Stress and negative emotions can make people engage in behaviours that reduce these feelings, such as unhealthy eating. Positive emotions, on the other hand, may stimulate clients to engage in like behaviours. Balancing or regulating emotions is a technique that can be used to facilitate behaviour change by advising on stress management and on ways to reduce negative emotions and promote positive ones. This technique may also be referred to as ‘Regulation’. Providing advice on ways to lower the burden on a client’s mental capacity, also called ‘conserving mental resources’, is a way to regulate emotions and manage any stress that may be linked to negative emotions. A food diary may be useful for that.
Note how the dietitian prompts Eric, who is disappointed with himself, to think about how he originally planned to achieve the goals set during the previous appointment. She concludes they were not specific enough and implicitly conveys is that he should not too disappointed with himself, but make the goals manageable and specific enough.
Look how the dietitian makes Alice reflect on the reasons for her guilty feelings about not cooking at home for her family, especially for her overweight son. She provides positive feedback by praising the fact that Alice recognises the problem and that she has knowledge about a healthy diet.