10 CHARACTERISTICS OF EMOTIONS FOR OUTSTANDING EMOTIONAL SELF-REGULATION AND SELF-CONTROL.

Emotions regulate our social interactions and influence our cognition, behaviour and decision-making. Thus, outstanding emotional self-regulation and self-control are requirements to manage Life Changes with success. To start that process one should improve their knowledge of human emotions. We offer an article as a learning tool to those aiming to improve their emotional management skills to master changes at work and in their personal life.



What are Self-Regulation and Self-control?

First things first. Have you ever heard about the Marshmallow Experiment? How we behave, depends on personal determinants enclosing biological, cognitive and emotional aspects. Which in turn, interplays with environmental factors (e.g. workplace, society, close family, friends, etc). Self-regulation is a skill that has to do with how we manage all those factors to build a successful life.


In short, self-regulation is what makes self-control possible. But check below the definitions.

  • Self-regulation is about reducing the frequency and intensity of strong impulses by managing stress-load and recovery time to achieve goals.

  • Self-control is about inhibiting strong impulses (also called emotions); The ability to control reactions to avoid temptations and delay gratifications.

Please Note: Self-regulation and self-control are sometimes grouped as Emotional Management skills. And belong to the skills assessed by psychometric tests in Emotional intelligence.



You can learn about the Marshmallow Experiment by Professor Walter Mischel in this video.

The Marshmallow Test was an experiment conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel in the 1960s. Children were given a choice; either they could have one marshmallow now, or wait and have two marshmallows later.

How could the children's ability to delay gratification with this simple test of self-control predict how their lives would play out?


Have you ever wondered how and why we become emotional?

Antonio Damasio, neuroscientist and author, has said “We are not thinking machines that feel; rather, we are feeling machines that think.What makes us emotional varies from person to person based on our shared evolution, cultural influences, and our unique personal experiences. Emotions occur in response to a stimulus; actual, imagined or re-lived, such as:

  • a physical event

  • a social interaction

  • remembering or imagining an event

  • talking about, thinking about, or physically re-enacting a past emotional experience


But what makes an emotion an emotion according to science? Paul Ekman, a pioneer in the study of emotions discovered that facial expressions of emotion are 'universal'. That is, human beings from all corners of the world display the same facial signs when experiencing 6 Emotions. -Anger, Disgust, Fear, Surprise, Happiness, and Sadness (Contempt recently added). Check out the video to verify the facial expressions of all 6 human emotions.

Yet, it is also known that culture shapes differences in facial expressions. And we should also note that emotional expressions are likewise context co-constructed. Meaning, that alterations to human nature take place as a result of social conditioning. In society, some expressions of emotions have approval while others are unacceptable.


The 10 Characteristics of Emotion by Paul Ekman


We may not choose the emotions to feel (because they are automatic). But we can choose how we respond. Increasing our emotional awareness is about bringing them to consciousness. Here’s a breakdown, according to Paul Ekman, of the characteristics of emotions:

Image Source: https://www.paulekman.com/blog/characteristics-of-emotions/



Why it is Important to Learn about the 10 Characteristics of Emotion?


Because self-regulation and self-control depend on our ability to manage our thoughts, emotions, and actions. But also, because self-regulation, unfortunately, is a limited resource that can be depleted by the intensity of the changes. And it's okay if we have to ask for help. On the other hand, self-control can be developed at any stage of life.


When we are capable of identifying emotions we free space to think. And thus respond to Life Changes and Transitions in a manner that is healthy. Opposite to reacting to life as if we didn't have any control over the events that happen to us.


Human beings always have choices and should choose to be in control of their situation. That is Self-agency.


Albert Bandura defines self-regulation as a dynamic and systematic process that involves efforts to alter and modulate thoughts, emotions, and actions to achieve goals. And that Self-efficacy is the mediator of self-regulation and Self-control. "Self-efficacy refers to beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments”. These are the essential processes of Self-agency.


All those together when developed state "good mental health and optimal human functioning".



How to Develop Outstanding Self-regulation and Self-control - Emotional Management Skills?


Outstanding emotional management performance comes with people taking charge of their lives. Our Intervention Programme Develop High-Performance, supports our customers enhance emotional management skills and recovering from depleted self-regulation to manage Life Changes and Transitions with success.


Take Charge of your Life Changes and Transitions. Book a free *30-minute appointment to discuss how we assist you to manage your change, click here.


believe-IN's Intervention Programmes are person-centred and science-based, grounded on Developmental Psychology. Your bespoke Intervention Programme is a Co-creation. We will ask you to provide information and psychometric tests to design the support you need. During our appointments, twice a month, or more, believe-IN guides you to take charge of your change and regain control over your life. Build a brighter future with us.


* The 30-minute appointment is free of charge, and with no strings attached.


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You can learn more about Coping Skills in our article 8 COPING STRATEGIES TO MANAGE LIFE CHANGES WITH SUCCESS.



We recommend you our free eBook on The Healthy Person (get it here). In this believe-IN eBook, we discuss The Healthy Person characteristics alongside three difficulties that human beings must transcend to become healthier, based on Abraham H. Maslow's research legacy and how those relate to Life basicssChanges and Transitions.



To download your Free eBook Now, click here.



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