We are wired to express our emotions –
it’s good to know what they are and why
Sometimes we can be frustrated but not really know why. Or we start to laugh and wonder what’s so funny. Sometimes we can feel stress or pressure at home and not realize its true source. Realizing our emotions and taking the time to sit in them can be healthy and prepare us to work through those emotions the next time they circle back around. Tracking those emotions or feelings, journaling about them and finding what triggers them can all be healthy steps along the way to learning more about ourselves and our emotions.

Showing, and sharing, our emotions is a good thing. We are all human, and it’s a positive act to have feelings and not be afraid to show them.

What are emotions?

That can be a pretty deep question. When we talk about emotions, we usually think happy, sad, angry, content, etc. Emotions are what we feel in reaction to a situation or experience that triggers a certain feeling. For example, spending time in my vintage camper during the summer makes me feel joy. It’s where I want to be. It makes me want to continue spending time in my camper because I know I’m going to find joy there.

What is the Purpose of Emotions?

So why do we feel emotions? Well, life would be pretty boring without any emotions – good or bad. Can you imagine going through life never laughing because you’re happy, crying because you’ve experienced pain or feeling relief when a big project is over. We need to get those feelings and emotions out of us somehow!

Not only is having and expressing feelings positive for ourselves, it’s also good for others to understand what we are feeling. If you were with a work colleague who just completed a huge project, wouldn’t you want them to have a smile on their face so you know they are happy and relieved? Wouldn’t that make more sense than a blank stare? We need emotions to read those around us.

Why Do We Need To Understand Emotions?

Again, this is two-fold. First, we need to understand our own emotions to help us express our feelings more clearly. Knowing our emotions, our triggers and how to work through our emotions can help avoid or resolve conflicts easier. It can also help us overcome difficult feelings to find a place of contentment or peace.

The other side of that is when we can understand our emotions, we can better understand where someone else is coming from with their emotions and actions. If we know their triggers, we can help avoid them. Understanding emotions helps us approach more difficult feelings and situations with love and kindness – for ourselves and for others.

1 Way to Observe your Emotions: Writing It Out

Download our worksheet to get started!

What is happening right now?
Don’t just think, write. Sometimes we tend to overthink things. Putting pen to paper can help us avoid overthinking and working ourselves up over something that maybe was simpler than we realized. Writing down your emotions and what caused them can help you work through them quicker.

What emotions are you feeling?
Be thorough in your description. It’s best to get to the root of your true feelings whenever you can.

What are you feeling in your body?
Tension? Relaxation? Joy? Anger? Sadness? Don’t dismiss anything. Body scanning is a practice where you can meditate for 10 or more minutes while emotionally examining your body systematically for physical sensations. Researchers have proven that emotion and physical sensations are intimately linked.

How do the emotions make sense?
Emotions provide a lot of information for us, but we often dismiss, avoid or shut down our emotions. When we take a closer look at them, we can make sense of what we are feeling and really learn something about ourselves.

Ask yourself, “How does this emotion make sense?”

Then, “What am I thinking or believing that created these emotions?”

Follow it up with, “What is true about this belief and what is not true?” 

Finally, “What is another way I can think about this event or situation instead of the negative thought? When I think about it this other way, what do I feel now?”  

Making sense of the emotions is about how you interpret them and gives you an opportunity to normalize them.