Take the following scenario. You are nearing the end of a busy day at work when a comment from your boss diminishes what’s left of your dwindling patience. You turn, red-faced, towards the source of your indignation. It is then that you stop, reflect, and choose not to voice your displeasure. After all, the shift is nearly over.
This may not be the most exciting plot, but it shows how we as humans can regulate our emotions.
Our regulation of emotions is not limited to stopping an outburst of anger – it means that we can manage the emotions we feel as well as how and when they are experienced and expressed. It can enable us to be positive in the face of difficult situations, or fake joy at opening a terrible birthday present. It can stop grief from crushing us and fear from stopping us in our tracks.