Learn to Understand your Feelings and Emotions - 3 Different Strategies
I have here three tools to help you to learn to understand your feelings and emotions. You can use these strategies in your day to day life. This will help you communicate better, ask for what you need, know what you need, know when you need help, manage your mental health better and improve your relationships etc.
Use the Feelings Scale to gauge how you are feeling right now.
This could be used to work out how anxious you are, how angry or depressed you might be feeling. This could also be used if you have an addiction and you experience cravings.
The reason why this is useful is, if you could work out how you are feeling and how strong your feelings are, you and others could learn how to respond to what is going on more appropriately.
It is just a simple scale from one to 10
You would choose “1” if you are feeling happy, content with no anxieties or worries.
You would choose “10” if you are at your worse and you need desperate help NOW!.
You could be feeling any where between 1 to 10.
Which one are you today?
Which one would you like to be?
When you were feeling a lower number, what things happened, or did you do to help you to feel that lower number?
What things do you need to avoid to prevent you from going as high as “9” and “10”?
Another way to use is to use it to prevent yourself from getting worse. Rather than wait until you are a 9 to try some coping skills. If you are finding that your number is increasing to a 5 or 6, or lower if you can, try something then.
You can also use this to work out which situations, event or time of year make you a higher number. You could either avoid it or try and plan something to help you cope with it better.
Or you can use the Stop Light
Green for when you are happy, everything is ok, no issues
Amber – When you are starting to notice that you are struggling, feeling stressed and anxious. You may even start to crave drugs or alcohol
Red – You would be really struggling at this point. This could be the worst you ever feel. You might be planning on self-harming, having suicidal thoughts or using ilicit substances
Why are these useful?
When you are experiencing anxiety, stress or whatever difficult emotion, it can be difficult to articulate what you are feeling.
This helps you to be clear to and others
You can use this as a warning that your emotions are building up. Rather than waiting until things become uncontrollable when you are a Red at the traffic light or a 8, 9 or 10 on the scale. If you could feel your emotions building up when you are a 3 or a 4. You could maybe decide what distraction techniques can help.
Waiting till things are uncontrollable would be a lot harder to manage on your own
You could also predict situations that are high risk for you to find strategies to help.
This helps to check in with yourself how you are feeling. You can use this in your journal and keep records of what triggered you into feeling that “number” whether it is good and bad. You will soon have a clear idea of what works for you and what doesn’t.
Another useful tool to help you understand your feelings more.
A feelings wheel is an amazing tool that displays all of your feelings, both the positive and the negative ones. As human beings, we experience the full spectrum of feelings, not just the positive ones, it is many world religions which shame our anger, inadequacy, and fear. However, these are not to be shamed, but to be fully experienced, to be listened to and understood. The positive and negative feelings work like a yin-yang symbol, each feeling has an opposite feeling. In any given aspect of your life, if you are feeling sadness you are not feeling joy, if you are feeling powerful you are not feeling mad, and if you are feeling peace you are not feeling fear.
To use the feelings wheel, first identify the issue that you are dealing with by choosing one of the six feelings in the middle of the circle. Next, drill down to the feeling(s) associated with your issue lined with that word.
For example, if you are feeling mad, drilling down further to accurately describe your feelings, you could be feeling Frustrated or Hurt.
The next step is to find the converse feelings, the feelings directly opposite of the feeling you originally identified. Embarrassed would then be two up and on the right of the wheel, and thus the converse feeling would be two down and on the left side. In this case, the converse feelings are “Pensive”, “Thoughtful”, and “Peaceful”.
These are the feelings that you really want to experience in the moment, the ones that you are unable to enjoy because of your embarrassment.
I am a Therapist based in Sutton Coldfield, UK also available online.
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