Can you see trouble shooting our use of emotion regulation skills as a scientific experiment?
- Ask- am I biologically vulnerable? Do I have a physical illness or distress? am I out of balance in sleep, use of drugs or exercise?
- Review what you have tried. Have you used skills? Did you follow the instructions?
- What is the purpose of your emotion? Is it communicating an important message or influencing others? Is it motivating you to act? Does it validate your beliefs?
- Are you putting the time and effort into the skills?
- Are you too upset to use complicated skills? Do you need to focus on mindfulness or other distress tolerance skills?
- Check your thoughts. Are you judging your emotions- “I shouldn’t feel this way” “There is a right way to feel.” Is a belief keeping you stuck? “I am my emotion.” “I am an angry (sad, anxious etc.) person.”
Try viewing your skill use and experience of emotion as a scientific experiment. Notice how different use of skill impacts your experience of emotion- what makes emotions less intense? What shortens the duration of painful emotions? What brings happiness, joy and other positive emotions?