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Recognizing Emotions

Updated on February 6, 2018
Virginia Lea profile image

It is what it is. As long as you live for today then yesterday and tomorrow do not matter.

Those emotions...

I have had a lot of time to think, and I realize that reacting off emotions only got me in trouble. I would get mad and yell, I feel upset so I do things that make me feel better, I feel sad so the behavior that follows is snappy remarks. Why do I do that? I never found an answer but I have gotten better at recognizing emotions. I realize I have no control over my emotions. That is huge for me to realize and I have to emphasize how important this is, so I repeat; I don't have control over my emotions nor do I have control over external situations. So even though a certain situation might make me feel an unpleasant emotion, the important thing I have to remember is I have complete control over my behavior.

During the last month I have learned to regulate my emotions as well as change the behavior associated with such emotion. Not many people can do that, but I value how important it is to learn.

Let's start with the basics, 'Recognizing Emotions.' Everyone goes through their day with millions of thoughts rushing in and out of their heads. Some of those are not so pleasant while others are meaningless, and all of those thoughts carry an emotion. Whether it is a good emotion or a bad one, with thoughts come emotions. In one of my blogs I wrote about mindfulness and for those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically just being aware of your surrounding's, or it could be considered a distraction. To be able to be 'mindful" of emotions, you are simply aware of how you feel.

A good example would be this story about Bill. So Bill is walking along the beach by myself and he sees a couple fighting in the distance, he suddenly feels upset by that, so what comes next? A behavior, those are what Bill can control. He could go one of two ways, taking route A looks like: Bill sees the couple fighting and he lets it make him feel upset, then his wife calls and says something that irritates him. He took his anger out on his wife instead of realizing that he was already upset from a different event. Or the scenario could go route B: Bill sees the couple, it makes him slightly uneasy to see others fighting; but instead of taking his anger out on his wife (who did nothing to him) he recognized that he already felt uneasy from what happened before his wife called. He expressed to his wife that he was already feeling uneasy before the phone call and to not take his tone personally. Or he could have told her he would call her back in a minute if he was unable to control his behavior at that point.

In scenario A, Bill failed to recognize his emotion, but in scenario B he was able to change his behavior just by recognizing he felt a certain emotion about an external event. It's simple really, all it takes is a little patience and practice, a lot of practice. Being mindful of your emotions will create the foundation to changing your thoughts, which in turn can reroute your behavior. Recognize negative emotions and don't let them fester in your soul, that can cause a very painful life. This is from personal experience. Realize that emotions come and go and they are not bad unless you let them be. Feeling fearful can give you adrenaline and indicate that you need to fight or flight. Being angry can give you stamina to fight, and being sad lets you know that you need to GET UP and do something to make yourself feel better. It's all about how to recognize the emotion you are feeling to be able to handle it. I have this emotion wheel that like to look at when I am feeling an emotion I can't put a name to, and once I put my finger on an emotion on the wheel, then I can take the next step. But if I don't point out that I am sad, hurt, angry, happy or whatever then I wouldn't know what step to take next. If I am mad I know I need to refer to some anger management coping skills. If I get anxious then I know to slow down, take a deep breath and not let the emotions get me overwhelmed.

Well I am not going to beat a dead horse, you guys know what to do and if you have any questions I have all the skills to be successful in life.


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