Self-Regulation Skills: Examples And How To Improve

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Having control over your attitude and behaviour in the workplace can help you become a better employee and enhance the outcome of your actions. Self-regulation can help you build resilience when unfortunate events happen outside of your control. Learning about self-regulation can help you develop these skills and excel in your professional and personal life. In this article, we discuss what self-regulation skills are, list some examples, explore how to improve your skills and learn how to highlight them during the hiring process.

What Are Self-Regulation Skills?

Self-regulation skills are your ability to monitor and manage your behaviour, emotions and thoughts such that they are acceptable and produce a positive outcome. These skills help you manage your behaviour and reactions to feelings and things around you. The two types of self-regulation are:

  • Behavioural self-regulation: Behavioural self-regulation determines how you react in different situations and how you achieve your long-term goals. For instance, you might find it challenging to spend one hour in the gymnasium, but you do so because you want to live a fit and healthy life.

  • Emotional self-regulation: Emotional self-regulation determines your ability to control emotions even when experiencing challenging workplace situations. Having control of your emotions helps you to be more empathetic, considerate and reliable towards others.

Examples Of Self-Regulation Skills

Here are a few examples of skills and traits that a self-regulated person might exhibit:


Being self-aware is your ability to acknowledge your emotions and how they might affect your general attitude and behaviour. Self-aware employees can better understand and adapt to the needs of others. Employees who regularly practice self-awareness have excellent self-control, remain calm and rational in most situations, and exercise discipline when needed. In addition, being self-aware gives you a better understanding of your weakness and strengths, giving you a more realistic perspective of your general abilities.

Related: What Is Self-Awareness? (And How To Become More Self-Aware)


Adaptability is your ability to adapt your behaviour, responses and emotions based on the workplace situation. It makes you feel more focused and helps you think about issues from different perspectives. Employers prefer hiring adaptable candidates because such employees react quickly to changing situations and ideas.

Related: Adaptability: An Essential Skill For Changing Workplaces


Persistence is your ability to move towards achieving your goals despite facing obstacles. This self-regulation ability shows your determination and dedication. Employers expect persistent candidates because such employees can control emotions while being focused at work. Being persistent allows you to perform to the best of your capabilities while staying aligned with your values and goals.


Optimism is your ability to view the situation from a positive point of view. It helps you remain calm when you feel stressed, anxious and low. When you are optimistic, you consider every challenge as an opportunity to learn and improve your efforts. As you remain positive regardless of the situation, you improve your behaviour and actions while remaining focused and motivated.

How To Improve Your Self-Regulation Abilities?

To improve your self-regulation abilities, you require self-reflection and commitment. It is essential to monitor your actions and thoughts to help you align with your goals and make changes wherever necessary. Use these steps to improve your self-regulation abilities:

1. Focus on self-awareness

The first important step in improving your self-regulation abilities is learning to be self-aware. Improving your self-awareness starts when you understand and connect with your emotions to determine how they affect your actions and thought process. Understanding what makes you happy, sad or angry can help you control your emotions. You can improve your self-awareness by considering challenges as opportunities, managing difficult emotions and practising your communication skills.

2. Meditate every day

Meditating every day helps you gain more control over your emotions and thoughts. To improve your self-regulation abilities, meditate daily to control your emotions. Sit in a calm place, clear your mind and focus on your breathing. Meditation clears your mind and helps you remain calm under strenuous situations. By meditating daily, you can regulate your behaviour and emotions.

Related: How To Practise Self-Discipline In The Workplace

3. Exercise regularly

Physical activity increases endorphins in the body, elevating your mood and giving you control over your thoughts. Also, regular exercise promotes healthy sleep that helps in promoting your overall health. When you lose control of your emotions, take a break and move around the workplace. Step away from your work and perform some stretching to reset your mind. This might help you feel refreshed when you get back to work.

4. Be open to change

Being open to change helps you consider every change as an exciting opportunity for self-development. People who self-regulate can easily adapt to change and ensure they behave according to the situation. On the contrary, employees resistant to changes might find it challenging to handle workplace stress.

5. Remain calm under pressure

Another way to improve your self-regulation is by remaining calm, even under pressure. Focusing on relaxation techniques like deep breathing can help you calm down. It also ensures you have control over your emotions. If you are facing a situation where you might lose control of your emotions, distance yourself from the place physically or mentally for a few minutes.

6. Be kind to yourself

One of the essential aspects of self-regulation is giving yourself some time when struggling to control your emotions and behaviour. You can be kind to yourself by practising positivity and celebrating small wins upon achieving a professional goal. Take regular breaks and treat yourself to a special dinner when you accomplish a critical project. This helps you remain motivated at the workplace.

7. Seek feedback

Though seeking feedback might make you feel vulnerable, it is an excellent opportunity to improve your self-regulation abilities. Ask your colleagues and friends to evaluate your adaptability, persistence and self-awareness skill. Based on the feedback received, you can improve your self-regulation abilities by focusing on areas that require improvement.

8. Take responsibility for your actions

You can control your emotions and behaviour when you take responsibility for the work and goals you complete. If you require to complete a task by the end of the month, break these tasks into smaller, achievable and manageable goals to complete throughout the month. When you hold yourself accountable, it improves your ability to self-regulate your actions and appropriately react to situations.

Self-Regulation Abilities In The Workplace

Here are some ways to use and improve your self-regulation abilities in the workplace:

  • To resolve conflicts: Self-regulation allows you to consider different opinions and empathise with colleagues and others you interact in the workplace. A self-regulated professional helps in solving workplace conflicts without emotions guiding their decisions.

  • To manage time: Self-regulation helps you manage time because you hold yourself accountable for your time.

  • To manage workplace stress: Self-regulated professionals are better at remaining calm and presenting their viewpoints confidently, even under stressful situations.

  • To improve communication skills: Self-regulation improves your ability to listen actively. These skills help you think before you speak or act.

How To Highlight Your Self-Regulation Abilities?

The ability to control your emotions and appropriately behave during a situation increases your chances of getting hired for a desirable job. Here is how to showcase your self-regulation abilities to your potential employers during the hiring process:

1. Highlight them on your resume and cover letter

Managing and controlling your emotions and behaviour is often helpful in making crucial workplace and business decisions. Employers prefer candidates who can make decisions based on facts rather than emotions. Many job descriptions indirectly require candidates to have self-regulation abilities. Highlighting your self-regulation abilities in your resume and cover letter can increase your chances of getting hired for a desirable job. Describe specific instances from your professional experience where your self-regulation abilities helped you excel in your career. Employers want to understand how your skills can benefit the company.

2. Discuss them during the job interview

Most employers look for signs of self-regulation abilities in candidates because there is no method or guideline for accurately measuring it. That is why it is essential to show your ability to control your emotions throughout the interview process. When an employer asks you a challenging question, it is essential to control your emotions by providing meaningful answers instead of getting stressed. Also, ensure you show passion and excitement about the potential opportunity.

Showing a positive emotion is a sign of self-regulation. During the interview, maintaining a positive outlook and showing that you see opportunity in failure are crucial to showing you have a healthy mindset and excellent self-regulation abilities.

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