The Emotion Regulation Process Model and Emotional Check-In Questions For Adults

Emotion Regulation Process Model Emotional Check-In Questions For Adults

When we have a calm state of mind, we make better decisions.  But maintaining this state of mind can be difficult.  The emotion regulation process model is designed with emotional check-in questions for adults.  It’s a proven technique to help regain and maintain emotional equilibrium.

Our fast-paced, stress-filled lives demand that we prioritize our emotional well-being.  Managing our emotions allows us to navigate life’s challenges and foster healthy relationships.

The first thinking we must do is acknowledge the value and significance of our emotions.  Your emotions affect the quality of thought.  We need to recognize and understand our emotions as vital sources of information.  By reframing our perspective, we can use our emotions as a tool.  When we learn to control them, they become allies on our journey.

How to Maintain Emotional Equilibrium

Daily life presents us with challenges that can be frustrating.  (1) We can also encounter things that are scary or frightening.  So knowing how to manage your emotional response is a skill that will help you reduce your stress level and think more clearly.

To think clearly, you must be able to concentrate.  Concentration requires a calm state of mind.  Being calm and centered mind is essential for problem-solving and important decisions.  To maintain an open-minded and unbiased perspective, you must minimize emotional interference.  Remaining calm when dealing with sensitive issues is difficult, but you can do it!  A simple checking method will help you stay on track, avoid emotional distress, and yield better results.

Emotional check-in questions for adults alert us to emotions that could affect our ability to think clearly.   This process is especially helpful when dealing with issues that involve your core beliefs.  Using this method ensures we base our decisions on evidence rather than emotions.

This process is ideal for everyday life.  It is a critical tool for research and inner work.  Many people use it with any social media because these platforms can elicit emotions.

Challenging our Beliefs

When we encounter ideas that do not align with our paradigm, it creates a conflict.  This conflict may prompt the “fight, flight, or freeze” automatic reaction.  When we cannot resolve the difference between our beliefs and new data, it causes stress.  Tension and stress cause a pain response, and it can manifest as physical or mental pain or both.  It causes headaches, back and muscle pain, severe anxiety, and anger.  It causes the psychological condition of cognitive dissonance.

We can use the emotion regulation check process model to minimize the emotional impact of this internal conflict.  It helps us regain control of our feelings so we can deal with the issue without emotional interference.  It’s a quick break but saves time in the long run.  Checking our emotions ensures we stay on track and can use common sense to guide our thinking.  We know conflicts will arise, so we use this process to minimize emotional interference.

However, this dilemma also creates an opportunity for us to change our beliefs.  These internal battles present us with some of the best opportunities for personal growth.  They help us find out if we are wrong about something.  It’s the opportunity to face any fears we have about our sacred ground, and we know fears and phobias are limits and boundaries that imprison us.

The Emotion Regulation Process Model

This process is composed of five initial progressive steps to help you achieve a calm state of mind.  You only use the step necessary to ensure your emotions do not influence you negatively.  We have more options if the first five steps don’t work.

You can return to your research or inner work when you reach emotional equilibrium.  Stopping regularly to evaluate our feelings will ensure that we minimize internal bias.  It’s easy, takes only a few moments to implement, makes your research more accurate, and saves you time in the long run.

Here’s a synopsis of the model:


1) Stop
2) Assess and Ask Questions
3) Write
4) Contemplate Without Emotional Attachment
5) Extra Steps


A. Talk to Some
B. Remove the Source
C. Travel
D. Use Self-Care
E. Don’t Give Up

Sometimes it only takes a few long breaths to regain control, but you must take extra steps to restore control other times.  Every situation is different.

Something threatening your sacred ground will trigger the fight, flight or freeze reaction.  When this system is activated, the body releases hormones to power our muscles and shut off pain receptors.  However, the chemicals released by this emergency system are harmful to higher thinking centers of the cortex.  Never fear; our brain has a built-in failsafe which blocks blood flow when this emergency system is engaged.

When the fight, flight or freeze mechanism engages, the primitive mind takes over.  It makes us faster and stronger, but we cannot engage the higher thinking centers needed for making the best decisions.

So this process helps us regain composure.  It teaches us how to calm the active mind to achieve a calm state of mind.  This makes it possible to change the focus of thinking and return to and maintain emotional equilibrium.  (2)

You will find many practical uses for this method.  It is integral to many inner work methods.  We use it with the Enneagram Profile, Delving into Memories, and Comparative Analysis.

We do not make the best rational decisions in a highly emotional state of fear or anger.  Here’s how we can learn to control this triggering system.

Emotional Check-in Questions For Adults

emotional check process to calm the active mind and achieve a calm state of mind.

Step One — Stop and Calm the Active Mind

The first step is the most important.  Pause and take two deep breaths.  This simple step will usually stop the active mind long enough for us to find out what’s going on with our feelings.  Learn to pause every 15 to 20 minutes.  Stopping four times an hour seems like a lot.  However, it does not feel intrusive once you get into the rhythm.  A pro tip is to use a kitchen timer.

What is step one?  Stop and take two deep breaths.  Two breaths are all it normally takes to stop negative emotional momentum.  Now are ready for step two.

Doing these breaks gives you time to summarize what you’ve just learned.  Plus, the space assesses how the new data affects your emotional state.  If you do this, you’ll never lose control.

The emotion regulation process model is both preventative and restorative.  Building a habit of conducting regular emotional checks is a good preventive measure.  This simple process helps to keep you calm and reduce stress while making sure you think clearly.  It saves time.  You will be grateful for these breaks whenever you engage in research involving your worldview.  Sometimes we aren’t aware we get upset until it is too late.  It’s better to stop and assess.

Step two — Use Emotional Check-In Questions for Adults

If you stop to assess things and feel anxious, upset, or afraid, it’s time to dig deeper.  Similarly, whenever you feel anxious, angry, or fearful, stop.  If you feel physical pain, stop!  Don’t ignore the signs of mental or physical discomfort.  Pain is how your body tells you something important that needs your attention.  The effects of cognitive dissonance are real.

What is step two?  After you stop and take two deep breaths, ask yourself these questions.  It takes only 10 seconds.

  • Ask yourself, how do I feel?
  • What’s the label for my feelings?
  • Where is this feeling originate?
  • Is this feeling related to other issues?
  • Is it dissipating or the same?

You can have adverse reactions whenever running into something which challenges your beliefs.  So, when you become angry or fearful, stop.  Otherwise, your research will not give you accurate results.

Everyone is susceptible to the negative programming of religion and politics.  That’s why we take steps to control our feelings.  When we are anxious, angry, or fearful, it will affect our thinking.  So, it will distort our conclusions.

How long should you wait?  Wait until you are reasonably calm.  Everyone is different.  It depends upon your reaction to the stimulus.  It can take an hour or more to calm the active mind, especially if you trigger powerful negative emotions of anger or hate.   You might need a few days off.

Step Three — Time for Action, Write About It

What is step three?  If you are not upset and feeling normal, you are done.  If you have emotions that are lingering, write about them.

Write about both the facts and your feelings.  Use a spiritual journal to record your thoughts, then ask yourself questions about your reaction.  It’s helpful to keep a record of your responses to help you spot any trends.  Using emotional check-in questions for adults can bring up the same issue and emotional chain of emotions.

Then write about the answers you find when asking yourself questions.  What you discover about your reaction is as important as the data.  What patterns do you see?

Putting your emotions on paper can help clarify the issues and give you a safe outlet to express your feelings.  And it’s an excellent way to sort out the facts from your feelings.  Writing is a simple process to help you regain and maintain emotional equilibrium.  It will calm the active mind.

Step Four — Contemplate Without Emotional Attachment

And what is step four?  Look at the answers you wrote in step 2.    If you still have strong emotions tied to what you’ve uncovered, progress to step five.

Go back to your answers to the emotional check-in questions for adults.  Ask yourself these questions.  Does this data trigger my feelings?  If so, why?  What does this data mean?  Can I review the issues without negative emotions?  If so, go back to work.

If you can’t think about it without becoming upset, skip it.  It is okay.  Some people can handle emotional attachment better than others.   If you can’t separate your feelings from the data, skip this and try another technique.  Over time, this process will help you develop your self-observational skills.

For some people, this strategy helps lessen the emotional impact of data that challenges their beliefs.  Try going back to step two and writing more about your feelings.

Step Five — What do Do If Do Not Achieve a Calm State of Mind

Pain or anxiety, which coincides with something threatening your beliefs, is a clue.  You are likely suffering from cognitive dissonance.  The pain is real.  You are wrestling with something that conflicts with your beliefs.  The emotion regulation process model helps you to stop or reduce discomfort.  Then you can take the necessary steps to resolve the conflict.

One of the most common reasons people get stuck is they cannot remove the source of the negative social programming.  If you continue to expose yourself, it will increase the effects of cognitive dissonance.

Second, realizing our opinions based on mythology and superstition is hard to swallow.  When we accept superstition as part of our worldview, it can also impact our identity.  It’s hard to change something that becomes a part of your self-identity.  Here’s what you can do.

A. Talk to Someone

A good option is to talk with someone about your dilemma, which is unbiased.  Don’t seek support from someone likely to reinforce your current beliefs.  A neutral party, such as a professional therapist, is best.

B. Eliminate The Source

Eliminate or reduce the sources which reinforce your current beliefs.  It is often the hardest step because the group hypnosis manipulation tactics they use are addictive.  The most common sources which support our worldview come from religion.  Minimizing exposure becomes more difficult if religion dominates your life.

Take a break from the source, the research, or social media.  Give yourself some time to process the information.  One thing that always helps is to stop watching and listening to religious TV and radio programs.  It’s a simple way to get immediate relief.

Realize religious propaganda will always exacerbate emotional issues rather than make them better.   Recognizing and eliminating the source of your conflict is an essential aspect of the emotional check-in process.  Don’t overlook it.  Minimizing your exposure to negative cultural programming is vital.

C. Travel

A trip can get you out of your comfort zone.  If you can’t travel, watch TV shows about traveling worldwide.  The goal is to remove yourself from the influence of the cultural narrative.  It is an opportunity to see how other people value things differently.   New surroundings are an antidote to the effects of cultural programming.  It will not only reduce exposure, but it gives you a fresh perspective.

D. Self-Care

Engage in proper self-careCreate a space to achieve and maintain emotional equilibrium.  It takes your active mind off the issues and gives you a chance to gain composure.  Sometimes, you need to sort things out by focusing on something else.

E. Don’t Give Up

Continue to use steps two and three of the process above.  If you are doing research, you also engage in inner work, exposing our sacred ground.

Final Thoughts on The Emotion Regulation Process Model

With the world changing rapidly, we can get caught up in our emotions.  Learning to pause and regain control of our emotions is essential to our everyday lives.  It’s a process you can use anywhere and anytime.  The emotional check-in questions can be done in less than a minute.

Using this process will make your research more accurate.  It will save you time in the long term and reduce the stress of investigating challenging ideas.  These brief breaks are the researcher’s quality check.  They help to keep you on track.

Facing data that conflicts with closely held beliefs is serious inner work.  This research often brings up powerful feelings that trigger our “fight, flight, or freeze” reaction.  So, we need to control this reaction.

When our primitive instincts are engaging, we must take steps to regain and maintain emotional equilibrium.  You will find other uses for this method when you learn to calm the active mind.  You can use it effectively during meetings.  So, emotional checks are a necessity for everyone on the spiritual journey.  (1)  Please don’t underestimate the value of using the emotion regulation process model.


(1) Integrating emotion regulation and emotional intelligence traditions: a meta-analysis: 
(2) The Immediate and Lasting Effect of Emotion Regulation in Adolescents: An ERP Study: 
(3) Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces