We all experience emotions from an early age. As adults attempting to navigate the often chaotic world of modern life, the range of emotions we experience in a day can change dramatically.
Our ability to feel and respond to our emotions is often taken for granted. We rarely stop to think and pay close attention to what we’re feeling. We do not consider the impact it has on our mental state, or the long-term implications that holding onto emotions has, that might be harmful to us.
Until you become fully aware of your inner experiences, emotions will rule. Emotions are highly conditioned, meaning that they are automatic reactions that arise in you in response to things that happen. A memory comes to mind? You don’t need to make yourself feel sad, you just do, and your whole day may be affected.
Feelings begin with either internal or external events and follow a cycle which eventually leads to an action urge. By understanding the feelings model below, you will be able to apply mindfulness to cope with emotions as they arise in response to events.
- Action Urge
- Action Results
Identifying & naming emotions
An important part of emotional regulation is the skill of identifying and naming your emotions. This helps you to access a wise mind by quieting your body and mind to prevent being caught up in an emotional mind.
7 Primary Emotions
Your other emotions either fall under one of these broad categories or are made up of a combination of the above. Sometimes we experience secondary emotions, these are an emotional reaction to a primary emotion. The key here is to figure out what the root or primary emotion is so that you can take action.
Emotions are neither good nor bad, right or wrong
Feelings just ARE. You do not choose to feel what you feel.
Emotions do not last forever
What you are feeling at any given moment will eventually lift and another emotion will take its place.
Feeling and emotions versus acting
There’s a difference between having an emotion and acting on an emotion.
When a strong emotion is experienced, you do not have to act on the feeling
All you need to be able to do is recognise/name the emotion and feel it.
Emotions are not facts
Emotions can be very powerful and the person experiencing it may feel that it’s undeniably true, but emotions remain subjective.
You cannot get rid of emotions
Emotions can only be felt and thought about. You must be willing to radically accept your emotions as they arise, without judgement, and finding appropriate ways of handling these feeling without turning to impulsive behaviour.
Emotions are the best way to tell you what you are thinking
If you are feeling sad, anxious or angry, you are thinking sad, anxious or angry thoughts.
When emotions arise, it may be helpful to see the emotion as a wave coming and going.