Emotions are sensations that the body feels, in response to things that happen in our external environment. Emotions include positive feelings like love and happiness, and what is usually classified as negative feelings such as anger and anxiety. When we are born these base emotions have already been wired into our brains, They then respond to our wants and desires and to external stimuli based on the events that we experience.
Why emotions are an important part of us
As human beings, we are born with emotions and feelings. When a child is born, the first thing they do is start crying, making their presence felt by communicating with us. While a child cannot talk they are already communicating their wants by crying when hungry or being uncomfortable when pooing. When we give a child a bath, he or she feels the water and cries. Mother is the closest to the child and learns to understand the child and through the communication of feelings, knows and learns the best way to look after the child.
Roles of emotions in life
Emotions help us to communicate our feelings to others
Emotions help us to communicate our feelings to others and help us get along with family and friends.
When we meet our close family members after a long time, we feel elated and are so happy meeting them. We experience a jolt of love towards them and become prepared to do all to make them feel comfortable. And we actually enjoy doing it.
Imagine what would happen if we were emotionless? Would we be able to connect with each other, and form strong bonds? It is the emotion of love between two people which allows them to create a life together. The emotion of love is so strong that it allows them to sacrifice for each other, and often put the other person well being before their own.
Emotions help us to move forward and act
When we write an exam, we get worried and anxious about whether we will do well or not. It is this action of worry and anxiety that makes us study and prepare for our exams. If we didn’t feel anxiety or stress, we would always choose to do something fun instead of the responsible thing. The emotion of anxiety is functional because it almost forces us to do responsible things that we wouldn’t otherwise want to.
Sometimes we sense something is wrong and begin to feel scared. The emotion of fear warns us that there is danger ahead, and we should be cautious. It ensures that we are alert, and ready if something happens. It is what keeps us safe when bad things happen.
Emotions help us make fast decisions
When an emergency comes up somebody is not feeling well it is our emotion that propels us to make quick decisions before things get worse.
When we experience the emotion of fear, our brain knows that it needs to react quickly, and so our brain immediately releases chemicals like adrenaline. and norepinephrine, which pushes our body to take immediate action. And to stop overthinking so much.
When your heart beats faster, and your hands become clammy, it’s because your body has released chemicals to help you be more alert. Sometimes we misinterpret these emotions as a panic attack, when in fact it is just chemicals being released in our body because our brains think we need additional help.
Relationship between emotions and thoughts
Emotions and thoughts are experienced along with one other. While our thoughts and emotions each have their own distinct character, they are also intertwined.
If you pay attention to your emotions and observe them, you will realize those thoughts cause you to feel emotions and in turn, when we feel emotions, we automatically think about them to try and resolve them.
Imagine something happens, that triggers the emotion of worry or stress in your body. As soon as you feel the emotion of worry, you will begin to think about it and try to rationalize it. The problem is the more you think about what caused you to worry in the first place, the more you will feel the emotion of worry.
This is what sends us down emotional spirals. We get stuck in this cycle of thinking and feeling our emotions.
Emotional Coping Skills
Fortunately, there are ways to cope with our emotions and thoughts which we will discuss below.
Is it fine to have emotions and be emotional?
It is healthy to be in touch with your emotions. Being aware and getting in touch with your emotion gives us the ability to cope with life. We need emotions to carry on our daily life and they play a crucial role in our well-being.
Unfortunately, they can also overwhelm us since we as humans are dealing with a lot of past baggage, along with current stressors. Therefore if we don’t know how to regulate our emotions, we can suffer from emotional disorders, which in turn can cause health problems. Learning to manage emotions is therefore something important to learn and be aware of.
How to cope with your emotions
Meditation is a good way to quiet your thoughts and notice what you are feeling. Here you are sitting with yourself and getting to know and being in touch with yourself. Meditation should be incorporated into your routine daily; it is good to have an early morning practice. If you can’t do that then any time will do but make it a habit as it helps your emotional well-being.
Meditation also helps you stay in the present, as opposed to getting caught up in your thoughts. So when you do get stuck in an emotional trigger circle, you have experience with staying in the present, as opposed to allowing your thoughts to take over.
Watch your thoughts
Take notice of your self-talk, and watch what are you saying to yourself. Our brains have a negativity bias, which is why we tend to think more negatively.
Start noticing what you are thinking and feeling. Once we realize what thoughts are triggering our emotions, we have the power to change them.
When we are going for an exam, even if we are prepared, we start getting negative thoughts which start causing anxiety and worry. All of which can affect how we actually answer the exam questions. The good news is we can change our thoughts and thus manage our anxiety.
Focus on your breath which will calm you and change your negative thoughts. Tell yourself “I am prepared, I will do my best and I can do it and will do well and will not worry about the outcome” and have trust.
Many people get so anxious they know their stuff well but anxiety prevents them from performing well. Positive self-talk can change your thoughts so that you feel less anxious before an exam.
Connect with nature
Going out to parks and waterfront to relax and unwind after a long time of working helps us to destress.
The surrounding trees and flowers give us a feeling of peace and good oxygen, get out take advantage of the good weather and enjoy.
Remember connecting with nature, looking at flowers, and listening to the sound of birds can give you peace. And even more importantly it has been found to clear your brain and help you stop thinking so much.
Connection with people, family, and friends is vital for our mental well-being, and emotional regulation.
Many times we are having difficult emotions and just being with them and talking to other people makes us feel lighter and gives us emotional support. We started connecting virtually a lot after covid, and we hear a lot about people having mental and emotional problems.
Connecting in person connects us with the energy and aura of the person, which gives us a way to know each other with emotional connection. When we see each other, we hug we relate to each other better and come to know what the other is feeling.
We also learn a lot from different people and talking to them gives us an opportunity to learn about their point of view and their ability to manage things. They may give us a solution to problems we have not thought of.
Purpose in life
Find something to do that gives you meaning in your life. Something which allows you to make a difference in other people’s life. Research has found that spending money on other people, actually makes you happier than when you spend it on yourself.
You can do something simple like taking care of the elderly in your family, taking them to doctors, and looking after their needs. or volunteering and helping others.
At the same time, it is necessary to remember to look after your own well-being and not overdo it. Sometimes we get stressed by looking after other people’s needs, and again we need a break to go and enjoy ourselves with our friends.
Emotions in your life
Emotions are always there with us, they may be overwhelming, stressful, joyful, and confusing. They can cause you to react without thinking, and in ways, you don’t want to. Anger can suddenly arise, and make you yell, or anxiety can cause you to freeze, instead of taking action. Therefore, it is very important to understand and be in touch with our emotions so we can work with them.
If you need help to deal with your emotions, ask for it. Read up and find out how to regulate your emotions further. This article provides you with a basic awareness of how to handle your emotions. There is so much more to learn about emotions. You will find many articles and videos to help you. Be proactive and help yourself.