Emotions have huge effects on our physical and mental wellbeing. Emotions can range from despair to anger to inspiration to compassion and everything in between.
Interestingly, it is easier to talk about our physical health and even mental health, but rarely do we talk about our emotional health. So what is emotional health and how do we make sense of our emotions and learn to move forward with emotions?
Emotional health is a positive sense of wellbeing however not all emotions we experience are positive. When we decide we don’t want to feel a certain way, we can begin to fight our emotions. This happens when we suppress, ignore, downplay or pretend they don’t exist.
Lets take a closer look at the different types of emotions we experience:
Emotions we identify as problematic include things like grief, anger, fear, revenge, having a broken heart and we deem these as “negative” emotions that hold us back from progress. We often feel stuck with these emotions (we feel heavy).
Alternatively, we can experience positive emotions such as inspiration, love, compassion and peace. These emotions empower you and motivate you to move forward. We often feel at ease with these emotions (we feel lighter).
So how can you cause a new emotion to occur when you are experiencing negative emotions?
We train ourselves to catch negative emotions earlier through awareness (also known as mindfulness) that happens in the present moment.
10 Steps to deal with emotions:
Step 1: Identify the type of emotion you are experiencing and name it (anger Ie. negative emotion)
Step 2: Ask yourself the question “why?” (why am I feeling this way?)
Step 3: Trace it back to the root (what caused me to feel this way?)
Step 4: Do not suppress the emotion, this will only intensify it (ie. I am depressed about being depressed)
Step 5: Accept this is how you feel (let it be)
Step 6: Make peace with how you are feeling by allowing it (pain loses it sting)
Step 7: Identify the type of emotion you prefer to experience and name it (patience with myself ie. positive emotion)
Step 8: Ask yourself how positive emotions feel?
Step 9: Nurture your positive emotions (do not take them for granted)
Step 10: Develop a gratitude mindset
Keeping with the process of dealing with your emotions will help you to become mindful of your emotional states and skillful with your emotional health. Build up positive emotions as often as you can to grow your emotional wellbeing, a key pillar of your overall health.