Emotions don’t just arise out of the blue, and often emotions happen because we have unmet needs. How are you finding a healthy outlet for your emotions lately? We have come through a pandemic and unprecedented life circumstances. Some of us are working through trauma and in need of tools for recovery. Some of us have adopted necessary rhythm changes. All of us have a spectrum of feelings and needs from the past years. As we rebuild our lives—it becomes important to acknowledge and lean into the variety of negative emotions—in order to build tolerance.
Consider creating a timeline of feelings and actions since 2020, note unhealthy habits that may have occurred. Create opportunities to rediscover yourself, a holistic study of self, emotional well-being and effective tools. Are you finding ways to express and accept your feelings? Ask yourself and the emotion: what do you want me to know? What do you need me to hear? Be gentle with yourself as you accept the emotion and move through it. Keep going, keep learning, keep exploring throughout. This is how we care for ourselves and others, allow ourselves time to feel the emotion and determine the need that follows.
“I” statements are the way to communicate feelings (ie: I feel____when____) and needs (ie: I need _____because_____), with trusted members of our community. Effective communication about feelings and needs are necessary for healthy living, individually and collectively.
This is how we care for ourselves and others, allow ourselves time to feel the emotion and determine the need that follows.
Consider the anger iceberg as a tool, which allows further analysis of negative emotions that we experience and also, explore the root of our emotions. Anger is an emotion that tends to be easy to see, or understood as more socially acceptable, than other emotions. However, anger may be hiding other emotions beneath the surface and may keep us from being vulnerable—such as hurt or shame. Sometimes anger is just anger. And sometimes, “anger triggers” are people, places, situations and things that set off further frustration. All these thoughts are possibilities to consider, and provide clues about the emotions behind our anger (ie: disappointment, overwhelmed, loneliness, grief, anxiety, stress, fear, jealousy, contempt, embarrassment).
Reflecting on our feelings, allow us to identify our needs, and things we must share with others. Reflection permits us to determine a healthy perspective, and possible tools needed for change. Tools may include, finding a new coping skill, or, finding a professional to guide us through specific needs outside of our current abilities. Support for emotional needs may look like: consultation with a psychiatrist and/or physician, professional counseling, local support resources and programs that educate on warning signs and ways to address mental health symptoms, educational groups that address mental health conditions and healthy coping skills. Mental health support is a growing need following the pandemic and allow individuals to identify threats to safety, problem behaviors, stability and ability to keep healthy relationships.
Seasonal inventories allow us to build effective tools for long term needs. One helpful tool, is a grounding technique and learning how to practice deep breathing and reflection, in high levels of negative emotion. At the onset of an emotion, close your eyes, take a few deep and gentle breaths. Start thinking about the emotion and establish how the emotion sounds, smells, tastes and what it looks like. As you reflect, be gracious to self and note the things that put your emotional well-being in jeopardy. Give yourself permission to focus on certain areas of life in different seasons, and safeguard reasonable goals for your emotional needs.