Naming Your Emotions Helps Tame Your Emotions

Do you know how you feel? Do you know what it is you feel? In this blog let’s look at the benefits of learning to name your emotions.

Oftentimes, we can be reactive, responding on impulse when we have a feeling. If we don’t know what it is or where it comes from we behave in useless, even harmful ways towards ourselves and others.

For example, when you feel stressed do you yell at your kids, binge watch shows, eat a half gallon of ice cream?

Learning to identify and name your emotions is very helpful. Go a step further and write it down. This empowers you by getting present and slowing down. Then you can make better choices and not react impulsively.

Becoming clear on “Feeling” statements vs “Thinking” statements is important. For example, saying “I feel like she’s being unreasonable when my supervisor gives me so much work to do” is a thought. Uncover what you feel about her seeming unreasonable. Example, “I feel overwhelmed” is a feeling statement. Also, it’s important to say “I feel” and not “I am”. This helps you see that the emotion is an experience and not who you are. Feeling statements empower you to change, but “I am” statements don’t.

It’s also helpful to learn the shades or nuances of emotions. For example, It may seem that I feel anger, but when I look deeper I can see that I feel frustrated, annoyed, or impatient.

Here’s an example for journaling:
Today as I stood in line at the pharmacy, a man walked right in front of me and stood in line. I told him that I’ve been standing in this line for 15 minutes and I pointed to the back of the line to indicate where he should go. He ignored me. I felt disrespected. I felt annoyed. I felt judgmental and impatient. I felt unimportant. I felt invisible and disregarded.

You can see how these statements could have been summed up in one word – angry. But, noticing the subtle feelings can help resolve the inner experience, neutralize the cascading thoughts, and assist in better choices. In another blog, I’ll talk more about actions and choices.

It’s helpful to track your emotions to learn to identify them and to see patterns. You can find trackers online, or make your own. I found that tracking throughout the day is extremely helpful. Next to the emotion I note:
Time of day
What was going on such as “Worry/my dog’s lab results came in”.
Then, at the end of the day I’ll note the average way I felt during the day.

You can find charts online that list a multitude of names for emotions.

We hope that you find this information useful. As always, comment below!

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