How To Better Understand Your Emotions

By Natalie Blow | Balance Editorial Team
Jul 02, 2018
How To Better Understand Your Emotions
Opening up the dialogue around our emotions is becoming much more commonplace – could the stiff British upper lip, finally, be getting put to bed? In few (and progressively more) workplaces, online communities and on social media, human emotions are being explored and embraced with open-minds, rather than access denied.
 
Emotions don’t make us weak; they make us stronger – intuitive, empathetic and connected to the world that surrounds us. But before we can harness our emotional uniqueness and channel its strengths, we must first understand our own inner workings. Here’s how you can reveal, record, and dig deeper into the core of your own emotional understanding.


 
Track Your Moods
 
“Feeling bad, less bad, kind of not bad, on-the-mend, loving life, I’M ME AGAIN!” – tumbleweed. How many times have you intended to keep a thoughts and feelings diary and fell off the moment you started to feel great again? As humans, we have a tendency to remember our emotional bad times and not the good. It’s impossible to fully understand our emotional patterns, if we’re selective in their recording.
 
Put down the woeful diary pen, and let Perspective App do all the work for you. Perspective App brings us to face the good, the bad and the plain ugly, by creating a safe space for processing emotions and building self-awareness. Its simple and clean interface accommodates fast journaling that’s too convenient to neglect.




 
Get Immersed in the Right Resources for You
 
Emotions can get messy. According to Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (1980) we are all born with eight primary emotions - anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy - that are hard-wired into our brains. (1)Then we have secondary emotions – an emotional reaction to an emotion, learnt through our families, cultures and environment. With all these emotions always stirring, it’s no wonder it can be hard expressing how we feel sometimes. So where do we start?
 
We all feel every emotion at some point in our life, but some emotions more than others, dependent on who we are and our circumstances. So, to lessen the chances of falling down the Internet’s information rabbit holes, it’s important to pinpoint a start to our personal emotional research. Mindful activities, like meditation, give us the opportunity to listen inwards and sit with our emotions as they rise and fall. In these moments we can listen up to recurring emotions, and use them as a starting point to begin our emotional self-discovery.
 
Below, are some broad-spectrum emotion-based resources that can help get you started:
 
The Community: The School of Life – The leaders in Emotional Intelligence.
 
The Book: A-Z Guide To Being Mental - Natasha Devon
 
The Audiobook: The Chimp Brain Paradox - Prof Steve Peters


 
 
Free Writing
 
Put pen to paper and let emotions rip. Studies have shown significant psychological benefits associated with free writing: Skarlicki (2009) demonstrated that workers who wrote about their negative thoughts and feelings about a past workplace injustice experienced improved psychological wellbeing, less anger, fewer intentions to retaliate, and increased levels of personal resolution. In the context of romantic breakups – love and sadness - Lepore and Greenberg (2002) demonstrated that female college students who wrote about their thoughts and feelings about the relationship experienced less fatigue related to their heartbreak and less tension towards their ex-partners. (2)
 
Put simply, free writing helps rid your brain of the mindless clutter that belongs in the past; it processes hindering emotions and simply lets them go. To face is to overcome, after all.  Author Julia Cameron recommends writing ‘Morning Pages’ (3). Simply take three sheets of paper every morning and start jotting down your stream of consciousness. Review these pages and take notice to any recurring emotions.
 
 
REFERENCES

(1) https://www.jmu.edu/counselingctr/files/About%20Emotions.pdf
 
(2)https://scholar.uwindsor.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.co.uk/&httpsredir=1&article=6435&context=etd
 
(3) http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

 
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