Journaling is a great way to process the world around you and your own thoughts. However, many people find it difficult to organize their thoughts. As they try to put pen to paper they are overwhelmed by the blank page. I recently wrote an article titled“In My House We Believe in Talking About Emotions.” This article discusses the importance of emotional wellness. It touches on the importance of being able to connect to and label emotions. The article contained a lovely visual aid called the emotion wheel that organized both good and bad emotions. I love this visual aid. However it can be a little overwhelming. Spending time getting to know yourself and your emotions can make it easier to use the emotional wheel.
The Emotion Worksheet
I have found this emotion worksheet to be particularly useful. It is an excellent tool to process feelings and emotions. With practice and time it will help you learn how to better recognize your emotions. This worksheet helps you connect the dots to how your feelings connect to your thoughts, body, and behavior. Sometimes your feelings may be preceded by a behavior change or physical feeling. This worksheet will help you determine that the behavior or physical feeling was triggered by what you were feeling.
Studying Your Emotions and Your Behavior
Ultimately, observing how an emotion impact your thoughts, your body, and your behavior allows you to lower the intensity of the emotion. By better understanding how your mind and body react to a certain feeling you will more quickly recognize what you are feeling. No doubt once you know what you are feeling you will find it easier to cope.
Study Your Good Emotions
Imagine how wonderful this worksheet could be if you also used it describe good emotions. Instead of blowing past the good feelings you have each day, you could indulge in your good emotions. If you take this step you will notice an improvement in your overall sense of wellbeing. Imagine slowing down and diving into the positive feelings you experience in your day. Wouldn’t life be more fulfilling? My challenge to you over the next week is to spend a few minutes studying everyday. Study one good and one bad emotion you experienced. Try your best not to judge yourself and see what you come up with. I hope you find it be a rewarding experience.
To learn more about feelings and emotions I recommend the following literature:
In My House We Believe in Talking About Emotions
By: Amy Morrison PA-C at morrisonclinic.com
I have noticed that as a society we really do a poor job of expressing our emotions. Not only do we feel uncomfortable talking about emotions, but we also do not really know what we are feeling. We don’t know how to deal with negative emotions because most of us lack the ability to recognize our emotions until the feelings become intense and overwhelming.
In my house, talking about our emotions and feelings is a priority. Teaching my kids how to sit through and cope with bad emotions is as important as providing them food, clothes, and a roof over their head. My job as a psychiatric PA has allowed me to recognize how difficult life can become for adults who avoid their emotions.
The Yin-Yang of Emotions
My medical practice is geared towards prescribing medication to treat adults with ADHD, depression, and anxiety. I have noticed that most of my patients struggle to cope with negative emotions. They don’t grasp why they should embrace feeling a bad emotion or talk about it. To help them understand I like to use the analogy of the yin yang, which we all know as a balance of good and bad and we recognize that you cannot have one without the other. Emotions are the same way. In order to fully experience good emotions you cannot avoid the opposite negative emotion. You will never feel true peace, if you cannot tolerate feeling scared just as you will never be blessed with intense feelings of joy if you cannot sit through feelings of sadness.
The Emotion Wheel
After discussing the yin yang I like to show them the emotion wheel. It is a wonderful illustration of emotions and their polar opposites. It looks like this:
I have found that most of my adult patients are able to identify the emotions at the center of the wheel. However they get flustered when attempting to branch out from the center. They find it frustrating and overwhelming to cope with emotions they cannot name, it is like a missing puzzle piece that makes it difficult to see the full picture. When you don’t know what you are up against it is hard to cope. So many people feel overwhelmed by emotions they cannot name, but due to no fault of their own.
Our Culture of Not Feeling
Unfortunately, our culture has left so many of us devoid of emotional knowledge and sophistication. As a child I remember learning about the importance of taking care of our bodies. We were taught to eat nutritious food, get enough sleep, and exercise daily. However no one ever taught me about emotional health and wellness . No one ever explained that emotional wellness has a profound effect on physical wellness.
My Hope For My Children
It is my hope that by the time my children head off to college they are able to recognize and sit through each one of these emotions. I will not only teach them to brush their teeth and take care of their physical bodies, but I will also teach them the importance of good emotional health. What about you? Do you teach your children about emotions? How well do you think you label emotions?
To learn more I recommend reading this article, How well do you know yourself.