Feel your emotions physically

Feel your emotions physically

Practice distinguishing how you feel physically from how you feel emotionally. Because many negative emotional states develop out of a misinterpretation of a physical feeling.

It’s dangerous to assume that physical feelings and emotional feelings are always related. Sometimes a headache is just a headache.

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It means that we have a good understanding of how we feel emotionally. 

Label your emotions

Use plain language. The more fluent you are with real emotional language, the more clearly you will be able to think about how you’re feeling.

Clarify your emotions

Get used to the idea of emotional complexity. When we feel upset, we're not feeling one single emotion. We are usually experiencing a blend of many emotions.

Training ourselves to look for and see this emotional complexity is key to better understanding ourselves when we’re upset and moving on in a healthy way.

Time your emotions

Emotions don’t actually last very long. It’s in the nature of emotions to be intense but fleeting:

  • If you feel upset emotionally, notice what the dominant emotion you’re feeling is.
  • Rate the intensity of that emotion on a scale from 1 to 10.
  • Set a timer on your phone for 3 minutes.
  • Now go about whatever it is you were doing, trying your best not to think about that emotion.
  • When the timer goes off, re-rate your emotion on a scale from 1 to 10.
  • Repeat 2 more times.
Learn your Emotional Kryptonite

We all tend to have a particular emotion that they’re especially afraid of and try to avoid.

Identifying your own personal emotional kryptonite is important because many of our bad decisions and ill-advised behaviors are actually the results of trying to avoid particularly uncomfortable emotions.

Validate your emotions
  1. Label the emotion. When you notice yourself feeling badly emotionally, simply describe what the emotion is that you’re feeling (sad, anxious, frustrated, etc.).
  2. Acknowledge the discomfort. Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel that way even emotionally if it feels uncomfortable or painful.
  3. Accept the emotion. Accept that the emotion is with you and that you can still proceed with life despite having that emotion.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • Emotional clarity: Taking the time to deliberately reflect on our emotions, to observe and label them.
  • Emotional myth-busting: Eliminating myths and misconceptions floating around people’s minds about emotions. 
  • Emotional tolerance: Learning to resist short-term gratification and instead invest in long-term values.

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IDEAS

Emotions vs. Moods

In everyday language, people often use the terms "emotions" and "moods", but psychologists actually make distinctions between the two. 

How do they differ?

An emotion is normally quite short-lived, but intense. Emotions are also likely to have a definite and identifiable cause.

For example, after disagreeing with a friend over politics, you might feel angry for a short period of time. 

A mood, on the other hand, is usually much milder than an emotion, but longer-lasting.

In many cases, it can be difficult to identify the specific cause of a mood. For example, you might find yourself feeling gloomy for several days without any clear, identifiable reason.

Emotional Clarity

Emotional clarity refers to the extent to which you know, understand and are clear about which emotions you are feeling and why you are feeling them.

Emotional clarity is key to being proactive in changing circumstances or thoughts that lead to emotions, as well as to enacting effective emotional regulation strategies.

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