, we are more likely to regulate our emotions and have better social-emotional intelligence. Therefore, this results in having less probability to experience depression. Two of the most difficult emotions to regulate are anger and disappointment. We can try to manage these emotions. Yet not being able to regulate them can indicate possible mental health issues as depression or borderline personality disorder.

F. Hodler. The Dream of the Shepherd (Der Traum des Hirten). (1896). https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/634108?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&what=Paintings&ft=psychology&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=20

There are different strategies for regulating our emotions. Being aware of the emotion we are experiencing is a good start for regulating it. Practicing meditation and also being aware of our surroundings will make us feel grounded and decrease the intensity of our emotions. Being able to adapt to situations, especially negative ones. Last but not least, showing compassion to ourselves is very beneficial for emotion regulation and our overall well-being.

What is Resilience? Resilience means that we tend to respond favorably to severe events that would otherwise result in considerable declines in value. In other words, our ability to recover from adverse situations. Even if a difficult situation makes us feel down, if we are resilient enough, we can bounce back from them.

Aichele, M. (2020). What Makes Some People More Resilient Than Others https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/18/health/resilience-relationships-trauma.html

As mentioned above, if we are high in resilience, we are able to overcome obstacles in our daily lives. We do this by daring our resources and strengths. Also, our capacity of being optimist, being hopeful, and being self-efficient. Self-efficacy is probably the only term that we are not much familiar with. It means believing our ability to be successful on an occasion and trusting our abilities. As a result, self-efficacy is essential for our self-esteem level. Our resilience starts to build up beginning from our childhood. Even the way our parents raised us, especially warm and responsive parents, affect our resilience level. Thus, the environment that we live in affects our resilience. What can we do if the environment we grew up in was not appropriate to develop resilience? We all have a capacity for post-traumatic growth meaning that to become more capable after a traumatic occasion. Due to the fact that resilience development is a dynamic process, it is in our hands to shape this natural skill. Trying to change our perspective about a stressful occasion can be a good start. Shifting our attention to another part of the situation we are experiencing can be beneficial for us, in order to see the positive side of it. Also, we can think about a crisis that we dealt with before. This will make us realize that the power we have to overcome the current crisis. Practicing meditation is also beneficial. This affects being aware of what we are dealing with.

Voronovich, M. (2020). 9 Emotional Regulation Tips for Anyone Who’s Struggling Right Now https://www.self.com/story/emotional-regulation-skills

We talked about the importance of emotions and two concepts that related to them. Regulating our emotions and have resilience is important for our quality of life. In the next writing of this series, we will talk about meditation. Stay tuned and beware of the emotions you are experiencing!

Sources: Chowdhury, R. B. M. A. (2021, April 16). What is Emotion Regulation? + 6 Emotional Skills and Strategies. PositivePsychology.Com. https://positivepsychology.com/emotion-regulation/ Emotion Regulation. (n.d.). PsychologyToday.Com. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/emotion-regulation Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066x.56.3.218 Kay, S. A. (2016). Emotion Regulation and Resilience: Overlooked Connections. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 9(2), 411–415. https://doi.org/10.1017/iop.2016.31 Pennock, S. F. (2020, October 12). Resilience in Positive Psychology: Bouncing Back & Staying Strong. PositivePsychology.Com. https://positivepsychology.com/resilience-in-positive-psychology/


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Ülfet İpek Eral

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