Emotion Regulation: What Is It and How Might It Benefit Your Mental Health?

Emotion Regulation: What Is It and How Might It Benefit Your Mental Health?

TikTok is full of mental health content. From ‘quiet quitting’ to ‘hot girl walks’, there are trends aplenty relating to our health on the platform, and while not all of it is solid advice, there are some useful bits to consider from time to time. Lately, we’ve been hearing about the rise of ’emotion regulation’ talk on TikTok, so we thought we’d take a peek at the concept and what it’s about.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is emotion regulation?

While TikTok has plenty of definitions available, we thought we’d consult some other resources first. So, according to the writings of Berkley and Cornell university, we can gather that emotion regulation is a term that refers to a person’s ability to manage their feelings in situations that evoke an emotional response.

Most often, we do this during difficult periods that bring on uncomfortable emotions.

How can you regulate your emotions?

Now, just because emotion regulation has emerged as a bit of a mental health trend on TikTok doesn’t mean that all approaches to this strategy are healthy.

There are loads of ways to regulate emotion with the intention of giving yourself a little relief from the feeling for a while. Some of them are helpful, while others are unhealthy. So, it’s important we really only consider constructive methods of regulation here.

Some examples include avoiding certain taxing situations (within reason), working to become more self-aware of your emotions and practising mindfulness.

Probably the most popular option around, however, is emotional acceptance.

Why does acceptance tend to work?

As we’ve touched on before, negative emotions are not a bad thing. They’re necessary. When we attempt to squash difficult emotions down, they tend to blow up and cause even more challenges.

Studies have shown that accepting our emotions leads to improved mental well-being. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, this “may be due to the role acceptance plays in negative emotional responses to stressors: acceptance helps keep individuals from reacting to – and thus exacerbating their – negative mental experiences.”

Essentially, the study found that approaching negative emotions from a non-judgemental place appears to lead to more positive psychological health, “in part because acceptance helps them experience less negative emotion in response to stressors.”

Similarly, PhD candidate Shadé Z posted to TikTok that accepting emotions for what they are; feelings we’ve noticed based on what our bodies are doing. She suggests stopping ourselves from identifying with emotions.

“You are not angry. You’ve identified the emotion of anger,” she shared.

This can be an effective way of reminding yourself that your emotions exist within you. They are not bigger than you are.

Check out her video below.


You FEEL an emotion. You ARE NOT the emotion. Have you ever done this? What did it feel like? #emotionalintelligence #emotions #selfmanagement #emotionalregulation #selfregulation #peakperformance #anxiety #highfunctioninganxiety #highperformer #career #burnout #psychology #selfcare

♬ original sound – Shadé Z. | MBA | PhD Candidate

Just remember that this stuff is all part of a learning process, and there will be times when it comes more easily than others. There’s no art to this. We’re all just doing our best, day to day. The main thing is that you’re working towards healthier psychological habits.

And if ever you’re worried about your mental health, please speak with your doctor or psychologist for personalised advice. TikTok (and even our own website) may offer some interesting tips, but nothing can replace the guidance of a medical professional.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. In an emergency, call 000.

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