Emotional Regulation through Recovery

I recently connected with a young stroke warrior and emotional regulation was a topic that came up in our conversation. It was something that we could both relate to, and she was curious and interested in learning about ways to build skills for when those moments arise.

Emotional regulation is an important part of stroke recovery for many survivors. With the changes that take place in the brain functions and processing, combined with the intense emotions that can arise from the changes in daily life, emotional regulation is a valuable skill that may take some time and effort to rebuild.

                One thing that is valuable is being able to recognize the intense emotions that come up. An example of a situation that may bring these intense emotions could be cooking. It’s a familiar experience that feels completely different and can be filled with challenges both cognitively and physically. The knife may be held differently, the veggies may be chopped differently, and multitasking may feel chaotic and overwhelming. Trying to cook and organize everything successfully, and the same way it used to be done, is one situation that may lead to intense emotions, outbursts, or breakdowns.

                Once we’re aware of the emotions that are present in a situation, we have options. Stepping away from the situation to give ourselves space can be very helpful, even if it’s just taking our focus elsewhere. Once the focus is shifted, we can take a moment to have some compassion for ourselves. It’s often difficult situations that bring up the intense emotion, so acknowledging our efforts with positivity and checking in with our own expectations can have a huge effect!

Many emotions may feel very new or different after a stroke, so beginning to have awareness to those emotions will be an excellent way to begin building and rebuilding the skills of emotional regulation. Similar to many other areas of recovery, remember to have compassion for yourself through this phase of your journey!

Ashley Voth

Ashley is a Yoga instructor and a Stroke Survivor. She was drawn to become a yoga teacher after having the yoga practice be a valuable part of the physical and spiritual journey through stroke recovery. She helps fellow Stroke Warriors feel empowered, build inner strength, and embrace individuality in this moment.

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