Taken from: Milk and Honey Therapy. To read full article, click button below
Understanding Emotions Through the Senses by May Bleeker, updated 24 Feb 2022. To read full article, click button below.
Recognizing and understanding emotions is the first step when it comes to acting with emotional intelligence.
Being effective in the emotional realm also involves being able to respond appropriately and helpfully to situations, regardless of what you are feeling.
But most of the time our feelings tend to derail us and cause 'upsets' in our lives, instead of being the helpful signals and information that they can be.
5 Senses - 5 Doorways
The only way you are really able to understand the world is through your own experience. You gain this experience through your five senses.
Explore emotions through the five senses
Can you think of anything at all that you 'know' that you didn't get to know through at least one of your senses?
Until you've experienced and understood things for yourself, everything else is just second-hand knowledge. Including what you read on this page. Understanding emotions is no different.
5 Practical Ways to Explore How You Feel
While reading or thinking about emotions can be useful, when you are looking for first hand understanding of emotions, you need to experience things for yourself.
This can be difficult if you are not accustomed to focusing your attention on your feelings.
People who know how to do it, do it automatically. Those for whom it does not come naturally, or who are more used to ignoring their feelings might not know where to begin.
What better way than through the doorways of your five senses?
Check out the 5 worksheets that provide different ways of exploring feelings. One for each of the five senses.
They are constructed in such a way that you can use them to explore any emotion you can think of.
There is also an extra worksheet that deals with anger. A particularly difficult emotion.
A Note on Intuition
This 'Understanding Emotions' series of worksheets deals with the five senses. There is of course, also intuition, or what some people might think of as your sixth sense. But in my humble opinion the path to developing this type of refined 'listening' or 'intuitive sensing' is to first develop your ability to attend very closely to the everyday information coming in through your everyday senses.
Intuition seems simply to be a much more refined version of this type of sensory listening. It has a mysterious quality, because it is very much a thing of the present moment. And the world and life are in fact very mysterious things. It is when you are fully present that you become deeply aware of this.
When you are able to distinguish very finely between the subtle nuances of your own feelings and sensory input, and can make 'sense' of it in a holistic, but nameless way, you could call this being 'intuitive'. Knowing or 'sensing' this information is one thing. Trusting and following its guidance is another matter entirely!
Learning to be more finely tuned to your five senses may not only make you more self aware, it may develop your intuitive insights too!
Copyright ©2008-2022 May Bleeker-Phelan, doorway-to-self-esteem.com. All rights reserved.
Taken from: Relationships Australia. For full article, click button below
Why should we start our sentences with ‘I’?
Starting a sentence with ‘I’ helps us talk about difficult feelings, say how the problem is affecting us and stops other people feeling blamed. It forces us to take responsibility for our own thoughts and feelings.
Partners tend to experience this as less hostile, opening the possibility of further conversation and hope for a resolution.
Ultimately, they can frame a situation as something to be workshopped and solved together, instead of sounding like a complaint about your partner, or an attack on their character.
Here are some specific ways that "I" and "You" statements are used in our everyday lives.
Good communication is a habit
Communicating effectively isn’t just a skill you’re born with. It can be learned, and with a little repetition and practice, things will get easier.
The Mind Body Connection With Emotions – Skill #8
The Mind Body Connection is powerful; our emotions are stored not only in our brain, but in our bodily response. When we have a strong emotion, our body has a physical reaction. Emotions can seem trapped in our body when we have a chronic stress response, or other hurts.
This idea of the mind body connection isn’t just some woo-woo hippie idea, our emotions directly impact our body, our physiology, our physical being, and can directly impact our brain and emotions.
In this section, you’re going to learn about the mind body connection, the physical impact of emotions, and this is really important, because if we want to change how we feel, if we want to change how we think and how we live our lives, we need to learn how to resolve emotions that get trapped in the body.
Everyday Evidence of the Mind Body Connection
Almost everyone has had this feeling after a strong emotional experience, but most people have zero education about what to do about it.
Emotions are as much in the body as in the mind. But, as you’re going to learn in my next section, strong emotions make it hard to think clearly. If we want to learn to process through and resolve intense emotions, we have to learn to soothe our body first.
Listen to some common ways to talk about how we feel:
“My boss is a pain in the neck.”
“My coworker gives me a headache.”
“My ex-boyfriend makes me sick to my stomach.”
“I’ve got a broken heart.”
“I’m so tired of dealing with this.”
“He got cold feet.”
“My heart’s pounding with excitement.”
“That sent a shiver down my spine.”
Many of our thoughts, emotions and actions, are rooted in a deeper part of our brains and bodies that are not part of our conscious thinking process. The Fight/Flight/Freeze response comes from deep parts of our brain and body, deep knowledge that is subconscious. We have many, many more instincts that are also not part of our conscious reactions.
There’s some really cool research showing that emotions and memories are stored in the stomach, glands, heart and other muscles (think your jaw or neck or back pain), and throughout the body.
Mind Body Connection Research
There is also very rigorous research showing the links between stress and physical illness, like cancer, heart attacks, decreased immunity, and all others. We really cannot separate the mind from the body, they are intricately connected.
When we learn to notice the physical aspect of emotions, that gives us a key to working through them, and just because our emotions are in our bodies and sometimes get stuck, doesn’t mean they have to be trapped there forever.
Not only does the mind lead to how our body feels, but how our body feels can lead to how our mind feels. There are some simple physical changes we can make to improve our ability to resolve emotions.
When we change our thinking, or emotions, we can change the physiological responses. This is called a “Top-Down approach”. We can also take a “Bottom-Up” approach to improving our mental health by accessing our brain through our bodies.
So let me show you a simple way; Lean into an area of tension. Let’s do it with the shoulders, don’t resist your tension, just exaggerate it a little, and then consciously soften. You can do this with your face, with your hands, with your breathing. Small changes in our physical habits can create big changes in our brains.
Physical Habits That Can Improve Your Mind Body Connection
Simple physical changes that we can make to improve our ability to resolve emotions.
Taken from Psychology Today, Jessica Fein, Grace in Grief, GRIEF
Posted November 13, 2023 | Reviewed by Michelle Quirk
The holiday season can feel like a punishment when you’re grieving. Forced festivity seems like it was created just to make the knots in your stomach even tighter. Seeing other people throwing parties and decorating trees and wearing ugly sweaters on purpose might make you want to crawl under your bed…and stay there until January 2.
So how can you muster up the strength to face the onslaught of good cheer and maybe even find a smile or two during the holidays?
1. Forgo Tradition
The presence of your person’s absence can be too much to bear. The empty seat at the table where your mother always sat, your feeble attempt at re-creating the salad your sister brought each year, the lopsided football teams in your family’s pre-meal game—all these can accentuate your loss. Instead, shake things up.
Move from a seated meal in the dining room to a buffet in the den. Invite a new cast of characters to join your celebration. Get Chinese food or order pizza instead of more traditional fare. Your celebration will likely feel unrecognizable anyway without your person. Make it deliberately different.
2. Have an Exit Plan
If you’re going to somebody else’s home, figure out ahead of time how to leave if things feel too tough. If you’re comfortable, let your host know that this is a difficult time for you, and that you’re going to play things by ear. Lean on a trusted friend to be your excuse if you need to take off early. And don’t feel guilty if you don’t go at all. Prioritize what you need this year, not what others might expect from you.
Helping somebody else is a great way to connect with others and find meaning during a time when you’re quite likely feeling isolated. Soup kitchens, toy drives, meal delivery—there’s no shortage of opportunities. You might even think of volunteering as a way to honor the person you’re missing.
4. Talk to Somebody
Acknowledge that this year will likely feel different and confide in a friend, a family member, a therapist, or someone you meet online in your grief group. Talking about your feelings instead of swallowing them helps you integrate your new reality and gives others an opening to support you.
5. Take Care of Yourself
This is the year to be selfish. What do you want or need? Go on a vacation. Get a massage. Spend the day reading in bed. And when other people ask if there’s anything they can do, say “Yes.” Enlist a friend to do your shopping for you or take your kids to the movies so you can have time to yourself.
6. Expect the Unexpected
Holidays bring up a lot of emotions under the best of circumstances, which these definitely are not. Give yourself grace to feel whatever you’re feeling. Treat yourself like you would a best friend, and set aside any expectations of what the holidays “need” to be.
7. Don’t Feel Guilty if You Have a Good TimeIf you find that the holidays are just what you needed to restore routine or connect with loved ones or even simply to distract yourself, don’t feel guilty. You deserve every bit of joy, even when you’re mourning.
It’s possible for grief and joy to mingle, to sit side by side at your holiday table laughing and crying together.
Taken from Bergen Counseling Center - For entire article, click button below
How to Get in Touch With Your Feelings
You may be thinking, “OK that’s great, emotional awareness matters, but how do I become more aware?” The following are some suggestions for learning more about your feelings and how to talk about them in helpful ways.
Name the emotions you experience.
Often we think of the easy ones, such as anger, happiness, sadness, fear, but as we become adults, our emotions become more nuanced. Learn to identify less commonly named ones, including shock, shame, anxiety, disgust, boredom, amusement, desperation, doubt, etc. Use a thesaurus or search for a mood chart online to give you new ideas.
Learn to identify your feelings correctly.
We may automatically assume that we are angry if we yell, but it’s possible to cover up feelings of sadness or embarrassment with things that look like anger to make us feel less vulnerable. Take the time to look below the surface symptoms and see what’s really going on underneath.
Track a particular emotion throughout the day.
Pick a feeling and follow it. Let’s say “joyfulness.” Jot down how many times you feel joyful throughout the day. Write notes about who you’re with, what time it is, where you are, what you’re doing, and how intense the emotion is. This can be a helpful exercise in learning what to embrace or avoid in your daily life to help manage your feelings better.
Push through and seek support when it seems difficult.
If we’ve buried our emotions for a long time, it can be very painful to face them. Often it can seem like things are getting worse before we learn to deal with how we feel. Don’t give up before you receive the healing benefits of getting more in tune with yourself! Seek help from trusted friends, counselors, religious organizations, and support groups if it seems too difficult to do alone.
Express emotions in healthy ways.
Once we’ve learned to name and track emotions, we need to learn what to do with them. Understanding our emotions may lead us to have healthy conversations with loved ones. We can share what we’ve learned about ourselves to others, receiving support and providing empathy for one another. Other ways that people deal with emotions include exercising, meditating, prayer, creating or listening to music, writing poetry, painting, or journaling. Find out what helps you to process your emotions, and be as creative as you want!
Pay attention to your body.
Take a moment to pause right now. Take a deep breathe. What does your body feel like right this moment? Often we experience physical sensations that are associated with emotions, and we can learn to recognize our feelings based on our physical symptoms. For example, anger is often felt between the chest and head, while fear is usually felt between the stomach and chest. These sensations can include tightness, numbness, agitation, and nausea. Different people will have different physical sensations so learn what your body is telling you about your emotions.
By Jennifer Comppen - The Jed Foundation
The holiday season is billed as a festive and joyful time of year to celebrate and be with family and friends. But for many, it can be overwhelming and even lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression—sometimes referred to as the “holiday blues.”
The holiday blues are common, and although different from mental illness, should be taken seriously. There are many reasons why people might experience stress and sadness between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, including a lack of sleep and downtime, unrealistic expectations, financial stress, isolation and grief, and anxiety about the new year ahead.
Fortunately, there are ways you can address these concerns and ensure that you are taking care of yourself during the holiday season.
Get Enough Sleep, Schedule Downtime, and Nourish YourselfA hectic holiday schedule, with frequent travel or many social obligations to fulfill, can lead to exhaustion and a lack of sleep, which increases stress. There can also be pressure to wrap things up at school or work during this time. Some people turn to unhealthy coping strategies, such as disordered eating or using substances, to handle these feelings, often making them worse.
It is always important to prioritize your emotional health and well-being. Remember to take time for self-care and ensure that you are getting enough sleep, exercise, and nutritious foods. It’s okay to take a break from—or say no to—social gatherings, make time for hobbies you enjoy, and connect with what is most important to you about the holidays.
It is okay to trust yourself and set and stick to boundaries that make sense for you.
Take a Break From Social Media and Set Realistic ExpectationsHolidays are often seen as a cheerful time, which creates pressure for things to be “perfect” and leads to disappointment if they’re not. It’s especially easy to compare ourselves to others during this time as we scroll through social media and think other people’s lives and families are perfect. We might assume everyone around us is happy, and we’re the odd one out.
Being too connected to our phones, computers, and devices can put our brains on overload. Set boundaries for yourself to look at your phone less, and avoid screens before bedtime, so it’s easier to fall asleep.
Slow Down and BreatheIt’s easy to get sucked into multitasking when you have a lot of things to cross off your to-do list. Whether you’re sipping your favorite hot beverage or folding laundry, try shifting your attention to just what you’re doing at the moment. Getting grounded in where you are at any given time can help you feel less overwhelmed.
When we experience stress, we also sometimes hold our breath, meaning less oxygen gets to the brain. When you take the time to focus on your breathing, it sends a signal to your nervous system that everything is ok and that helps calm down any stress we’re feeling. Check out breathing exercises you can use anytime.
Call a Loved One and ConnectIf you’re not able to spend time with loved ones for whatever reason—or you are spending time with your family, but wish you could be with your chosen family, remember that you can always connect with people over the phone. That can help you feel less alone if you’re not close to your family or if spending time with them often leads to conflict.
If family drama makes holidays hard, check out these tips for having tough family conversations.
Whether you are feeling isolated, stressed, or any other difficult emotion, keeping it bottled in only makes it worse. Being able to vent to a trusted friend or family member can help you calm down and get perspective. Instead of texting, connect by phone — hearing a familiar voice can be calming and comforting.
Acknowledge Your GriefFor people grieving the loss of a loved one, it can sometimes feel like the rest of the world has forgotten and moved on from something that was very painful for you. If it’s your first holiday without them, these feelings can be incredibly strong.
If you are grieving this time of year, realize that the holidays may look different going forward. You may feel a variety of emotions—upset that your loved one is gone, guilty over a lack of “holiday cheer,” a desire to continue old traditions or let them go. There is no right or wrong way to grieve or celebrate, and your grief matters whether you feel sad or find joy during this time.
Move Your BodyMovement gets the blood flowing and brings your attention to the present moment (instead of worrying about the past or future). It doesn’t have to be a long run, but it should be something you enjoy, even if it’s just dancing to your favorite playlist in your room.
MeditateTaking the time to sit down and simply follow your breath can bring you into the moment and help you feel connected. Here are easy steps you can follow to meditate:
Grief, during the holidays, can feel overwhelming and isolating. Everywhere one looks it can seem as if their lives are full of joy and health. For those in grief, even going out to the grocery store can take courage to face the crowd of strangers. Not knowing if, or when, emotions may come up, make going out into the world feel even less safe.
The following, taken from Journey's with Grief, highlight the following:
Choose: Allow yourself the flexibility, and not the obligation, to choose what feels right for you. This may even require you to make a last minute decision. Your grief. Your journey.
Communicate: Share with those that will be affected by your choices, what you are feeling about your choices, and why the choice is right for you at this time.
Compromise: There is no one way to grieve. What worked for one person, will not work for you. It is important if others are experiencing grief too, to communicate and see if there are any solutions that allow each person to get needs met.
Grief is tough to navigate, but implementing the Three C's, may help to reduce additional frustration or heartache.
Holidays. They can be beautiful and joyful, and they can be complicated and complex. All emotions tend to be magnified by the season and at times, they can be difficult to navigate.
According to the article in Harvard Health, here are a few suggestions to help with feelings:
Keep expectations in check. Most families are not picture perfect and jolly. Do not compare and despair. The reality is that for most, holidays are not always joy-filled.
Be flexible for things to be different than what they have been in the past or what you think they should look like now or in the future. Being flexible allows for spontaneity and unexpected circumstances.
At times, we need to take care of our needs, and not succumb to obligations. If you really don't want to participate in an event, don't. Observing the holiday in a way that aligns with your essence, is a way to take care of yourself.
Even in the best of circumstances, holidays can be hard. Everyone is busy - parties, trim trimmings, to do lists, obligations, etc. Add in grief, and the holidays can be overwhelming and very difficult.
There is so much pressure to find joy and be festive, that one may feel alone and isolated if grieving. To help navigate these emotions it is important to engage in self care. This may look different for each person, so find options that align with where you are emotionally.
You are under no obligation to do traditions. In fact, you are free to change everything or anything. This is your experience.
If you decide to go out, have an exit strategy. Engage a friend to support you or decide to take your own car or uber when you are ready.
What does self care look like for you? Staying home, in pajammas? Watching movies? Being with others? Whatever resonates with you, surround yourself with it.
Whatever you may think may occur during the holidays, know that more than likely it will be different than what you had imagined. Give yourself some freedom of the unknown and the unexpected, and be able to give yourself the support you need, wherever you need it.