Emotion regulation through the ages*

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This paper reviews how emotion-regulation has been an archetypal, even a defining theme in the history of Western views about healthy mental functioning. The ancient Greeks bequeathed a constricted view of emotions, however, as ‘wild horses’ that need to be tamed by reason, which led to an equally constricted view of the development of emotion-regulation. In recent years, significant advances have enabled us to move beyond this classical outlook: most importantly, in our understanding of the types of experiences that enhance the development of emotion-regulation; the factors that can impede these experiences; and the reasons why emotion-regulation is so important for a child’s long-term well-being.


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