Paying attention helps regulate emotion

June 2, 2020 10:56 am

The last few weeks of our free webinar series STRONGER THROUGH CHANGE, have focused on emotional regulation.  This morning we discussed the role of attention in our ability to regulate emotion in challenging situations.  A key take away from the session is:  just because our attention is ‘drawn’ to the most worrisome aspects of our circumstance, it does not mean we have to dwell on that aspect of the situation exclusively.  Research has demonstrated that we have the power to choose what we pay attention to in our environment.

The choice of where we place our attention impacts not just how we feel but how we think and the decisions we make.   Asking questions such as:

  • What is most salient in my environment?
  • What else is important but perhaps less vivid?
  • What is my most dominate feeling/emotion?
  • What other emotions do I feel even a little bit?

Scientists have recently explored these ideas further by examining the impact of allowing ourselves to experience (pay attention) to two emotions at the same time.  They found that the experience of ‘mixed emotion’ is associated with better coping in the long term. Have a look at this article if you would like to dive a little deeper into the science.

If you would like to learn more about becoming Stronger through change – register for our free webinar (Every Tuesday 10:00 am AEST).


photo credit: Arie Wubben on Unsplash

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