In the previous post we talked about thoughts and how they come to us. Now, we will dive into the next step. How do thoughts impact our feelings! And this is big! If you choose to focus on something negative (negative thought!), how does it make you feel?! Bad, sad, angry, etc., right?! So here’s where you have the power of choice! You can choose to dwell on it or you can simply shift your attention to some other thought (something else!). I know, it sounds so easy and yet some find it so difficult! Why? There can be many reasons! Some, and yes, it’s hard to believe, actually enjoy being in the negative feeling. And you can even question why?! Because it gives them a comfort of something they know. And our brains don’t like change. They love love love the “known”. So despite the fact, the feeling is not pleasant, the brain chooses it over the hard change… So it’s up to you to consciously say STOP and choose to shift your attention to something that serves you better!
What Are Feelings and Why Do They Matter?
The term “feelings” can refer to physical or emotional experiences. The sensation of pain, warmth, or cold describes physical phenomena. Sensations like comfort, fear, and happiness describe what we experience.
Feelings are what give us the ability to experience an endless array of emotions. They are what makes us human. They are what allows us to feel the joy and sorrow of life. They are what helps us to navigate our way through relationships; make important life decisions and identify our responses to things.
They are the building blocks of our emotional intelligence. And it turns out we don’t just use feelings to guide our actions – we use them to understand how others feel too.
Emotions are often suppressed because we believe they are dangerous or unhealthy. We think that if we allow ourselves to feel how we really feel, it could hurt others or damage relationships. Or worse, we might act out against someone or something.
However, what we feel can actually be very powerful. Our feelings can cause trouble. If we don’t express them, they can build up inside of us. And when they do, they can explode into action and cause harm. And remember, that can be over the course of many years! In some cases we were told as kids, don’t show your feelings… they are not appropriate etc. Well, it doesn’t mean that we are not supposed to have feelings! We need to acknowledge them and understand them. Why are they showing up, how can we deal with them effectively? What are they trying to help us with or protect us from?
So showing your feelings can be inappropriate in a social settings – let’s say you’re a manager and you have a strong “feeling” about a matter during a meeting. Does it mean I am telling you it’s okay to express your feelings freely?! No! There are ways to deal with them after the meeting or “the situation” but recognizing what’s causing the feelings, where they’re coming from and how to handle them, is the right way to do. Definitely not suppressing them forever and hoping they’ll never come up! Trust me, they find their sneaky ways how to do that… and you’ll be surprised. There are sure many shapes and forms and the timing is uncontrollable!
Sometimes, we feel emotions without knowing why. Other times, we know exactly why we’re feeling what we’re feeling. But we still choose to ignore those feelings. Why? Because we’ve learned that certain feelings are “bad.”
We’ve been taught that some feelings are good and others are bad. But there’s no such thing as a good or bad emotion. Emotions aren’t inherently positive or negative; they simply represent different aspects of our internal world.
When we try to suppress or control our feelings, we end up suppressing or controlling everything else about us. We lose sight of who we truly are. Because we are being shaped by our external environment, by our parents, our friends, our schools, our company cultures and we get lost overtime. Trust me, I’ve been there! And to find your way to your self, to your inner peace so you can find a new direction in your life, that’s exactly how I help my clients shine again.
Consequences of suppressing feelings
I talked about it above already but I am also a mom, I am learning how to help my kids to learn how to deal with their feelings and emotions in the right way…
Parents often struggle with how to help children cope with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. But some of the most common reactions are actually signs that something deeper is wrong. Here are a couple of things you should know about the consequences of suppressed and denied feelings.
Experiencing anxiety, agitation and sadness
Anxiety, agitation and sadness are normal responses to stressors in life. These feelings are helpful in helping us deal with stressful situations. However, when we suppress our emotions because we feel ashamed or guilty, it makes us more vulnerable to developing emotional problems later in life.
Problems with anger, aggression, and explosive behavior
If we don’t express ourselves appropriately, we’re likely to experience problems with anger, aggression and/or explosive behavior. When we hold in our feelings, we can become aggressive towards others. This can lead to verbal outbursts, physical violence, and even suicide attempts.
Learning to understand your feelings
As mentioned earlier, we are often taught to suppress our feelings and the feelings lead to emotions. We will talk amore about emotions later. But the feelings and emotions motivate us to act. And they shape our thoughts later on so as you can see, this could be a very wishes circle or a very successful one! So, it is important to understand how you feel. You might find it helpful to take some time to answer the following questions:
How am I feeling right now?
Why am I feeling this way?
How do I want to feel?
What do I want to change?
How can I change the situation?
I have a whole exercise for my clients to dig into their feelings and emotional states. And also, how to change them! Because awareness is just a start…Because if you can name it, you can tame it!
Accept and embrace your feelings
The most important thing about emotions is that we are allowed to feel what we feel. If someone says, “You’re feeling too much,” it is because they don’t want us to feel something else. They are trying to control our feelings. When we let go of trying to change others’ behavior, we give ourselves permission to do the same. We become free to express our true self. And that is what makes life beautiful.
Feelings are physical
You know what butterflies in the stomach mean. If you don’t, here’s why it happens: Your body reacts to how you’re feeling. This reaction is called the “fight or flight response.”
In times of stress, people often experience physical symptoms such as headaches, body aches, gastrointestinal issues, and more. They might even feel dizzy or nauseous. And interestingly enough, in my own experience, it can’t be even medically proven. Because everything is energy, we all are energy and it can be just an energetical pressure that results into our significant discomfort!
The good news is that these symptoms are natural responses to emotional states like anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness.
When we are anxious, our heart beats faster, blood pressure rises, and breathing becomes shallow. We start to sweat and shake. All of these physiological changes occur because our bodies are reacting to how we feel. If we don’t pay attention to how we’re feeling, it can become difficult to recognize the signs of impending panic attacks.
When we are experiencing fear, adrenaline flows into our bloodstream. This causes us to breathe faster and our muscles to tense up. We may begin to perspire, and our pulse may increase.
If you want to better understand yourself and your own feelings and emotions, it helps to take note of your personal experiences. Pay attention to your thoughts, your actions, and your feelings. Notice how your body reacts to those things. Remember that your body does not lie. Start your journal and you’ll see what’s happening… And remember: Awareness is a key to success!