Islamic Life Coach School Podcast

Self Regulation

May 07, 2024 Kanwal Akhtar Episode 180
Self Regulation
Islamic Life Coach School Podcast
More Info
Islamic Life Coach School Podcast
Self Regulation
May 07, 2024 Episode 180
Kanwal Akhtar


In this episode we talk about the intricacies of self-regulation and co-regulation. Picture yourself mastering the ability to remain composed during life's challenges. This exploration will guide you through the nuances of managing your emotional responses, the  strength of co-regulation, and the significant influence of a reliable ANCHOR—whether it be a mentor, a loved one, or a spiritual guide

In this episode we also discuss the dangers of relying on unsuitable anchors and the empowering growth that arises from freeing your relationships from undue burden of providing you with emotional regulation.

Through the perspective of faith, we will explore how spiritual practices such as dua, salah, and reciting the Quran can provide unparalleled stability, guidance, and peace. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If this podcast has benefited you, imagine the value of a one-on-one meeting with me! Click below to schedule your FREE consultation. Discover solutions with no obligation.

https://www.islamiclifecoachschool.com/appointments

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers


In this episode we talk about the intricacies of self-regulation and co-regulation. Picture yourself mastering the ability to remain composed during life's challenges. This exploration will guide you through the nuances of managing your emotional responses, the  strength of co-regulation, and the significant influence of a reliable ANCHOR—whether it be a mentor, a loved one, or a spiritual guide

In this episode we also discuss the dangers of relying on unsuitable anchors and the empowering growth that arises from freeing your relationships from undue burden of providing you with emotional regulation.

Through the perspective of faith, we will explore how spiritual practices such as dua, salah, and reciting the Quran can provide unparalleled stability, guidance, and peace. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If this podcast has benefited you, imagine the value of a one-on-one meeting with me! Click below to schedule your FREE consultation. Discover solutions with no obligation.

https://www.islamiclifecoachschool.com/appointments

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Islamic Life Coach School Podcast. Apply tools that you learn in this podcast and your life will be unrecognizably successful. Now your host, dr Kamal Asar. Hello, hello, hello everyone. Peace and blessings be upon all of you. Today I have an incredible topic for you to ponder on and develop over time. I'm going to start with some definitions and tell you some main pointers that you can make a note of, and I think those will be the most impactful in your life Overall.

Speaker 1:

Today's podcast has to do with emotional regulation. The first definition I'm going to tell you has to do with self-regulation, which is about grasping and steering your behavior and your responses to various emotions and events that unfold around you. Self-regulation involves mastering your reactions to a range of emotions and mastering your grasp over those emotions, whether it's frustration or a rush of excitement, a flare of anger or even a heat of embarrassment. The skill of self-regulation extends to recognizing these strong emotions, understanding their triggers and learning how to respond in a way that aligns with your future goals and values, rather than reacting impulsively. Then there is co-regulation. It refers to a process through which one person's emotional state helps to manage or stabilize another person's emotional state through their own nervous system. Co regulation happens when you provide emotional support through your comforting behaviors, empathetic listening, non-verbal cues such as eye contact, touch or body language, or co-regulation happens when emotional support in those manners is provided to you. Co-regulation is always reciprocated. And then the third important definition of today is an anchor. An anchor is someone who you use to stabilize your emotions, who provides you a steady base you can rely on. An anchor is a person in a relationship with you that is mutually beneficial and not overly dependent. The ultimate goal is that you become your own anchor. As an independent adult, you're able to self-regulate, but you do need to rely on co-regulation to some extent, meaning you need to use tools outside of you until you can develop your own self-regulation system. Self-regulation, again, is when you can manage yourself independently when an anchor outside of you is not available.

Speaker 1:

I want to invite you to consider some major points here that I'm going to make, the very first one of them being that you don't have to be in a reciprocal relationship with your anchor, meaning your anchor can be someone who has no idea that you even exist. It could be an online scholar who you consider a mentor, a teacher. You can frequently borrow their thoughts. You can rely on their knowledge, their ideas as an evolved human being to ground yourself Like. I'm a part of a Friday night halaqa by Rahma Foundation where different female scholars speak and I have some favorite ones. So I attend those halaqas with an intention to borrow their thoughts so I can regulate myself when the time is right. I rely a lot on YouTube videos, books, podcasts to borrow thoughts from people who are experts ahead of me in this evolved journey, and the reason I make this point is because I want to relieve you of the undue burden that you might be causing on your relationships. You are not doing it right if you are trying to create anchors out of people who are not able to provide that for you. A person that cannot self-regulate cannot be your anchor, it doesn't matter how close of a relationship you are in with them. You will save yourself a lot of stress if you stop trying to create an anchor out of someone who should have been one for you but actually isn't so.

Speaker 1:

Co-regulation is very important in early development. It begins as a primary interaction between a caregiver and an infant, where you, as a caregiver, respond to an infant's need in a way that's sensitive and nurturing. This responsiveness helps the child learn to self-soothe and eventually self-regulate using their own nervous system. Over time, as children observe and interact with their caregivers, who model effective emotional regulation, they also learn to understand and manage their own emotions. So co-regulation comes from a self-regulated adult that leads to a child being able to self-regulate, and this is a cycle. As an adult, you are your main anchor. That's what self-regulation is all about. If you have a labile person in your life that is in a close, intimate relationship with you husband, parent, auntie you don't have to use them as your anchor. You have that permission. Your self-regulation includes the ability to calm yourself down when you start to feel overwhelmed. Your ability to cheer yourself up when you're feeling down or choosing to be stressed or sad when the situation calls for it. By managing your emotional responses, you're better equipped to make thoughtful decisions. You are able to communicate more effectively. You will build stronger relationships like that.

Speaker 1:

Mastering self-regulation is pretty much about keeping your reactions in check. The way to do that is to hold your thoughts and feelings in awareness. In the beginning it might be more work for you than you're used to just to keep thinking about what you're thinking and what that thinking is producing, but with time it will come naturally. Understanding this will transform not only your life but how you connect with others. Learning to self-regulate is about gaining authority over your life, because who doesn't love being around someone who's a calm, grounded presence, someone who has their emotions under control? There's just something about that vibe that makes everyone around them feel more secure and steady. When you're near someone who's really in control of their feelings and their thoughts, it helps you find your own inner calm.

Speaker 1:

Babies co-regulate with adults all the time. That's actually one of the reasons they need an adult presence in their life, because their own minds are too delicate to control their emotions at such a young age that co-regulation eventually promotes self-regulation. But which one comes first, the chicken or the egg? And it's a cycle. But you have to start with self-regulation so that co-regulation comes more naturally to you. So self-regulation involves understanding and managing your own behaviors, reactions to both your feelings and the events that occur around you. Co -regulation, on the other hand, involves supporting others in staying grounded and calm, as well as using their stabilizing presence to help regulate your own emotions. Co-regulation happens in adult relationships, but it's usually not talked about as much because most of the time when we refer to co-regulation, we're talking about an adult providing a grounding, safe presence for a child. But this same co-regulation happens in all of your adult relationships all of the time. In a romantic relationship, you co-regulate with your husband all of the time. Even in a conversation when co-regulation isn't the goal, it ends up happening anyways. And it also happens in the opposite direction as well.

Speaker 1:

When someone else is worked up or agitated or anxious, you can get dysregulated by being near them if you don't have a handle of your own nervous system. This is why it is so extremely important to learn to self-regulate first. So here's the second main point of this podcast. I am not telling you that both parties have to verbally agree to co-regulate. You can just provide it to another person without them ever knowing, and that is a big advantage of this concept. How can you provide a secure anchor for someone else and choose your own anchors in other people without them finding out? When someone is agitated, anxious, restless, stressed, angry, they don't have to verbally agree to want to co-regulate with you to calm themselves down. A trusting relationship is a standing agreement that they're allowing you to be a calming presence in their life, so you can provide yourself as an anchor to them in how you see best fits their needs. Maybe it's just that they want you to listen to them. Maybe they just want you to agree with their emotions and point of view and that's all the regulation they're looking for. Maybe it's something more you can decide. But since co-regulation is happening subconsciously, they don't have to come and verbally ask you to do that for them.

Speaker 1:

The third point is that the flip side is also true and again so underutilized. When you're feeling overwhelmed by stress, like worrying about appointments, to-do lists or financial concerns, you can find solace in somebody else's calm demeanor. For example, if your spouse or partner remains cool-headed and rational during stressful times, you can lean on their perspective and stability to help manage your own stress. By observing how they approach problems. What kind of methodology are they using? You can adopt some of their strategies to reduce your anxiety. But just to clarify, you are not using their feelings to calm yourselves down. You're generating your own feelings of calm and connectedness. You're just borrowing their thoughts. Or let's say, you have a packed schedule and pressing deadlines.

Speaker 1:

Or if you find yourself panicking about budgeting concerns, meanwhile your husband is systematically tackling each task without feeling rushed, or maybe the grounding presence in your life is your mother, father, brother, best friend, and she maintains a calm approach to financial planning, engaging with them to see what their thoughts are about the matter. Is you using them as an anchor to co-regulate yourself? You pinpointing what strategies are they using to stay organized, watching them break down the tasks into manageable pieces and how they prioritize effectively All of that can prove to be a great anchor for you, helping you feel more control and less frazzled, and they never have to find out. So there is a huge reciprocity in co-regulation. Use it to your advantage. In co-regulation, you're using somebody else's grounding presence for self-regulation, and when you yourself are well regulated, you can offer your presence for someone else to regulate with you, and on and on it goes.

Speaker 1:

Fourth major point I want to make here is that you can use children as your anchor. Do not dismiss children as being your co-regulating partner, because they are sometimes your best teachers. They are in awe at the smallest things and you just have to adopt their point of view to find happiness in just jumping in puddles, finding joy in the simplest things in life. All of this creates an increased emotional intelligence, improved communication. But co-regulation does not mean you taking responsibility for another person's emotion. You're just helping them see what they might not be able to see themselves.

Speaker 1:

Maybe when your friend is having imposter syndrome she can borrow your belief in her. Even in that case you're not creating her emotion of self-confidence. You're just letting her see that you believe in her and it's up to her to borrow that belief and create her own self-confidence. As a medical student, I borrowed my parents' belief in me all of the time. It got so hard being married. I had my son in the second year of med school studies boards rotations it was very easy for me to feel crushed under the pressure, but I remembered how much everyone around me supported me and believed in me. Alhamdulillah, I caused my own emotion of assuredness when I thought of their belief in my ability to accomplish when what otherwise seemed impossible. Even if I use other adults in my life to co-regulate, they do not cause my emotions. They are never responsible for my emotions. Only I am.

Speaker 1:

So some of the other examples of anchoring and regulation are if you're deep in a conversation with a good friend about something you totally disagree on a topic that can otherwise be a friendship minefield, if you're in tune with your own feelings and you can steer them deliberately, you can keep the talk from spiraling into a mess. Not only it will save your relationship, but it will also strengthen it for the future, because a lot of people don't ever reach that level of understanding. When you master your own emotional state, the person you're with picks up on that and begins to find their own balance. This level of mutual regulation will amplify your influence. Or let's say for my family when we're stuck in traffic and my husband starts to feel impatient he sees that I'm so unbothered by it he subconsciously finds an anchor in me. He can always choose to stay dysregulated and stressed, but he can also choose, to borrow my demeanor of I mean, what's the worst that can happen? We will miss the flight. So what? We will catch the next one.

Speaker 1:

Or when you feel too lazy to go for a run, you're inspired by other people's discipline that encourages you to keep up with your fitness routine, especially if you have a specific anchor in mind, somebody who you want to model after. That's you co-regulating your nervous system to achieve your goals without their knowledge. All self-regulation really means is that you're not letting your emotions run wild or your thoughts take off on tangents. You have control over your emotions through the sentences in your mind. You're focused and deliberate in your actions, and once you've got this down, you open up the possibility of not just managing your own emotional world, but also helping others feel more secure and grounded. And if you're not there yet, no worries, it's a level of skill that's definitely within reach with some practice and mastery. And if this journey is something that you're up for, why not consider coaching, because we dive deep into your emotional world and improving how you can connect with others? Using this level of regulation system, you can unlock the amazing gift of being a stable, grounded presence that uplifts your interactions and enhances your life.

Speaker 1:

A lot of times, people in intimate relationships with you with first degree relatives or spouse will have their own issues going on and they don't have the capacity to co-regulate with you In such moments. If you're completely dependent on them to help you solve your problems, then that can create a major strain on the relationship and even a relationship rupture, where you expect them to help you out with your situation, but they themselves are not in a mental or emotional space to be able to do that, and this might not be out of malice of their heart. It's just that they might need you to regulate yourself in that moment, because they are humans after all. If you're stuck in the resentment of the past of how an emotionally absent parent couldn't help you regulate and that's why you didn't learn self-regulation now, I will remind you that as an adult, you have all of the machinery to regulate yourself and start learning the process today. I do have a very solid framework in my EMW Empowered Muslim Women program for you to be able to do that, where we learn all of this level of self-leadership and self-accountability. And it's not as difficult as you might think. It's just a matter of practice and understanding of a few basic concepts. We integrate all of the learning with your life scenarios, so you don't have to put aside extra time to be able to practice this and, as per usual, I will save the best for last.

Speaker 1:

And this is you co-regulating with Allah, since these terms only mean how we currently describe how to take control of ourselves. What better force out there other than the Creator to help us self-regulate? Your thoughts about Allah will help you co-regulate. Use Allah as an ever-present anchor in your life when the most solid of solid, most grounded human beings can lose their footing Because they can get dysregulated. You have Allah to rely on.

Speaker 1:

Refinement of your spiritual practices will help you co-regulate, with Allah as an anchor. The most sincere dua, the blissful salah, the recitation of the word of Allah in the Quran all are meant to be grounding for you as a human. Remember we need to pray more than Allah needs our prayers. In self-regulation, the anchor are your own thoughts. In co-regulation, your anchor is someone else outside of you who you're borrowing thoughts from, but the most universal anchor is Allah SWT. With that I pray to Allah SWT. O Allah, the creator, the sustainer of all, grant me the strength and patience in times of challenge. Give me the wisdom to manage my emotions and actions gracefully. Help me remain anchored in your guidance alone. O Allah, let me use my experiences to grow and assist others. Please surround me with those who bring me peace and stability, and let me be the source of calm and support for all of them as well. Ameen, ya Rabbul A'lamin, please keep me in your du'as. I will talk to you guys next time.

Emotional Regulation and Co-Regulation
Mastering Self-Regulation and Co-Regulation
Prayer and Co-Regulation With Allah