8 signs you’re exceptionally good at emotional regulation, according to psychology

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Emotional regulation isn’t just a skill — it’s a superpower in today’s fast-paced life.

If you’re someone who seems to handle it all with grace, you may not even realize just how good you are at managing your emotions.

In fact, people around you might be marveling at your ability to stay calm under pressure, and you’re probably wondering what the fuss is all about.

Sounds familiar?

If so, you might be exceptionally good at emotional regulation, according to psychology.

Keep reading for the 8 signs that you’re not just keeping it together—you’re a master of emotional regulation.

1) You take a step back before reacting

One clear indicator that you’re excellent at emotional regulation is the ability to put some distance between stimulus and response.

You don’t just react off the cuff or let your emotions dictate your actions. Instead, you take a moment, breathe, and assess the situation before responding.

This pause allows you to evaluate your feelings and put things into perspective. By doing so, you’re able to respond rather than react, which is a key component of emotional regulation.

Unfortunately, this might make you come across as aloof or detached from others. They might interpret your pause as indifference or even coldness.

But in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Your ability to take a step back is not a sign of indifference, but a sign of emotional maturity and intelligence.

It means that you can make sure your emotions don’t cloud your judgment. And guess what?

That’s exactly what allows you to make rational decisions based on facts, not just feelings.

2) You can shift your focus with ease

Another significant sign that you’re a pro at emotional regulation is your ability to shift your focus effortlessly.

Let’s say, for instance, you have a massive presentation at work, and just an hour before, you get into an argument with a friend.

While many might find it difficult to concentrate on the presentation, you’re able to compartmentalize your emotions effectively.

Let me share a personal example:

Once, I had a significant job interview on the same day I found out my long-time pet had passed away. Despite the grief and sadness, I was able to shift my focus fully onto the interview when it was time.

But you know what?

This doesn’t mean that I ignored or suppressed my emotions.

I just managed to keep them in a separate compartment in my mind until I was ready to deal with them.

Sadly, people often misunderstand this ability to shift focus as being unfeeling or unemotional.

But in reality, it’s just a testament to the excellent control you have over your emotional responses.

3) You’re good at self-soothing

Perhaps not surprisingly, mastering the art of self-soothing is an important aspect of emotional regulation.

You know, it’s the ability to calm yourself down when you’re upset or anxious, and it’s a skill that not everyone possesses.

According to research published in ‘Comprehensive Psychoneuroendocrinology‘, self-soothing (as well as being hugged by others) reduces cortisol levels. 

In simple terms, this means that individuals who are good at self-soothing are better at managing stress and are less likely to suffer from mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Impressive, right?

Well, this might involve activities like taking a walk, listening to calming music, or practicing mindfulness meditation.

Essentially, we need to find healthy ways to deal with distressing emotions instead of letting them overwhelm us.

4) You express your emotions in a healthy way

Believe it or not, expressing your emotions doesn’t mean you’re not in control of them.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Being able to express how you feel, especially when you’re upset or angry, in a constructive manner is a clear sign of good emotional regulation.

Why?

Because you don’t suppress your feelings, nor do you explode in anger.

Instead of this, you’re looking for a middle ground where you can communicate your emotions effectively without hurting yourself or others around you.

For example, if someone upsets you, instead of lashing out or bottling it up, you choose to express your feelings calmly and assertively.

You make it a point to let the other person know how their actions affected you without blaming or attacking them.

While this might be perceived as being too sensitive or dramatic by some, it’s actually a healthy and mature way of dealing with emotions.

It ensures that your feelings are heard without damaging relationships or causing unnecessary conflict.

5) You’re not afraid of your emotions

Let’s be real, emotions can be terrifying.

They’re unpredictable and powerful, and can sometimes make us feel out of control. But if you’re good at emotional regulation, you don’t shy away from them.

You understand that emotions, even the tough ones like sadness or anger, are a natural part of life.

As a result, you don’t see them as something to be feared or avoided.

Rather, you allow yourself to feel them fully, knowing that they don’t define you and they won’t last forever. And you embrace them as part of your human experience.

Sounds like you?

Look, some might see this as being overly emotional or weak.

But trust me, it’s not about letting your emotions control you—it’s about allowing yourself to feel without judgment.

Being comfortable with your emotions doesn’t mean you’re ruled by them. It means you’re strong enough to face them head-on, without fear or embarrassment.

That’s not weakness—that’s courage.

6) You empathize with others’ emotions

Have you ever felt the joy or pain of a friend as if it were your own?

Here’s the thing:

Empathy is a key aspect of emotional regulation.

For instance, imagine a colleague is upset about a missed promotion. You’re not simply offering sympathy. You understand their frustration and disappointment.

This means you’re able to put yourself in their shoes, feeling their emotions without letting them overwhelm you.

This skill not only helps in building deeper connections but also in managing your emotional response to the situations around you.

Keep in mind that some might mistake your empathy for being overly involved or too soft-hearted.

But reality?

Your ability to empathize shows your emotional maturity and your deep understanding of human emotions.

In essence, empathy allows you to navigate the emotional landscape of others with grace and understanding, making you a supportive presence in their lives.

7) You know when to call it a day

We’ve all had those days when everything seems to go wrong, and it feels like the universe is conspiring against us.

And no matter how good you are at regulating your emotions, there are just some days when it’s too much.

The difference is, you know when to step back and call it a day. You understand that it’s okay to have off days.

And you don’t beat yourself up for not being able to keep your emotions in check all the time.

Perhaps you’ve decided to switch off your work email after a particularly stressful day. Or maybe, you’ve chosen to stay in with a good book instead of going out with friends after a tough week.

Sometimes, self-care is about knowing when to retreat and letting yourself rest and recuperate.

8) You find humor in tough situations

Finally, life can be pretty serious sometimes. But you just know how to find the silver lining—even in the toughest of situations.

Let’s admit it: laughter really can be the best medicine. You understand this.

And, as a result, you’re not afraid to use it.

Whether it’s cracking a joke during a tense meeting or making light of an awkward situation, your sense of humor is a clear sign of your emotional regulation skills.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re not making light of serious issues or using humor to avoid dealing with your feelings.

It’s just that you understand the power of a well-timed joke to diffuse tension and help everyone involved feel a little bit better.

So, here’s the truth:

Life can be hard and stressful. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good laugh every now and then.

After all, laughter really is the best stress reliever!

Final thoughts

All in all, managing emotions isn’t the easiest thing we can do on a daily basis.

But if you’re someone who’s good at emotional regulation, you’ve got a head start.

Sometimes you might be seen as aloof, unemotional, or even uncaring, but that’s simply because not everyone understands the depth of emotional intelligence you possess.

So if you’ve seen yourself in these signs and people often misunderstand your emotional strength, take heart—you have a unique ability that not everyone possesses.

It’s an ability that allows you to navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and composure.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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