Selfregulation or selfmanagement is a key life skill and an essential piece of Emotional Intelligence. This is an area close to many of our hearts and most often shows up when we over react. That moment when you lost your temper, shouted angrily or said things that were really not necessary, or were delivered in ‘that tone’ – those moments where we plain just lost it whether mildly or in a more dramatic way. Then later we replay the ideal scenario and how often do we still want to justify to ourselves why we were right? We’ve all had those moments when being a bigger person escapes us.

To better understand what lies behind this life skill, let’s take a moment to touch in with an article, written for parents and an excellent read all round for those wishing to better understand our ability to self-regulate and how this is influenced during our formative years

I found the two areas that stood out as most useful and interesting being “…one of the most important skills that we develop in childhood is the ability to control aspects of the self. Without this ability we would have great difficulty accomplishing anything, regardless of how good we might feel about ourselves! Self-regulation is the ability to monitor and control our own behaviour, emotions, or thoughts, altering them in accordance with the demands of the situation. It includes the abilities to inhibit first responses, to resist interference from irrelevant stimulation, and to persist on relevant tasks even when we don’t enjoy them.

 This almost sounds super human but maybe not because if you believe in your ability to change behaviour, then being able to self-regulate at higher and higher levels, is very possible and requires you choose to do so and then keep on choosing and doing until the repetition becomes a part of your natural state of being.

 The other area I found stood out, covers the many benefits of self-regulating such as better academic performance, problem-solving skills, and reading comprehension; more satisfying interactions with peers; higher levels of intrinsic motivation, self-worth, perceived competence, self-efficacy, moral cognition, and moral conduct; fewer behaviour problems; and lower levels of psychopathology (e.g., depression)”

Knowing all this, who wouldn’t want to find out more on how to have greater ease with inhibiting first responses, to resist interference from irrelevant stimulation, and to persist on relevant tasks even when we don’t enjoy them so that we can have access to the various positive outcomes mentioned such as greater problem-solving skills, more satisfying interactions with peers; higher levels of intrinsic motivation, self-worth, self-efficacy, and fewer behaviour problems”

If self-regulation includes being non-reactive it does not mean as some fear, that we become totally rational, non-sensing, non-caring or unaware of self and other people’s needs and situations, but rather we can develop the ability to perceive what is going on and still choose to be non-reactive. This is key as it means you are the one choosing how to respond to incoming information and to that of your own internal world.

The following three tools when regularly applied, will greatly help you to develop more skill with self-regulating.

1.  IPOV – Everything is just an interesting point of view. That means Everything. There is no right or wrong, good or bad. It’s all just an IPOV. Remind yourself of this consistently in response to every thought, feeling and emotion (TFE) you have and notice what changes when you douse this on your own TFE’s and when you sense a discomfort with other people’s TFE’s which are projections and expectations of you.

2.  Live as the Question – if I do X what will this create? What you are looking for here is how you may be functioning from the past and projecting this into the future thus setting yourself up for more of the same. What you want is to rather be genuinely curious to find out what can be created should you choose to do X, or not. You can also add another piece to this Question such as ‘what will my life be like in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years … if I do X’ and then notice what shows up. Do you feel lighter? Or heavier? The truth for you is always lighter, what’s not true for you will feel heavier.

Living as the Question has an added subtle difference in that you will notice when you are genuinely curious, so much more space opens up for greater awareness. When asking questions from conclusion, you find fixed answers, reasons and justifications. And what if everything was just an IPOV? Oh yeah we already covered that in point 1 J

3.  10 Second Increments – what if you had only 10 seconds to choose for the rest of your life what would you choose because after those 10 seconds you need to make a new choice, and then 10 seconds later another, and another …. This really works to open up more possibility because each time you function from a question which is not based in conclusion, you create the space for choice and more choice creates more possibility and more possibility creates more contribution and all this creates more awareness and the ability to be a more conscious leader in the world.

A final word on self-regulation – as humans, we are all prone to common hooks—things like self-doubt, shame, sadness, fear, or anger— the point of departure is how you manage yourself when you get caught up in the drama and once you know the story in your head is only an IPOV, can you really be that caught up in any way, shape or form of how you used to?

The key difference is that people who have developed the ability to self-regulate know how to adapt and create the mental and emotional space to stay present so as to perceive and ask more questions and choose actions in congruence with who they truly be and not react from what they think they ought to be.

These small but powerful changes in self-perception, thinking and behaviour lead to a lifetime of beneficial growth. The ability to regulate like this is not about ignoring difficult emotions and thoughts; it’s about holding them loosely, facing them courageously and compassionately, and then moving past them to bring the best of yourself forward. Many people swear that mindfulness based activities like a daily meditation, a spiritual practise, a beloved hobby or sport, time in nature all lead to a greatly improved ability to self-regulate. I find these all have merit but the most powerful change for me has been from the 3 tools mentioned above, which originate from Access Consciousness ™.

Our tag line at DGT is ‘It starts with You’ and if this is true and you were to try some of these tools out along with what you know, I wonder what change and greater ease could be yours?

Warm regards,


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