Our last post looked briefly at what emotions are, and this post up to discuss how to identify what our emotions are. As I previously mentioned, emotions are simply a gauge to indicate something is going on.
Often, emotions can be overwhelming. Someone says something we don’t like or disagree with, so we immediately get angry. We feel like we aren’t being heard, so we become frustrated. But in the moment, how can we tell what the gauges of emotions are telling us? Here are the steps I think are helpful to identify our emotions:
Acknowledge they are there
This sounds simple, but the first step we need to take is to acknowledge that our emotions exist. We have to recognize we are feeling something. We don’t have to know what we are feeling yet, or why, but that something is going on emotionally.
Put a name to it
Once we know an emotion is present we need to put a name to it. This step is important because it allows us to productively communicate with other people what we are feeling. This can be particularly challenging, especially when we experience more than one emotion at once, or when we don’t have a word to express how we are feeling. I have found this chart to be very helpful for people learning how to put words to their emotions.
Once we acknowledge the emotions and put a name to it, the next step is to dive into the emotion. Ask yourself “Why am I feeling ______?”The answer might seem obvious: “I am angry because I am being yelled at.” But go deeper. Why does that action/behavior/etc. bring up that emotion? What core value or belief do you have that is being impacted by whatever is causing your emotions.
Congratulations! Following these steps, one can identify their emotion and what is at the root of it. From there, the emotion can either be communicated, or effectively managed.
More on effectively managing emotions next time!