Have you ever had trouble understanding or expressing your emotions? If so, you're not the only one. There are several things that can make it hard to communicate your emotions. Strong emotions are often suppressed because of family traditions or societal norms. Others, on the other hand, have never learned the words required to fully express their emotions.
Sometimes, though, our feelings are just a fog; we're unsure of what we're feeling and baffled as to why we reacted the way we did. The first step in being able to examine and resolve the emotions we feel is learning to recognise them, whether they are happy or negative.
What Takes Place in the Brain When You're Emotional?
A fundamental brain function is an emotional reaction to inputs. When we perceive something, our senses gather data and send it to our brains for quick interpretation. The processing of emotions physiologically involves numerous brain systems. The limbic system is the part of the brain that is most closely linked to feelings and memory. The limbic system regulates a number of biochemical, physical, and emotional functions in the body.
According to how emotions are classified by the brain—pleasant or unpleasant—the body releases neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and norepinephrine, altering both physical and mental reactions. Along with the limbic system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, the autonomic nervous system, and the reticular activating system all play a role in the body's reactions to emotional cues, including controlling breathing, endocrine glands, preserving energy, and maintaining wakefulness.
In other words, both internal and exterior events can cause our brains to experience emotions. Which emotion is felt will depend on how those experiences are perceived based on your views and beliefs.
How to Recognize Your Emotions in 8 Steps
Even if your thoughts and beliefs influence your emotions, it still helps to be able to name and express your feelings. What steps can you take to accomplish this, then? Here are a few concepts:
1. Make a list.
If you're having trouble naming your feelings, keep in mind that most feelings can be summed up in a single word, such as "angry," "anxious," or "ashamed." The likelihood is that you are conveying a thought, not an emotion if you need more than one word to describe something. Anything occurring in your mind that can be expressed in words, such as thoughts, memories, and beliefs, is referred to as a thought.
Given the variety of terms used to describe emotions, it can be useful to consult an emotional list (like the one on page 31) to figure out how you're feeling.
2. Distinguish between beliefs and emotions.
Imagine you're conversing with an opinionated former coworker at a social event. You have the idea, "I feel like he is disrespectful and is insulting me," when you are speaking with him. The "I feel like" actually refers to your perception that he is being impolite and offensive. You might get annoyed by this notion. It's critical to keep beliefs and emotions distinct. Your beliefs have an impact on your emotions.
3. Pay attention to your body's reactions.
Think about how your body feels different. There will be a physiological reaction specific to you to each set of emotions. It's possible that the strain in your neck is a sign of stress. A faster heartbeat could indicate anxiety. Those red cheeks could be an indication of embarrassment. Your stomach ache may be a sign of dread.
4. Develop your own awareness.
What are your preferences, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses? Be honest with yourself and others about your preferences and desires. Your emotions might change when you act in a way that is consistent with your ideals and values.
5. Perform the reverse
If you find yourself in a situation that is extremely emotional, start at the end and examine your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Start by examining your behavior (what you did). Then, make an effort to recall the thoughts that prompted that behavior. Ask yourself, "How does thinking like that make me feel?" to finish.
Here's an illustration:
Your response: "You yelled at someone."
Your thought: "He is such a horrible person," you think. That is not something he should get away with!
Your feeling: You experience a mixture of disgust and rage.
6. Request comments.
Clarifying your ideas and feelings by sharing what's bothering you with a trusted friend might also help you gain a new perspective on how you're doing. People who are familiar with you and are observing your behavior may be able to predict what will happen before you do when you are overcome with emotion and find it difficult to think clearly. For instance, if someone comments that you were silent and distant that morning, this feedback is a reminder to start being more aware of your emotions and stop them before they go out of control.
7. Identify patterns.
Do you frequently react in the same way when a particular circumstance arises? Even when you know your family is at home, you could get annoyed every time you return and discover the door shut. You can become agitated and bang on the door or mutter rude things as a result. Stay put! Does this occur frequently? If so, you can probably start identifying, locating, and naming the emotions connected to your routine cycles.
8. Connect with God.
Shepherd-turned-king David penned these words in Psalm 139:23: "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me, and know my anxious thoughts." You can employ the same method if you're willing to grow spiritually. King David requested that God, who knew him better than he knew himself, reveal what was going on in his thoughts and heart rather than relying on his flawed brain systems. He prayed and thought on God's Word, which caused him to become more aware of his true identity.
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