What your emotions are trying to tell you

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Managing emotions

Our emotions can help us understand and care for ourselves if we care to listen to what they’re telling us. 

There was a time in my life when I tried to deny I had any emotions. To ‘be emotional’ was to be ‘weak’ and to express my feelings, a sign of weakness.  As a fledging manager keen to prove my worth in a male-dominated organisation, I was addressing the frequent accusation that being ‘more emotional’ made women a liability, especially in the workplace. I responded by being as controlled and as buttoned up as I could manage. My relationships and my mental health suffered as a result.

Frightening 

Emotions are data. They’re telling us something about how things really are for us and, most important, what we need. They are automatic, they seem to come unbidden, which makes them potentially quite frightening when we experience them. Learning to be with them rather than judging them as a sign of a character flaw can be revelatory. Anger is a sign we’ve been hurt or suffered an injustice. Sadness is our emotional response to loss.

The more we recognise the importance of emotions as a key means of understanding and taking care of ourselves, the more we ‘feel’ emotions as they flow through our bodies, the better able we are to meet the needs that they point to.  Because we do feel emotions physically. For me, anxiety is a churning in the gut, sadness is a weight on my shoulders, shame is the hot prickling of my cheeks.

Depression

The pressure to, ‘get a grip’ to ‘grin and bear it’, ‘suck it up’ are all phrases that reveal the pressure of modern life to deny, avoid or even suppress emotions. And yet, there is growing evidence that anxiety and depression can arise from emotions that are continually ignored, denied, or pushed aside. Emotional stress also contributes to physical problems such as heart disease, insomnia, autoimmune disorders, and headaches.

If we’ve been brought up to suppress our emotions, to disregard them, it can take time to connect with them, to recognise them, to feel them and to name them. It takes time and some pain to feel okay about emotions. Sometimes they seem to overwhelm us. At other times, it’s like their volume has been turned down to an imperceptible hum.

Counselling allows us to be with our emotions more freely and without judgement. In this process – which is sometimes painful, other times enlightening – we can learn how to manage them better, how to ‘regulate’ them if we feel too painfully immersed in them or to reach them if they seem switched off and inaccessible.

The more at ease we are with our emotions, the better able we are to address the needs that they reveal to us. If I’m feeling sad, I might need to give myself time to mourn a loss. If I’m feeling angry, I might choose to address the unfairness by standing up for myself.

If you want to care better for your mental and physical health, you might start by attending to your emotions.

1 Comment

  1. נערות ליווי בקיסריה

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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