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How to Regulate Your Behavior in Tough Times

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

Throughout life, we may experience, and overcome, stressful events or negative experiences. Over time these moments build our resiliency muscle (RM). It's the key to weathering the storm that is life. Strengthening the 'RM' is a skill that can be learned. Through the cognitive process known as neuroplasticity, our brain has an amazing ability to adapt and improve.

Dr. Daniel Golemon wrote about this in his bestselling book Emotional Intelligence. This book, which opened the door to the emerging discipline of behavioral neuroscience, states that sometimes in tough times we become, "emotionally hijacked". The key is to regulate our reactions and behavior.

It can be difficult to be grateful at times because our brain is programmed to protect us, (flight or fight); think of walking through the woods and seeing a stick on the ground. Is it a snake or a stick?

The more we can adapt, the stronger the path in our brain becomes, the more resilient we become.

As we embrace an attitude of gratitude and gratefulness our personal ability to rebound is enhances, avoiding as Dr. Goleman wrote, the amygdala hijack. The amygdala is the emotional part of the brain, which regulates the fight or flight response.

Challenging times will happen in life. When they do, practice asking yourself, "what am I feeling?" and consider the message or the takeaway: can we learn from them? Think of these life lessons as small wins or little victories, this works because the pause we take regulates the reaction. Flourishing in life involves struggles, growth, authenticity, compassion, and gratitude.

Remember these tips:

  • Strength comes from struggle

  • Identify and understand habitual triggers that set you off

  • Give yourself a millisecond time out before reacting. Regulate

  • Pause and process emotional moments

  • Embrace small wins

  • Resilience is a skill

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