The two ways we regulate our emotions

The ability to regulate or change our own emotions when we need to has been shown to be one of the factors for successful human and social functioning.

Over the past ten to fifteen years research studies have shown we tend to regulate our emotions in two distinct ways:

  • Up-regulation and
  • Down-regulation.

Up-regulation is the ability to increase the intensity of a feeling or emotion and
Down-regulation refers to the ability to reduce or remove a feeling or emotion.

For example when someone annoys us, curecure viagra saleviagra sale we can either escalate (up regulate) the feelings, shopshop get angry and shout at the other person, or (usually if it's the boss or a new girlfriend or boyfriend that annoys us) downregulate it, minimise or even completely disregard the feeling as if the incident had no impact.

On a day to day basis we are constantly up and down regulating our emotions. It's how we get on with each other.


Gross, J. J. (Ed.). (2007). Handbook of emotion regulation. New York: Guilford Press

Giuliani, N.R., McRae, K., and Gross, J.J. (2008) The Up- and Down-Regulation of Amusement: Experiential, Behavioral, and Autonomic Consequences. Emotion

2008, Vol. 8, No. 5, 714–719


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