How to Negotiate Self-Regulation

yoga 2176668 1280 jpgI’ve noticed an increase in emotional turmoil recently – both within my household and in the broader world at large. As I dealt with the issues giving rise to the turmoil and emotional upheaval in the lives of those closest to me, it got me to thinking about the corresponding turmoil and malaise beyond our doors and beyond borders. It struck me that a common denominator at the core of some of this unrest is self-regulation … or more accurately, the lack of self-regulation. And so, I decided to dedicate this post to this important issue.

What is it?

Self-regulation starts with awareness (about your thoughts, feelings, and actions). Much lip-service is paid to the concept of self-awareness these days. And yet, with our increasing technological reliance and decreasing human interaction, an argument can be made that we’re seeing less actual self-awareness.

I often say that our first and most important negotiation is with ourselves … negotiating our mindset. Recognizing that we engage in this negotiation constantly throughout our day, allows us to increase our intentionality around how we choose to show up. Don’t allow yourself to buy into the myth that your thoughts, feelings and reactions are beyond your control. Choose to engage in this negotiation with full awareness.

Why does it matter?

Self-regulation is key to successful relationships. This is critical as human connection is a universal need and desire. In fact, the quality of our relationships has been recognized as the #1 correlative factor determining our longevity in life. Note too, that human connection includes deeper connection and alignment with ourselves.

Self-regulation improves our well-being and determines our overall success in life. When we uncover how to recognize and manage our emotions in conjunction with handling our behaviour, we’re better able to manage stress, deal effectively with conflict, and achieve our desires.

How to develop it?

Mindfulness is a great first step on the path to effective self-regulation. Some people shy away from the idea of mindfulness, assuming it’s too ‘woo woo’. In fact, mindfulness is simply increasing our intention. Being present. Paying attention. Not judging. Simple breathing exercises and awareness helps improve our mindfulness, which in turn improves our self-regulation abilities.

Managing our thoughts and the meaning we attach to them is also key to self-regulation. According to a study by the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts a day. Of these thoughts, a staggering 95% repeat each day. Of those repeating thoughts, sadly, 80% are negative. Imagine the power of flipping those negative stories that we inundate ourselves with daily and instead, choosing more empowering interpretations of our life experiences moment to moment.

Note that this doesn’t mean you’ll never have negative thoughts or emotions. The key is in recognizing them and choosing, with intention, to dial any given emotion up or down. Imagine you have a physical dial and for anything you feel, you can adjust that dial. Use your breathing to help with the adjustment.

One of my favourite quotes is:

Between every stimulus and response lies a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose a response.
In our response lies our growth and happiness.

In other words, while we can’t control everything that happens externally in our lives, we can control how we choose to react. Every time something happens in your life you have a moment in which to choose what your response to that situation will be. Use that pause to your benefit. Imagine your dial and determine (again with intention) how you could respond to step into the best version of yourself.

The beauty of this subject is that it is not rocket science. With a little practice you can master the art of self-regulation. If you do, it will improve your inner peace, your relationships, your social engagement and connection, and your ability to live into your dreams and vision.


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Art of Negotiation, negotiaite with yourself


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