Our feelings can surprise us
Although we think that we know how we feel, the sensations of anger, anxiety, hunger, or illness are more alike than we realize.
We may sometimes misinterpret those signals with grave consequences. But there are some practical ways to gain control of our feelings.
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States like hunger, fatigue, or illness produce the same signals as emotions like anger, anxiety, or sadness. This shows the importance of looking after your body as a way to stabilise your mood.
You can take steps now to influence your future emotional experiences.
Knowing your real emotion can provide a deeper understanding of the situation you are in, such as reframing your unhappiness, so it no longer feels so all-consuming. You may also reconsider the source of your discomfort. Eventually, you may be able to categorise a situation with precision.
We learn interpretations from others. Your familiar emotion concepts come from your particular social context - your parents, friends, TV, and books, and your own past life experiences.
Other cultures will connect different kinds of meaning from the same sensory input. Utka Eskimos appear to have no clearly defined concept of anger, and Tahitians seem not to share our concept of sadness.
Charles Darwin popularized the theory of emotional fingerprints - that each emotion creates a specific combination of facial expression, body language, and other physiological cues such as a heart rate.
But recently detailed analyses suggest there is no such thing. Each emotion is represented by a whole range of reactions. The way we interpret our body's signals, such as excited or anxious, depends entirely on the context of the situation and can be easily framed by our expectations.
Every moment that we are alive, our brain utilizes concepts to simulate the surrounding environment, practically creating ‘our’ world.
At any given moment, our brain tries to reconstruct, guess or compute what’s happening in the world using simulation. There is a lot of noisy, ambiguous information from our senses, which our brain uses to construct a simulation, and derive meaning from a fraction of the information(which seems relevant) while discarding the rest.
Ignoring feelings (like "stuffing your anger") is not the healthiest way to deal with them. generally speaking, that does not make them go away but can cause them to come out in different ways. That’s because your emotions act as signals to you that what you are doing in your life is or isn’t working.
Feeling angry or frustrated can be a signal that something needs to change. If you don’t change the situations or thought patterns that are causing these uncomfortable emotions, you will continue to be triggered by them.
Also, while you are not dealing with the emotions you are feeling, they can cause problems with your physical and emotional health.
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