Emotional Regulation

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Emotional regulation is how we manage our responses to strong feelings or triggers. Emotional regulation is a skill that develops with age, experience, and problem-solving abilities. We do not all learn to manage our responses at the same time, growth is different for everyone and can depend on factors such as our personalities, environment, and experiences.

Children, young people, and adults sometimes need help with regulating emotions when their feelings seem out of control. Help can include:

  • Connecting with a loved one
  • Talking about our triggers, feelings, and responses
  • Naming our emotions
  • Positive distractions
  • Space and time to calm down
  • Practising problem-solving through real events or social stories

Whether you are experiencing difficult feelings, or supporting someone, it is important to remember that there are no “good or bad” emotions. Emotions are signals from our fight, flight, freeze response, warning us about possible threats. It is the expression of emotions through behaviours that can be challenging.

Why do we lose control of our emotions?

Emotional coaching

How to stop tantrums by Daniel Siegel

Read Dealing with Distress, for ways to emotionally regulate


Need help?

If you or someone you are supporting is experiencing a mental health crisis and needs urgent support right now, please click here.

Further organisations offering support:

  • Childline (under-19s) trained counsellors provide confidential support on anything – no matter how small or large.


  • PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK (for under-35s) offers confidential support and practical advice.
    • Call: 0800 068 4141
    • Text: 07860 039 967
    • Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org
    • Open: 24 hours every day of the year (including bank holiday and weekends)


  • Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.
    • Call: 116123 (free from any phone)
    • Email: jo@samaritans.org (Sometimes writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand them. Email how you are feeling to 'jo' and a volunteer will respond)
    • Open: 24-hours a day, 7-days a week

Useful tips for parents / carers to help manage their emotional wellbeing can be found here.

  • Further relaxation tips can be found here.
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy gives guidance around manging anxiety, click here.
  • Get Self Help website provides CBT self-help and therapy resources, including worksheets and information sheets and self-help mp3s, click here.
  • Childline: check out their Calm Zone Tool Box click here.



The apps below are useful tools to help support children and young people with anxiety. Most of these apps are available to download from the Apple Store or Google Play:

  Calm App
Headspace app

SAM app

Smiling mind app
Smiling Mind  

Mood tracker app
Mood Tracker

Thinkninja app