Identifying an emotion can help you to know how to respond to it.
Whether you’ve seen the movie, “Inside Out” by Pixar or not, you’re probably familiar with how some emotions can feel big.
In the film, a little girl experiences a wide range of emotions as her family prepares to move them to a new city.
Emotions aren’t just triggered by large, life-changing events. Sometimes it can be as simple as hitting your elbow on a doorway and feeling pain or frustration.
Our very first emotional expression as a baby was likely crying or smiling. From this early moment we are expressing our feelings in a physical manner that is visible to other people.
Not all emotions have a physical representation, however. Some are more internal or invisible from the outside. It doesn’t mean that the feeling or emotion is invalid.
Emotions serve a purpose
Emotions are natural reactions that have evolved over time to help us navigate the world. For example, fear can help us avoid danger, while joy can promote togetherness.
Sometimes an emotional reaction to a situation like locking your car’s doors “just in case” can help protect you in case of threat. Listening to these gut feelings may help keep you safe.
Emotions can be helpful or harmful
This is not to say the emotions are good or bad, because they are neither, according to Hannah Gee, MD, family medicine psychiatry at PeaceHealth in Bellingham, Washington. Emotions can be helpful in many ways like feeling connected to others. They can also become overwhelming because we care so much.
Chronic stress, anxiety and depression can have negative effects on our physical and mental health. These feelings and sensations point out the areas in our lives that require more attention.
Emotions can be regulated
While we may not be able to control our emotions, we can learn to manage them and our reactions to them. This can involve techniques such as mindfulness, talk therapy and relaxation exercises. You can observe your emotions without judging them. Then decide whether or when to share them.
Emotions can be affected by our thoughts and behaviors
Our thoughts and behaviors can guide our emotions in significant ways. For example, negative self-talk can make feelings of anxiety or depression worse, while engaging in activities we enjoy can promote feelings of happiness and well-being.
Try taking a walk around the block or throwing the ball for your pup to aid in releasing negative thoughts from your mind in a healthy way.
Emotions are a normal part of the human experience
It's important to remember that feeling a wide range of emotions is a normal part of being human.
We don’t have to strive for constant happiness or positivity, but rather learn to accept and manage our emotions in healthy ways.
Understanding our emotions and learning to manage them can have significant benefits for our overall well-being.
By practicing self-awareness and developing healthy coping strategies, we can improve our relationships, reduce stress and enhance our quality of life.
Mental health and wellness can be difficult to express and sometimes requires internal thought. What gives you meaning and joy? How have you displayed resilience with all the changes we face today? How can you express kindness and compassion for yourself?