What is the volume knob problem?  Well it’s a way I think about the fact that some people experience their emotions more intensely than others.  This is what the psychologists call “emotional dysregulation” or problems regulating emotions.

All sorts of things can cause it.  Some people are born more sensitive to their emotions.  Upbringing also has a big influence, particularly the emotional atmosphere and how emotionally literate your family was when you were growing up.  Regulating or managing your emotions is a skill just like anything else and if you weren’t taught much about it, then you might struggle to cope with intense emotions.

Trauma of any kind can also cause emotional dysregulation and it’s also true that if people who don’t have the skills to regulate their emotions experience trauma then the effects can also be worse for them.

Often if we experience our emotions strongly, it can leave us feeling like emotions are a “problem” and often this is what other people tell us too… “calm down, you’re making too much of it; you’ve got nothing to worry about; get over it!”  Sound famillar?  Maybe you tell yourself these things too.

The volume knob is a simple way of thinking about emotional dysregulation and is based on a very simple idea:

There is no wrong way to feel.  EVER.

The problem with emotions is not that we feel the “wrong” thing, but we feel it too intensely.  The “volume” is up too high.  And while it might seem radical to say there is no wrong way to feel, every emotion has an understandable cause or origin if we know where to look.

How to solve our anxiety problems?

Only by increasing our ability to look for and understand that cause or origin can we truly solve the problem of anxiety, or turn the volume down.  Their is no mute switch and the more you try to mute your fears the louder they get.

I’ve put together a whole range of skills that will help you to observe and understand your fears, and figure out what the causes are.  Initially you might need some ear protection, but eventually you can learn to get the volume of your anxiety and other emotions down to a pleasant volume.

These skills will help you to learn about how to better manage your mind, body, behaviour and relationships.  Stay tuned and I’ll tell you how to sign up to our community and turn down the volume.

Kyle MacDonald


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