Zones of Regulation

Updated: Mar 31

Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay and what better way to recognise it then bringing a tool which is often used in youth work to the Executive Coaching world?


It is human and natural to experience changes in our mood and this change can sometimes impact on our work. Increasingly, employers are recognising the importance of employee well-being and integrating strategies that enhance our resilience. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and understanding how best to help ourselves and others is increasingly important.




Using colours to categorise your mood is something that I came across whilst working with children and young people. It has been the research focus of Leah Kuypers, MA Ed., OTR/L who wrote the book The Zones of Regulation in 2011. Her work focusses very much on parenting and helping children to develop their own emotional intelligence, but her research has parallels to the every day lives of adults.


In recognition of the importance of sharing tips and tricks on enhancing our own wellbeing, I decided to crowd source people's suggestions for what they do when they're in any one of these zones. A big thanks to those who offered some ideas, all credited below.


The first and most important thing very often is just to notice your frame of mind. The colours offer a simple and relatable four options. These options are of course not an exhaustive list, but they offer a framework to build a personal manual of ideas of how to get yourself back on track. Whilst the ideas above might not be the right ones for you, perhaps next time when you're in the green zone, you can build your own?


Big thanks to all of the following people who offered ideas to support this piece:

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 © Gary Buxton 2020