Emotional Regulation

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By: Katie Benson, Director of Expansion for Xperience Real Estate 

As Gary Keller so eloquently said during his recent live stream, “Fear is contagious.”

When our bodies are flooded with fear it’s impossible to think clearly. Our auditory perception is hazy so we’re not hearing the subtle nuances of what’s being said around us. When we are flooded with fear we may very well find ourselves with an inability to speak coherently. 

or another way to say it, we are “TILTED”.

At its very baseline, this means off center. You can be far off from center or just slightly off center, either way if you’re even slightly OFF CENTER what could be the implications? Typically, we’re just not dealing with people in the way we normally would. 

From a scientific perspective, what’s happening inside of our brain when we go into TILT or we allow ourselves to get tilted, is our BRAIN becomes completely FLOODED with CORTISOL.

Cortisol is the stress hormone, it causes increased blood pressure, increased blood sugar, suppression of the immune system (kind of important right now), decreased serotonin, decreased sensitivity to pain and ironically increased memory and attention. FUN STUFF RIGHT?

Studies show that we cannot make logical decisions when our brains are flooded with cortisol, we must get back to center first. The brain is unable to make logical sense of the world around us when in a tilted state.

Let’s think about this like a clock. Noon is centered which means anything slightly to the left or right of center is what we call TILTED.  So if you’re at 1pm you’re slightly tilted, if you’re at 3pm things are getting a bit intense, and if you’re at 6pm you’re straight up LOSING YOUR STUFF!

Typically we KNOW what causes us to get tilted, don’t we?

For some of us, it’s a tone of voice, a messy house, or traffic. For others it takes a lot more than that to cause the tilt. What causes it isn’t important, what IS important is that when you find yourself in such a state, you get back to center as quickly as possible. 

How do you “get back to center”, when you are so incredibly angry and upset that you are LOSING YOUR STUFF? 


We’re going to talk through how to avoid “acting out” on an emotional upsurge. This will require that we QUIET the MIND and consciously move our thoughts to a more healthy and safe place in the brain. When we’re freaking out, all of our thoughts are in the LIMBIC system, that’s where all of our emotions reside. The goal here, is to catch the feeling as it’s coming on, BEFORE we say or do something that is unresourceful. 

When we understand the unresourceful ways we’re currently using our emotions, we can begin to identify the TRIGGERS around us and stop the TILT before it causes damage. 

This is a practice. It’s not something that will just happen and it’s very much like building a muscle which obviously takes WORK. 

Work isn’t easy right? 

So WHY would we do this kind of work?

We do this kind of work such that we are more effective with other people and in being more effective with other people by utilizing more resourceful responses, we will ultimately win WITHOUT leaving a trail of bodies behind us. Understand that if we can’t emotionally regulate, we will never be effective with other people. 

When used effectively, emotional regulation changes our brain state. 

We’re looking to MOVE THE ENERGY to a different part of the BRAIN.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at something else that changes BRAIN STATE. Smoking.

Studies show that smokers find relief from stress when they smoke, STAY WITH ME HERE I am NOT TELLING YOU TO SMOKE!

What is it that’s causing the relief for a smoker when they pick up a cigarette? Is it the nicotine contained in tobacco? No. Let me share with you why! Studies also show that tobacco has a constricting effect on blood vessels and the cardiovascular system in general.

That’s the effect of cigarettes on your body or what we call the body effect. Now, the effect smoking has on YOUR BRAIN is that nicotine makes you feel good while you are smoking and yet afterwards it actually causes you to feel more anxious, nervous, moody, and depressed than you were before! 




It’s the breathing that causes the relief because from a scientific perspective, breathing floods your brain with OXYTOCIN!

Oxytocin is the LOVE DRUG and the ATTACHMENT DRUG. It’s that feeling that we feel when we are connected to another human being! 

If it’s actually the BREATHING that’s causing the relief for a smoker, couldn’t we use that same technique to GET BACK TO CENTER?


Let’s look at an incredibly practical application of this, we’ll call it BREATHING YOUR WAY BACK TO CENTER. 

FIRST, this technique requires that we REALIZE we’re TILTED before any damage is done. That is the ideal situation however, until you get really good at identifying the tilt before damage is done, the damage itself can also be the clue that we are tilted. Damage can be going down the deep dark hole of UNFOUNDED FEAR around something that MIGHT happen but hasn’t yet. 

Chris Suarez talked about this on last Friday’s Partner call, he said anxiety is fear around something we believe COULD happen but hasn’t. 

Sounds ridiculous and yet when you think about FEAR of the FUTURE, it’s exactly that, anxiety around something we think COULD happen but hasn’t happened yet. 

When we find ourselves tilted, we are going to go back to our breath. What follows is a 10 minute practical application which will allow you to GET BACK TO CENTER, COMBAT FEAR, and RESPOND in resourceful ways to the ever changing world around us. 

BREATHING BACK TO CENTER, a 10 minute exercise. 

  • Laying or sitting comfortably 

  • Close your eyes

  • Put your hand on your belly 

  • Focused ONLY ON your breath 

  • In and out

  • In and out 

  • In and out

  • Your mind will wander and that’s ok, there is NO JUDGEMENT. 

  • When you notice your mind has wandered off, gently bring your brain back to your BREATHING

After 10 minutes, you will find yourself at center and in a completely different frame of mind than when you began. You will have effectively changed your brain state to a more resourceful state of mind. 

It is at that very moment, when we’re back to a normal state of being, that we must remind ourselves of our INTENTION around PEOPLE, our intention around LIFE, our intention around the situation that is causing fear, or our intention around the specific relationship that seems to be the source of the upset. 

From this centered state, remind yourself of your true intention, your true MISSION, your true north, and ultimately what you were put on this planet to accomplish. 

When you commit to this practice before you react, before you say anything at all, before you lose your stuff, or get completely tilted you’ll ensure that what comes next is truly in line with who you are and what you would choose for your life. From a CENTERED SPACE, having been reminded of your intention around others, you can CHOOSE from a place of power in your conversation, your words, your reaction. You can choose from this space of CALM rather than from a cortisol flooded state of TILT.