emotionally regulated family

Why First Responder Families Need Emotional Regulation Strategies and Tools

communication emotional regulation first responder children first responder family first responder marriage mental health

Families are busy. You get up in the morning, get the kids up, dressed, fed and out the door to school. You might not even get the chance to see your spouse because they already  returned from the night shift and are in bed or they are up before you and already gone for the day shift. After the chaos of the morning, you head to your own job and spend your day busy as well. 


At the end of the day everyone in the family returns home in a variety of emotional states. Some of us might be happy and energized from the day, while others might be checked out and on their phone, or maybe snappy and cranky. I like to say that they go from Bruce Banner to the Hulk. The thing is though, none of you are like this at work or school. Most people spend their day as Bruce Banner. They are switched-on, energized, able to problem solve and communicate clearly. So why is it that some of us turn into the Hulk at home?


This is very common, especially for First Responders. After dealing with high stress situations all day, when they get home, everything drops. The adrenaline running through their system all day starts to decline. Unfortunately, this stress release can sometimes be in the form of frustration or anger. Especially if your First Responder is dealing with an Operational Stress Injury, such as PTSD. Some spouses believe that “if I do this: talk to them about it, ignore it, etc., then they will calm down”. The truth is though, that we are all only responsible for ourselves. It is our own personal responsibility to manage or change the emotional state that we all find ourselves in at the end of the day. 


This is where learning emotional regulation tools and strategies can be extremely beneficial. These strategies and tools can not only help your First Responder deal with their stress and emotions better but also help yourself and your children learn how to deal with their emotions better too. When everyone is able to regulate themselves, this can lead to better communication and connection as a family. 


So what Is emotional regulation? It is the ability to control or manage your emotional responses. We may not be able to control the things that happen in our lives but we can learn to control how we respond to them. When you are able to recognize your emotions and decide how to react to things, this is emotional regulation. Practicing emotional regulation does not mean that you are ignoring how you feel or pushing your feelings down and not dealing with them. It means you are recognizing your feelings and choosing to more effectively respond to a situation. Emotional self-regulation allows you to keep your emotions in check and respond more logically.


Studies have shown that people who practice emotional regulation are more resilient and less stressed. Those who can regulate their emotions often have improved impulse control, problem-solving skills, are more flexible in their thinking and have better focus. This can lead to improved self-confidence and a happier more fulfilled life.


As a first responder family you can learn emotional regulation strategies and tools to use in your everyday life. Using these tools when emotions get high or when your First Responder gets home from a hard day at work can change things from stressful to calm in your home. 


If you are interested in learning some tangible emotional regulation tools, my Resilience Academy might be the answer you are searching for. In this comprehensive course, I help you and your First Responder family to get to a much mentally healthier place with tangible solutions.

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