Emotions: Why We Need Them

Can you imagine not feeling pain? It might seem like a great thing, but what would warn you of harm? How would you know not to put your hand on a hot stove, for example?

Well, we need emotions to give us important information. In a previous blog we talked about the concept of “good” and “bad” emotions. An emotion commonly labeled as “bad” is sadness. What if that sadness is alerting you that a change is needed? Maybe a change in your environment, or a change in your thinking.

Emotions can motivate us to change. They can act as a warning. And they are how we interact and bond with others.

It’s important to listen to the message the emotion is sending so that we can determine what needs to change. For example, let’s say you are sitting in the doctor’s waiting room for two hours and you’re feeling impatient and agitated. Instead of finding ways to distract yourself or raging at the receptionist, most likely there are better choices. Listening to your emotions does not mean being reactive.

Admittedly, sometimes we don’t know why we feel the way we feel. Keeping a daily Emotion Tracker can really help see patterns. It’s a good start. There are times when turning to a coping skill such as using a distraction is helpful, but ultimately learning how to identify and process emotions is best. A good therapist, friend, or family member can help.

If we didn’t have emotions how would we have relationships? How would we be motivated to do anything? And, how would we know that we need to make a change?

Do you have any other ideas about why we need emotions?

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