Lifestyle,  Stress Management

How to identify emotions (and make a change)

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How do we identify emotions? We know our emotions are important, after all, what we’re feeling helps us to survive in the world we have created for ourselves right?  How something makes us feel has huge impact on our ability for making decisions.  Our thought processes weigh up all the information and we respond emotionally. Usually habitually.  I think we all too often get hung up one thing and spin round and round experiencing the same thing.

Before we can escape the habitual way we respond to situations we need to identify emotions we are feeling.  But do you know which emotion you’re feeling?

How to Identify Emotions

The basic emotions include anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise with the addition of contempt, pride, shame, love, and anxiety.  Emotions are often felt physically for many of us.

In 2013, a team of scientists in Finland conducted a study to see if they could find out where our bodies feel emotion.   Interestingly, the study suggests that we all have the same bodily sensations in connection to emotions (no matter culture or beliefs) because the mind-body connection is biological and linked to our drive to survive.

The image below shows the locations where basic emotions were felt (top) and more complex (bottom).

Identifying emotions body map

Hot colours show the areas participants said were stimulated during an emotion.  Cool colours show deactivated areas.

Find out more about the study on PNAS.

The premise in this article Emotions – How To Understand, Identify and Release Your Emotions from The Home of Vibrational Health says it as it is (you’ll also find strategies too which will help you – definitely worth a visit).

“There are only two basic emotions that we all experience, love and fear.  All other emotions are variations of these two emotions.  Thoughts and behaviour come from either a place of love, or a place of fear.  Anxiety, anger, control, sadness, depression, inadequacy, confusion, hurt, lonely, guilt, shame, these are all fear-based emotions.  Emotions such as joy, happiness, caring, trust, compassion, truth, contentment, satisfaction, these are love-based emotions.”

Do you come from a place of fear or a place of love when you react to situations?

One thing we are very good at it is making general statements about how we are feeling. For example “I’m feeling low today.”  What we need to do is be more specific.  Examine that thought.  What do you mean by feeling low?  Do you feel guilty about something? Embarrassed? Are you really saying to yourself that you feel lonely? Bored? De-motivated? Lethargic? Be specific and identify emotions. Then make a change to make a difference.

Observe your reactions to a situation (in a gentle and non-judgemental way) by taking note of your body sensations, thoughts and images.  This will bring mindfulness to your reactions enabling you to change your conditioned responses.

Let me know how you get on.  I would love to celebrate your successes with you.

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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