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Mastering the Art of Emotional Balance: Mother’s Day Edition

Updated: May 10

emotional regulation

As Mother's Day approaches, emotions may swirl in a complex tapestry for many individuals. While this day is often a time of celebration and appreciation for the influential women in our lives, it can also evoke feelings of grief, longing, or loneliness for those who have lost their mothers or have strained relationships with them. Furthermore, for individuals who do not have children, or who have experienced challenges in their journey to motherhood, Mother's Day may serve as a painful or even angry reminder of unfulfilled dreams and societal expectations.


In the midst of these varied emotions, practicing emotional regulation becomes paramount. As a wife, daughter, sister, and friend, I've come to understand the importance of navigating these complexities with grace and self-awareness. Emotional regulation is not about suppressing or denying our feelings, but rather acknowledging them and responding with compassion and understanding. American Psychological Association defines emotional regulation as “the ability of an individual to modulate an emotion or set of emotions.” In layman’s terms, emotional regulation is the ability to not only navigate your emotions but to also take control.


For those who find Mother's Day challenging, whether due to loss, strained relationships, or unfulfilled desires, emotional regulation offers a pathway to healing and resilience. By honoring our emotions, acknowledging them and and giving ourselves permission to release them, we can create space for healing and growth. Multiple studies show that there is a correlation between emotional regulation and well-being. Recent article suggests that having the tools and ability to regulate emotional response will likely positively impact well-being as well as reduce some symptoms of mental health. There are many tools and strategies that can aid in emotional regulation. This may involve engaging in self-care practices, seeking support from loved ones or mental health professionals, and finding meaningful ways to honor the memory of loved ones or nurture our own maternal instincts.



Mother's Day stress and sadness

Furthermore, extending compassion towards others who may be experiencing similar struggles allows us to cultivate empathy and connection. By acknowledging the diverse range of emotions surrounding Mother's Day, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all individuals, regardless of their circumstances. Here are practical tips to help you manage your emotions this Mother's Day, whether you're feeling joyful, reflective, or somewhere in between:


Acknowledge Your Feelings: Start by recognizing and naming your emotions. It's okay to feel sad, happy, or mixed as long as you don’t stay with that emotion for too long. The emotion wants to be released from your energy field so allow it. Acknowledging your feelings is the first step toward managing them healthily. When you feel ‘off’, take a moment, pause, and check in with yourself. Just acknowledge where you are without the need to figure anything out. Trust me when I say this, but trying to figure it out will most likely take you down the rabbit hole. If you start feeling worse after acknowledging your feelings, chances are you’ve either associated with that feeling or attempted to figure it out. Now it may be taking you to the rabbit hole. Just notice it and know it’s okay. I do that too. There are times when I don’t even know how I feel – this happens when I engage in too much rumination. Rumination is simply a process of overthinking to the point it causes harm rather than a benefit. Don’t worry if that happens, it’s not a bad thing, rather it is an invitation to release that emotion in a healthy way (next step).


Release Your Emotions in a Healthy Way: mindfulness and breathwork, guided emotional release visualization, meditation, release journaling, physical activity, art therapy, music, laughter, aromatherapy, connecting with nature and more. So as you’re reading this, one of these options is creating a level of excitement within you. That is your cue. In one moment you may find yourself overwhelmed and the idea of mindfulness may simply be overrated and far fetched. Then see what other option feels inviting to you. Right now, as I write this, I too feel overwhelmed. And what helps me is a visualization. Specifically, imagining a scenario of my task being completed and me feeling really great as I accomplish it.


Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Understand that it's normal to have a range of emotions about Mother's Day or in general. Allow yourself space to process or reflect without guilt. According to an article in American Psychological Association (APA), “Self-compassion goes beyond just forgiving yourself when you've made a mistake, says Neff, an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Self-compassion, she says, can be applied to any situation of emotional distress.” Practicing self-compassion involves three important elements: Self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. I work with my clients daily and the topic of self-compassion arises a lot. A question that always helps is to ask yourself – what would I tell my friend if they were in a situation I’m in right now? If you would be kind to your friend, you would show common humanity and were mindful, you can definitely learn self-compassion toward yourself. If, however you find it somewhat difficult, move on to the next topic – reach out for support.

support in the community

Connect with Support: Reach out to friends, family, or a support group who understand what you're going through. If your feelings are overwhelming, consider talking to a mental health professional. For some reason, I would always find support with older people. Maybe it is because they had a plethora of experience and wisdom within, and it was always easy for me to listen to them. One person that really thought me a lot was my grandmother. As I grew older, I would always gravitate toward older friends. Again, my subconscious reason was that I knew, they had some level of experience that could be helpful. One important thing I want to emphasize though is to be mindful of what, how and with whom you share when you seek support. What is the intention behind needing that support? Is it comfort? Is it to be heard or understood? And who are you sharing your situation with? Do you trust this person enough that they will not use the information you share against you? Will they be able to stay supportive rather than feel bad for you? The moment your support system starts to feel bad for you, it is no longer a support.


Create New Traditions: If traditional celebrations are painful (and this does not even have to relate to Mother’s Day), create new ones. This might mean spending the day doing something you love, remembering good times with your mother, or volunteering. This may sound little off, but one TV channel that focuses on creating new traditions is Hallmark. Some movies are actually quiet inspirational and you can pick up a new thing or two that you can incorporate into creating new memories with new traditions. For example, if Mother’s Day is heavy on you, you may make a new tradition to go for a road trip and each time choose a new location to explore. I love exploring new places, cultures and meeting new people. You may be surprised how much fun that can be!


Extend Compassion to Others: If you feel like you may need to practice compassion toward yourself, showing compassion to others may be a good start. When I give an example of seeing a small child hurting, always my clients respond compassionately. It is our nature to have compassion. Sometimes it gets buried under a lot of our own pain but trust me when I say this – your compassion is deep down inside you as well. The quickest way, at least for me, is to try to put myself into the shoes of others to truly try to understand what they may be going through. Remember that others might be struggling too. A kind word or a listening ear can be profoundly comforting. I’ve been in many situations where a quiet space was simply all that was needed.


Find Joy in Small Things: Try to find joy in the small moments of the day, whether it's enjoying a favorite meal, watching a beloved movie, or spending time in nature. You can look around yourself right now and focus on an object, plant, anything that is around you. What joy could this possibly bring you? Do you have a fun memory associated with this object? I’m looking at an umbrella and immediately I remembered a memory of trying to weather a storm with a weak umbrella. Well, you can only guess what happened to the umbrella as well as me. I got drenched but this memory brings smile to my face because it was funny when the umbrella did the flip on me. You can reflect on your day or yesterday and pull up from your memory bank a moment that felt joyful. The whole point here is to truly try to remember something. Many of us are too lazy to use our energy to think and often we just brush this off. But when you give yourself that time, you will be amazed at how many fun moments you will remember.

embrace joyful moments

This Mother's Day, let us embrace the power of emotional regulation as we navigate the complexities of our emotions. Whether we are celebrating the joys of motherhood, grieving the loss of a loved one, or longing for deeper connections, may we approach this day with empathy, understanding, and kindness towards ourselves and others. Please know you are not alone in navigating difficult moments. Hopefully this article has provided some valuable insight and strategies to better regulate your emotions.


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