Topics Understanding Emotional Stability. Understanding Emotional Lability (Instability). Causes & Symptoms. Role in Psychological Disorders Methods for Enhancing Emotion Stability.
Emotional Stability is… “…Calmness of mind and freedom from anxiety and depression …” (Hay & Ashman, 2003 : 2). Someone who has the ability to cope with general changes in the environment without responding with an intense emotional reaction, is said to be emotionally stable.
Attributes of Emotionally Stable Individual Emotional maturity Self-confidence. Stability in their plans and affections. Do not give into occasional fluctuations in their mood (i.e. their moods are stabilised). (Pavlenko, Chernyi and Goubkina, 2009: p. 39)
Emotional Lability (Instability) Permanent or temporary loss of emotional regulation. Emotions dominate the controlling facilities of the brain e.g. ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), the right prefrontal cortex (PFC). Loss of control gives way to bursts of emotion for no apparent reason. No stopping to self-regulate emotion or stopping to self-calm (Barkley, 2010).
The Lymbic System
Non-Stress Conditions What this looks like… Regulators maintain control Stress Conditions Regulators loose Control
Dr Russell Barkley Talking About the role of PFC regulation and the Limbic System .
Symptoms of Emotional Labilty Emotionally Impulsive. Low-Frustration Tolerance. Impatience. Quickness to Anger. Unable to tolerate waiting. Showing your emotions more easily; more raw unmoderated emotion. Generally more easily excitable. Barkley (2010)
Causes Found in Research Physiological Brain Injury. Stroke or Car Accident (DSM III, 1987). ADHD (Barkley, 2010) Psychological Trauma and Stress (Martens, 2004) Anxiety and Depression (Pavlenko, Chernyi & Goubkina, 2009)
Trauma Been known to impair emotional and social functioning. Results in: “…emotional…dysfunction (feelings of loss of old capacities, habits, and relationships) because of its intensive devastating, uncontrollable, profound, and long-lasting impact on all internal dimensions of the person's life…” (Martens, 2004: 24). Symptom of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (DSM III, 1987).
Emotional Lability is likely to be characterised through a 'flood of emotions' in response to trauma-related stimuli (Weimer, 2002; cited in Martens, 2004).
Depression Enhances unstable patterns of negative emotions (i.e. fails to regulate emotional balance). Loss of control: Inability to suppress these negative emotions (Rhodes et al, 2007). Low-seratonin levels.
Anxiety Highly anxious individuals will generally have lower emotional stability (Pavlenko, Chernyi & Goubkina, 2009).
Enhancing Emotional Stability Resilience "Resilience is not just a matter of constitutional strength or a robust temperament, it is also a product of how people perceive, appraise, approach and tackle stresses and challenges" (Bruce and Rickards, 2004: 1). EFA’s: Omega 3, 6 and 9 (Holford, 2003).
APA’s Recommendations… “Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away. Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality, and heightened appreciation for life. Nurture a positive view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience. Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion. Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience. Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful. For example, some people write about their deepest thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events in / their life. Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope.
Meditation Recent studies have identified the extreme impact of meditation on the emotional balance of the mind (Lutz et al, 2008). Lutz (et al, 2008: 1) conceptualised meditation as the, "emotional and alternational regulatory training regimes developed for various ends, including the cultivation of well-being and emotional balance" Enhances consciousness to non-reactively 'monitor' the events and the experience of emotions which are occurring in the mind (Lutz et al, 2008).
References American Psychological Association. (2009). The Road to Resilience. at http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx# Visited 3/11/2010. Barkley, R. (2010). ADHD- Emotional Regulation. Presentation at The Centre for ADHD/ADD Advocacy Canada (CADDAC), at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cw8jHUkHiA (Visited 14.11.2010). Holford, P. (2003). Optimum Nutrition for the Mind. Piatkus: London. Lutz, A., Slagter, H.A., Dune, J.A., Davidson, R.J. (2008) Attention Regulation and Monitoring in Meditation. Cognitive Emotional Trends, 12(4), 163-169 Martens, W.h.j. (2004). Multidimensional Model of Trauma and Correlated personality Disorder. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 10(2). Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd ed. - revised. (DSM-III-R). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, 1987. Pavlenko, V.S., Chernyi, S.V., & Goubkina, D.G. (2009) EEG Correlates of Anxiety and Emotional Stability in Adult Healthy Subjects. Neurophysiology, 41(5), 400-408.