Emotions are quickly becoming the focus of research in mental health fields. Where most of the focus has been on how people think (Cognition) and most recently behavior and outcome results (measurable and simply definable), there is an upcoming trend to study people and emotions.
Historically, emotions have been given a really awful rap. I can remember my father telling me from the time I was a little girl that I needed to let my head lead me, not my heart. His well-intentioned advice and the way he lived his life as well, totally devalued emotions.
Just the way our actions are ‘birthed’ in our cognition, emotions also provide a birthing ground for our behaviors. Many of our actions and behaviors are responses to how we feel. For a long time, emotions have not been looked at or given credence as a partner in human behavior.
Truthfully, not only may emotions be part of why many behaviors occur, in some instances, they are the strongest factor or maybe even the only reason for behavior.
Recognizing and controlling our emotions is one of the most valuable gifts we can provide ourselves with. Although many people avoid recognizing their feelings, when we choose to be courageous enough to face our feelings, we can:
• Gain control over the way we react to challenges
• Improve our communication skills
• Enjoy more fulfilling relationships
Our emotions are the foundations of us being able to understand ourselves and relate to other people. When we lose control of our emotions, we:
* Lose our ability to think clearly and creatively
* Lose our ability to manage stress and challenges life presents
* Lose our ability to communicate well with others
* Lose our ability to display trust, empathy and confidence
Loss of these skills produce confusion, isolation and negativity.
Emotions are constantly ongoing, but the experience of each individual emotion does not last very long. In other words, we’re always feeling things, but if I become angry at something my husband said, that individual emotional response, in this case, anger; does not last much beyond 15 or 20 minutes at the most.
Becoming emotionally aware requires getting in touch with the feelings we are having in the moment, and understanding why we are experiencing it. It also involves being able to identify and express moment to moment feelings and to understand the connection between those feelings and our behavior.
When we connect to our own emotions and become more emotionally aware, we become better able to understand and empathize with what others are feeling. This is how we begin to isolate less and become more connected with others.
Emotional awareness involves:
• Recognizing your moment-to-moment emotional experiences
• Handling all of your emotions without becoming overwhelmed
It is always a good idea to have a support system in place – someone you can talk with and trust to share your experiences with. Self-help is wonderful, but, like everything else, has its limitations. By having a strong support system available, you’ll assure yourself an added cushion of comfort during the process.
This is a great place to begin getting our lives more in balance by becoming more aware and involved in our emotional selves.
It only gets better from here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!