I thought that today would be a good one to round up a few simple facts about feelings, so here goes. This image is a feelings wheel that can expand your emotional vocabulary. The purpose of feelings and emotions is to get you to act. However, sometimes we don’t choose the best course of action.
Facts About Feelings
1. Feelings, unlike thoughts, involve a physical reaction which often “takes over” the body. It’s that anxious feeling in your gut or the tension you are holding between your shoulder blades. You carry them around and may feel as if they are weighing you down or causing muscle pain as you go about your day. Where do you physically carry your biggest emotions?
Where do you physically carry your biggest emotions?
2. Feelings do not just appear “out of the blue.” Feelings are a direct result of your thoughts and perceptions about an event, memory, or person, either in the future or the past. You can easily test this by becoming more aware of your triggers, and the story you are telling yourself about that event.
3. Feelings are categorized as simple or complex. Simple emotions are things like anger, sadness, grief, fear, love, or excitement. Complex feelings are a combination of more than one simple emotion. Often we say we have mixed emotions about something.
4. Feelings give you energy. If you withhold or suppress feelings, you go through life experiencing a certain numbness or emptiness, or anger builds and gets expressed inappropriately. Suppression will show up in your temper, as depression, or as anxiety. Suppressing or tamping down feelings does not work. They leak. They seep out, and sometimes they explode.
Suppressing or tamping down feelings does not work. They leak. They seep out, and sometimes they explode.
5. Feelings can be contagious. You’re likely to feel sad, weepy, and/or depressed when in the company of someone who’s depressed or tearful. (This is a key reason in mental health institutions that suicide victims are quickly removed; it’s contagious.) Conversely, if you surround yourself with positive, enthusiastic company, their positive vibes rub off on you.
6. Feelings are not “right” or “wrong.” Feelings exist as reactions. They just are.
7. Unexpressed feelings can be as damaging as secrets. When you feel something strongly, find your words and speak about it to those you love and who love you. That is not a license to cuss out your boss or your spouse, it means learning how to express what you need, not what you don’t need. This is a valuable skill that can be learned and practiced.
8. Feelings and moods always change. They come and they go, sometimes as fast as we flit from one thought to another. Don’t make the mistake of deciding your mood is here to stay. And don’t make the mistake of deciding a thought is valid just because you had it. Just because you think it doesn’t make it so.
Don’t make the mistake of deciding your mood is here to stay. And don’t make the mistake of deciding a thought is valid just because you had it.
If you don’t like the way you feel on an ongoing basis, you have the power to change that. Come and change your story with me. Call or shoot me an email.