Many years I regarded emotions as something scary, and I tried to suppress them as good as I could because I did not know what to do with them. I grew up in a family that never spoke about feelings, and I lived in Germany, and Germans tend to be rational and to live in their heads. Everything changed when I moved to Spain, the embodiment of emotionality where I learned to manage my feelings well. Today, my emotions add a beautiful blend of spices to my life. They give me precious signals and help me to live fully and energized.
Do you feel scared by your emotions? Do you try to suppress them or avoid feeling them?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many people haven’t learned to manage emotions properly. However, continuous suppression may result in anxiety, depression or psychosomatic symptoms like muscular tension or headache. Connecting with your emotions is healthy for your well-being. They aren’t scary, but they are valuable messengers for you that want to give you gentle advice.
How are feelings generated?
“My partner made me angry today.” Have you ever heard a similar sentence? Sometimes, it seems that other people can make us feel in a specific way, but the reality is different. Your emotion is generated by your thoughts about your partner’s actions or words. They can be conscious or subconscious, and they are influenced by your experiences and memories. Nobody can make you feel an emotion; your emotions are uniquely yours, and you are responsible for them.
So, where are your emotions?
Each emotion produces a sensation that you can observe in your body. This can be butterflies in your stomach when you fall in love or tension in your shoulders when you are stressed. Based on the emotion, you can note changes in the respiration or heartbeat, a tension in your body or sensations on your skin like goose bumps.
How do you connect with your emotions?
The first step is to be aware of what you feel. The following exercise can help you with this: schedule a session three times a day in your agenda, preferably in the morning, at lunch time and in the evening. During this session, take some deep breaths, tune in with your body and observe it. Don’t judge yourself. Every emotion or sensation that shows up is correct. There isn’t any right or wrong. Ask yourself the following questions to further explore your emotion: Where is it in your body? If it were a color what color would it be? If it were a shape what shape would it be? If it were a sound what sound would it be?
Emotions have a positive intention.
Each emotion has a positive intention for you, even though you might not be able to see it at first. E.g., I regarded anger as a negative emotion and didn’t feel comfortable with it. When I started to manage my feelings better, I found out that anger was a sign that I did not respect my limits or needs. I didn’t have to act on it; I just needed to be aware of it, to find out what it wanted to tell me and then I could choose an appropriate action like setting healthy boundaries in an assertive way. Through this learning, anger has lost its fierce aspect and has transformed into a precious messenger that indicates me that I should take care of me. Your emotions give you valuables signals for your well-being. Ask them what message they want to give you and what their positive intention is.
How can you cope with your emotions well?
You have many choices to cope with your emotions positively, and you should explore them to find out which ones serve you best. Here you can find some of them:
- Writing about them in a journal.
- Writing unsent letters, e.g. to an ex-partner.
- Drawing them.
- Talking to a friend you trust in.
- Talking to a counselor you trust in.
- Physical exercise like running or dancing.
- Changing your body posture, e.g. instead of looking to the ground, looking up in the sky.
The better you cope with your emotions, the more energy you will have. This is a process that may require some time. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to start the adventure.
What activity do you want to explore today?
I love to read your comments below!
Do you want to read more? Check the post How to use the power of your mind positively.