Isn’t it funny that humans cry due to happiness and sadness? Deciphering our emotions can sometimes feel like we are speaking a foreign language. But when we tune into our emotions, we find a deeper internal understanding. It also helps us read other people’s emotions and strengthen our relationships.
Many of us struggle to differentiate between emotions and feelings. This confusion can lead to inner turmoil and unhappiness. What if this is the missing part of the jigsaw for you? Learning to be more in touch with your emotions has a knock-on effect for the rest of your life and inevitably brings about more profound happiness.
In this article, we will explain what emotions are and why it is beneficial to be in touch with them. We will then suggest 5 ways to help you become more in touch with your emotions.
How are emotions different from feelings?
It’s easy to confuse feelings and emotions. So let’s lay out what emotions are.
This article differentiates between feelings and emotions in a simple-to-understand way, “emotions originate as sensations in the body. Feelings are influenced by our emotions but are generated from our mental thoughts.”
For instance, we may feel our heart racing and adrenaline soaring through our bodies. This sensation can indicate the emotion of excitement, but it can also indicate fear.
Let’s break this down even more.
Our feelings are a reaction to our emotions. And our emotions are our reactions to external stimuli.
Emotions occur in the subconscious mind. They often dictate our feelings without us even being aware of this. No wonder it can be challenging to be in touch with our emotions.
What are the benefits of being in touch with your emotions?
So now we know what emotions are, let’s figure out why it’s essential to be in touch with them.
Can we ever really know ourselves if we aren’t in touch with our emotions?
Being in touch with our emotions is essential to living an authentic life and being true to ourselves. How do we know who we are if we don’t listen to our internal yearnings communicated through emotions?
When we are in touch with our emotions and allow them to influence us, we benefit in several ways, including:
- Decrease in stress levels.
- Reduced stress.
- Reduced anxiety.
- Healthier relationships.
Once we are in tune with our emotions, we can set them to work for us. This article suggests 5 critical ways that our emotions assist us in life:
- Serve as a motivator.
- Help us avoid danger.
- Assist with decision-making.
- Help others understand you better.
- Help you understand others.
Once we are adept at understanding our own emotions, we gain a greater capacity to understand the emotions of others. Emotions can be difficult to read in others. For instance, a child may lash out in anger when they are really experiencing fear inside.
When we learn to communicate effectively with others, including children, we encourage an emotional connection that promotes happiness, well-being, and a deeper understanding.
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5 ways to be more in touch with your emotions
Think about the people you know who are in touch with their emotions. What strikes you about them? I suspect they are confident and self-assured. I guarantee they are adept at establishing boundaries and practicing self-compassion. Would you like to be more like this?
Here are our top 5 ways to help you be more in touch with your emotions.
1. Work on your self-awareness
How do you come across to other people? Are you aware of the persona you put out into the world? Do you let your emotions joyride through your actions and behavior toward others?
When we work on our self-awareness, we become more in tune with our emotions.
Here's how you can work on your self-awareness:
Over the next week, after each interaction with another person, reflect upon how you behaved. Did your words and tone match your emotions?
Were you reactive and defensive, or did you show patience and compassion? Would you have liked to be the other person in your company on each occasion?
Remember, the energy we give out into the world reflects back on us—kindness in, kindness out.
Our article on how to be more self-aware may help you further if you want more tips.
2. Perform a morning body scan
This mindfulness technique can help prevent us from stumbling blindly through our days. It encourages us to check in with our bodies and notice the sensations.
Scan your body before you get out of bed at the start of the day. Go through these steps:
- Lie still and relax with your eyes closed.
- Focus on your feet; how do they feel? Wiggle your toes.
- Move your attention up your lower leg, into your calves, then your knees and quads. How do they feel?
- Travel up to your abdomen, chest, shoulders, and neck.
- Take your mind down each of your arms and wiggle your fingers.
- Is there any part of your body that feels tense?
This scan helps you assess how you feel at the start of the day. It may allow you to make decisions based on the feedback you get from your soul. You can use this technique throughout the day in a standing position.
If you need to check in quickly with yourself, do a body scan. Where are you holding tension? Check in with yourself and recognize the sensations that come to you.
3. Listen to your body
I’m currently reading “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk. It is a fascinating account of the body’s relationship with trauma. And very few of us have managed to evade any trauma.
Right now, I have a hot water bottle against my back. It’s feeling tight. Whether this is due to stress or not, I don’t know. But I have learned to listen to it.
Very often, our bodies know we are stressed before we do. We must learn to interpret our body’s language to be more in touch with our emotions.
You know that gut feeling you get in the pit of the stomach as a sense of dread? Well, that’s your body trying to communicate to you. Our bodies are wise beyond our understanding.
A great example of the body and emotions link is when we are hungry or tired. Hunger and tiredness can wreak havoc on our emotions.
Here are two important lessons that might help you:
- If you think everyone hates you, you probably need to sleep.
- If you think you hate everyone, you probably need to eat.
4. Work with a therapist
Ok, I’ll be honest with you here. I have a bit of difficulty feeling my feelings and listening to my emotions. I know they are all there, but it can sometimes feel like I am trying to unravel one big knotted ball of yarn.
Something I have found to be beneficial is through working with a therapist.
She helps me figure out the emotions behind jealousy or anger. She helps me understand why I feel the way I do. And in turn, this helps me show myself greater compassion.
I once even ended a meditation session in a flood of tears. I didn’t feel sad, but the emotions were bubbling up and flowing over me. It was a cathartic process of diving in deep and befriending my emotions. Sometimes they can build up over time if we don’t acknowledge them. This build-up can cause overwhelm and discomfort.
5. Journal every day
We live our lives on autopilot. We rarely stop to tune in and ask ourselves how we feel.
A great way to overcome this is to write. Keeping a journal helps us develop our self-reflection skills. It encourages us to ask ourselves, “how am I feeling” which can lead to a logical follow-up question: “why am I feeling like this?”
The most successful journalling experience I had was during COVID-19. Every day, I wrote down the following:
- 1 thought to let go.
- 2 things to be grateful for.
- 1 thing I wanted to achieve that day.
- 1 kind action, given or received that day.
- The color that best reflected me that day.
If you're looking to start journaling, here's our article that will help you get started.
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Knowing our emotions is a crucial part of our well-being. When we are in touch with our emotions, we have a healthier relationship with ourselves and others. We develop a greater self-compassion, which results in a knock-on effect for the rest of our lives and brings more profound happiness.
What is your favorite tip to be more in touch with your emotions? Do you have any other suggestions? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!