The importance of emotional health in our society is not good. Honestly speaking, capitalism and consumerism are driven by emotion based decision making. Rates of anxiety, stress, and depression are increasing. The existential truth about the human condition is a shocking revelation that can be confusing to process. Personally, I feel that people don’t understand the nature of their negative emotions. They don’t know how to process their emotions. So, they may resort to negative coping mechanisms.
As a mother, it is imperative for me to give my son the tools that he needs to process his own emotions and strengthen his emotional intelligence. Emotional neglect can leave a lifetime of damage that is a vicious cycle in our community.
What Are Emotions?
What are emotions? Emotions are generated subconsciously, usually by internal and external events. Your feelings are derived from conscious thought. Emotions are complex components of mental and psychological expression. Generally, psychologists agree that all emotions are comprised of the following three parts: subjective feelings, expressive behaviors, and psychological responses.
Subjective emotions are different in feeling based on the individual. This is why it is important for everyone to understand themselves, so that they can properly communicate their emotions to others. Subjective emotions require explanation because the description and interpretation differ from person to person. For example, two people that are in love can not describe the feelings associated with falling in love the same. The human experience is unique from person to person.
Psychological responses to emotions are sweating, increased heart rate, flushed face (blood rushing to the face) and etc.
Expressive behavior is outward expression that we observe when conversing with one another. So, rolling eyes, tone of voice, facial expressions, rapid breathing or other body language. The bulk of our understanding of others derives from expressive behavior. Overall, the largest component of communication is non-verbal.
Don’t ever feel guilty because of your emotions! Allow yourself to feel them. Gift yourself with radical honesty and know that you can process them.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor your own emotions and other people’s emotional state and to use this information wisely in the relationship. Remember, relationships encompass love, family, work, and friendships. There are five components to emotional intelligence:
- Self Awareness- the ability to recognize your own internal feelings.
- Managing emotions: finding appropriate ways to handle said emotions in positive ways.
- Motivation: using self-control to channels your emotions toward a goal (or common goal in the relationship)
- Empathy: the ability to understand the emotional perspective of others.
- Handling relationships: using your information and information about others to handle social relationships and hone in on your interpersonal skills.
In short, if you lack self awareness, then you’re holding yourself back. One of the best ways to respect yourself is to live authentically. People that lack self awareness are typically passive aggressive, closed minded when faced with a differing opinion, are always the victim in a situation, and lack self-respect. Let’s not get bummed out about this because it can be addressed and rectified! First, we have to find proper ways to process your emotions. During this, you will gain clarity about your motivations and your triggers.
8 Ways To Process Your Emotions
Find a neutral place to talk it out with that person. Take them on a walk around your neighborhood (if in a relationship) to talk it out. Call a friend to talk through your feelings (or to vent). Whatever route you choose, taking ownership of your emotions and talking about them is healthy.
Always keep in mind that to hold space not grasp control. So, allow yourself the space to feel and process your emotions. It is okay to cry to let it out and move to the next phase of addressing your emotions. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a good cry.
Journaling is so therapeutic! If you write in a journal everyday, then you are processing your emotions and understanding of self daily! It’s a great way to get down negative feelings as well. I started journaling when I was a young girl in middle school. My mom bought me one and I have journaled on and off since then.
Yes, you can move your body to process your emotions! If you have feelings of rage, try kick boxing at your local community center. If you’re in a delicate situation, then get on a bike and see places of your city that you have yet to conquer!
Art has so many different mediums of expression. Pick one! Pick up a canvas and paint kit box from you local craft store and paint an abstract work of art. Do this when strong emotions arise and collect them to see how you express that on the canvas. Write poetry to express intense emotions (or sadness) that you may be experiencing at the time.
In this form of mediation, you don’t want to clear your mind. When meditating to process your emotions, ask yourself questions: Why do I feel this way? When did I start to feel this way? How did I express my feelings for this emotion? How often do I feel this emotion? Always keep your breathing deep, intentional, and steady through this meditation exercise. The objective is to focus solely on self. Don’t focus on what the other person did, why they did it, when they did it or how they did it. Focus on self.
Please do not underestimate the power of the great outdoors! Nature invokes positive impacts to the brain, emotions, body, thought processes, and social interactions. Also, simply viewing nature provides a calming effect to the nervous system. In turn, it cultivates greater openness, connection, creativity, generosity, and resilience. So, reward yourself with the beauty of nature to process your emotions.
Seeing A Therapist
A therapist’s main objective is to help you process self and guide you to awareness. They’re not there to give you the answers, but to be of guidance in sorting out all that is you. Seeking therapy is okay! In fact, everyone should see a therapist at some point in their life. So, be proud that you want therapy; be proud that you have a therapist. You’re taking ownership of your mental health in a world that capitalizes off the lack of it!
If you are a woman of color and want a therapist who can provide “high quality, culturally competent services to Black women and girls”, please check out the database on Therapy for Black Girls and find a therapist in your area. In no way am I stating that people of color should have therapists of color, but providing the resources for you.
Don’t just lean on one outlet to express your emotions. If you’re not much of a talker, don’t always use art and nature to process because you’re not respecting yourself by not communicating your grievances, wants, and needs. If you tend to process your emotions through others (conversation), make it a point to journey inward to ensure that you’re not mixing your interpretations of self with someone else’s projections. Overall, utilize all of the outlets in varying degrees.
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