Our Emotions are a Compass
Our emotions can work like a compass, directing us to consider and address areas of our lives that require change. Emotions provide information that alerts us to our values, needs, and perceptions of our experiences. Sitting with feelings, without judgement, can have a profound effect on the mind, body, and spirit. Emotions have the power to heal.
However, recognizing emotions is not always easy, and to name them can be a daunting task. Identifying feelings can be painful, leading us to ignore them or perhaps we have learned that expressing emotions, especially anger, is often too scary or not allowed, so we suppress them. The fear of uncomfortable or upsetting emotions can push us away from the benefits that emotions provide. All feelings are sources of information, yet some emotions such as anger or sadness are considered to be negative, so we suppress them. Suppressing emotions may seem effective in the short-term, but avoiding feelings can make them stronger.
Emotions are the closet indicators of what is going on for us. They are sources of information about our well-being, helping us discover ourselves and our needs.
Here are four steps that will help move you towards a better understanding of your emotions.
- Notice what you are feeling. Remembering that feelings are neither good or bad. Let go of judgement and trust the process.
- Notice where in your body that you experience this emotion. This is an opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the feeling.
- Be curious. Emotional responses can be directly related to the present moment or a reminder of a past experience.
- Stay with the emotion and determine what would help in this given moment. For example, in some cases, anxiety may be a response to anticipated danger. As such, we can take measures to help ourselves feel safer.
Our emotions communicate essential messages, pointing at things we need to consider and address in our lives. Talking about feelings in counselling can provide the self-awareness and the skills to express emotions in healthy ways, to convey what’s going on for you to others, and to ask for what you need. If you learn to understand your emotions, you will get to know yourself on a deeper level and make meaningful life changes.