How to Self-Regulate when You're Overwhelmed

Updated: Jul 30

When you are feeling stressed and anxious, it is easy to let your mind start spinning out of control. When this happens you are unable to focus, and your body goes into fight or flight mode.

Try this visualization exercise to put your brain on time out.

1. Stop

As soon as you recognize you’re overreacting, spinning out of control, or feeling that red-hot anger coming… STOP and close your eyes. Picture a stop sign in your head and think, "STOP IT!" This gives you time to pause before reacting.

2. Adjust the Volume

Take a deep breath (or 5-10) and picture lowering the volume on a dial.

3. Change the Channel

Find something you can easily focus on or do anywhere when you’re feeling out of control and/or angry. Listen to a soothing song, repeat a mantra, or do something physical that helps you “reset your mind.”

Have a song, playlist, quote, or activity you can access from anywhere at anytime. Use it like an emergency lever you can pull when your mind starts spinning into negative emotions like anger, sadness, or jealousy. It will disrupt your thoughts and reset your mood.

Click the Image to Download a Printable Worksheet

Self-Regulation is Tool #3 in our Hero's Toolbox of strategies. Click the image to download all five tools and worksheets.

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