Emotions are an integral part of daily life. They also change from moment to moment. For teenagers, hormones, prolonged stress, and a lack of mental health support can make it a challenge to manage emotions. This can lead many teens to use drugs or alcohol. While the self-soothing effects of drugs or alcohol may provide a temporary escape from difficult emotions, those feelings will return when the substance wears off. A mental health treatment program can be an excellent way for teens to understand their emotions and develop skills for emotional regulation.

If your teen is struggling with difficult emotions, we can help. At Fort Behavioral Health, our inpatient and outpatient programs provide alternative and evidence-based therapies for a holistic approach to adolescent mental health and substance abuse. Call us now at 844.332.1807 or contact us online to find out how a mental health treatment program at Fort Behavioral Health can help your teen.

Emotions Defined

Emotions are mental states brought on by thoughts, actions, reactions, and memories. Despite originating in the brain, emotions cause physical reactions and sensations like crying, laughter, chills, chest tightening, and more. Unfortunately, in today’s society, we rarely discuss emotions.

Common emotions include:

  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Happiness
  • Elation
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Anxiety

Today’s teenagers are often told to suppress their emotions rather than taught what emotions are and how they influence our daily lives. Many people struggle to recognize, name, and engage with their emotions.

What Are Emotional Regulation Skills?

Emotional regulation skills are just what they sound like. They are learning how to regulate emotional states. Because emotions come from thoughts, feelings, and reactions, they are changeable. In fact, emotions come and go throughout the day. Feelings of amusement or guilt may follow a moment of grief. How we emotionally respond to the world around us and our thoughts depends on our belief systems, childhood, and emotional intelligence.

Many people struggle to regulate emotions. This can lead to outbursts of violent behavior, self-harm, self-isolate, and most times, substance use. When someone works with a therapist to hone their ability to withstand painful emotions, regulate emotional states, and shift emotions, they no longer need drugs, alcohol, or other harmful behaviors to cope.

Emotional Regulation Skills for Teenagers

Learning emotional regulation as a teenager can be instrumental in adult life.

Some ways teens can learn to regulate their emotional states and cope with different emotions include:

  • Mindfulness and meditation – Meditations allow our thoughts, feelings, and emotions to pass without judgment. Through meditative states and mindful awareness, teens realize emotions are fleeting. They build a tolerance to let painful emotions pass.
  • Exercise – Exercise can be a great way to process emotions and stay balanced. Similar to meditation, exercise relies on present moment awareness and often lets teens work through emotions physically.
  • Getting creative – The creative arts are a wonderful way for teens to express emotions without using words. Painting, drawing, sculpting, and dance are great tools for emotional regulation.

These are only a few ways teens can use emotional regulation skills. Working with a behavioral therapist can be a significant first step towards emotional regulation. It can also help teens get the diagnosis they need for co-occurring mood disorders. If a teen struggles with a mood disorder, they will have a more difficult time regulating their emotions. A therapist at Fort Behavioral Health can help.

Help Your Teen Learn Emotional Regulation Skills at Fort Behavioral Health

Does your teen need support regulating their emotions? Contact our team at Fort Behavioral Health today. Our mental health programs pair teens with master clinicians for a continuum of care. With a range of therapy programs, our alternative and evidence-based therapy can help teenagers understand, manage, and cope with their emotional states. Being a teen is never easy. Let our team help your child build resilience today. If you’re ready to learn more about our mental health programs, fill out our online form or call us now at 844.332.1807 to get started.


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