9 key points about emotions:
1. No emotion is bad or wrong.
2. They all have a reason, a message, a function.
3. All of the emotions we experience today evolved because they promoted our survival in some way by influencing our behaviour.
4. If you push feelings away, they come back stronger and overwhelm you.
5. Some lighter emotions can increase in intensity to become something new. For example, annoyance that is repeatedly triggered and squashed can lead to rage.
6. Each emotion is connected to one another. Experiencing a mix of different emotions at the same time creates a new emotion with its own, unique sensations. You can see this in the picture of Robert Putchik’s emotion wheel.
7. Unprocessed emotions build up over time. All “uncharacteristic outbursts” begin to make perfect sense when you hear someone’s story.
8. Labelling your emotions helps to reduce their intensity in the moment.
9. Recognising that you are not your emotion is key. For example, rather than saying “I’m angry!” Try switching it for “I feel angry” or “I am experiencing so much anger.” This may seem like a small detail but the language we use is so powerful. Describing the feeling as a sensation that washes over you as opposed to who you are helps it to pass.
What are your thoughts on these points? Do you ever find it difficult to name your feelings?