Experts explain when this mental health trend could help TikTok

Experts explain when this mental health trend could help TikTok

There is a new talking point about mental health Taking the Rounds on Social Media: Regulating Emotions. On TikTok, for example, a group short videos On the topic has more than 47 million views. In one common example, the regulation of emotions It has been described As “the number one skill that humans must master”. so, what is it?

emotion regulation widely refers to for the strategies we use to notice, identify, and modify our emotional states. When people online talk about regulating emotions, they can talk about preventing breakouts in young children, managing romantic conflict, or reducing impulsivity.

But the truth is more complex than what framing social media might mean. He says the ability to control emotions is critical to our daily functioning Brett Ford, assistant professor at the University of Toronto and director of the Laboratory for Science and Emotional Health. She explains that avoiding distress always shouldn’t be the goal. If we only view bad feelings as something to get rid of, we can end up feeling bad.

Different emotion regulation strategies come with distinct sets of pros and cons, depending on the individual and the situation. Britt MarroquinD., an assistant professor at Loyola Marymount University and a clinical psychologist, says it’s important not to view these specific strategies as “good” or “bad.” Context and the desired outcome is critical.

Marroquin notes that science has established a clear link between emotion regulation and psychological, physical and social well-being. Thanks to these studies, we have an idea of ​​which strategies are most effective, depending on the context. In general, “It’s a good idea to have a variety of emotion regulation strategies available to utilize flexibly as needed,” he says.

How can emotion regulation help you?

It can help you manage emotions Avoid conflictAnd the improve relationshipsAnd the a plus Your sense of well-being – and while we all have feelings, organization is a skill.

Ford says that some emotion regulation strategies are easier to use in some situations than others. One strategy is to be intentional about participating in certain situations. If you feel that seeing someone you’ve been in conflict with will put you in a bad mood, you can avoid having a party with mutual friends. But realistically, we don’t always have control over the situations in which we find ourselves. Moreover, some methods may be useful in the short term but not effective in the long term.

“Avoiding stressful situations is really effective for helping us avoid stress, but if we avoid every situation that we think might be stressful, we end up losing a lot of livelihood,” Ford says.

The strategy that Ford recommends most often is emotional acceptance. She describes this process as an active process that involves raising awareness of one’s negative feelings without judging those feelings or trying to avoid them. to her Research It indicates that people who engage in emotional acceptance are more likely to experience greater psychological well-being over time.

“If we avoid every situation that we think might be stressful, we end up Lost On a lot of living.”

“While many other emotion regulation strategies have a clear goal of immediately reducing one’s negative emotions, acceptance is not,” says Ford. “Instead, acceptance aims to change one’s relationship to negative emotions by reducing the meta-states of judgment that tend to accompany our emotions.”

Cognitive reassessmentAnother strategy, too shown To benefit mental health. This is the process of changing the way you think about the situation and Selection To interpret it in positive terms. Let’s say you didn’t get the job you wanted. You can ruminate on whatever is not going well. Or you can engage in a cognitive reassessment and see the experience not as a lost cause but as an opportunity to work on your interview skills or an opportunity to find a better fit.

Ford’s research also indicates that, in some cases, cognitive reappraisal can prevent people from improving their situation. One may decide political work Not worth it after a disturbing political event, for example. in case if COVID-19Ford and colleagues have found Cognitive reassessment during the pandemic has improved mental health but has also been associated with following fewer health recommendations, such as social distancing.

Sometimes cognitive reappraisal, says Ford, can lead to a trade-off between feeling good and doing good.

“Negative emotions help us do things in our environments, and if we are too successful in getting rid of those emotions, we may lose motivation to take important action,” she explains.

Not all emotion regulation strategies are equally beneficial

Ultimately, Marroquin says, “The best strategy really depends on the specifics of the particular situation or the goals of the individual in that situation.”

However, habits like rumination – thinking about your plight – without engaging in effective problem-solving can have long-term consequences. Worrying about the future, or disaster, can also be harmful.

“We often don’t think of these as strategies for regulating emotions, but they are really common ways people seek to regulate emotions, even if it doesn’t work out well,” Marroquin explains.

Unfortunately, the research indicates that venting isn’t very helpful either. Sharing our plight can be soothing in the short term, “it doesn’t seem to pay off in terms of permanent change or new ways of perceiving our situation,” he says.

In order to vent in the long run, the person we vent needs to challenge our thinking or direct us to a different strategy for regulating emotions.

In turn, a person may want to be honest about their negative feelings and Choose a conflict experience Until they face the problem and come up with a solution. This is an individual decision that depends on the circumstances, but it is possible be healing.

“It is also important to note that if a person is already experiencing emotional or mental health difficulties, it is best to seek a professional,” Marroquin says. “Professionals know specific ways to approach emotion regulation in therapy.”

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