12 Sep Importance of Identifying Your Feelings
Have you ever felt obligated to say you’re feeling “great” when someone asks you how you’re doing — even though you’re really upset, sad, or just feeling “blah”? Or have you been feeling “off” lately, but you can’t quite figure out what exactly is making you not feel like yourself?
We all know what it’s like to hide how we’re really feeling inside. It’s completely normal to periodically pretend we’re doing well emotionally when we’re not ready to talk about difficult topics or situations we’re going through.
But sometimes avoiding our feelings and building up walls around our emotional pain can only lead to other significant problems, such as problems with our physical health. That’s why it’s so important for us to be able to identify what we’re feeling in specific terms: so we can find solutions and get back to feeling more like our authentic selves.
Avoidance & Physical Pain
Our nervous system is a central piece to both our emotional and physical selves. It’s there to kick in our survival instincts (think: “fight or flight” mode) when we experience trauma, fear, or pain.
While we should be grateful for it, sometimes our nervous system can trigger tension build-ups in our body, such as the head, neck, shoulders, or back — even when we aren’t actually in any physical danger, or without us even recognizing what’s happening.
When we get upset, depressed, angry, anxious, or stressed about what’s going on in our relationships, careers, or life in general, our emotions impact our bodies. Our hearts race, we sweat, we cry, our muscles tighten. And if we don’t address how we’re feeling emotionally, we can unintentionally extend and worsen our physical pain.
Self-Awareness as a Healing Process
If you’ve had any lingering soreness, tension, or other mysterious physical ailments that you can’t seem to heal, is it possible you haven’t been acknowledging how you feel about something in your past?
Maybe you prevented yourself from feeling certain emotions at the time, or you couldn’t find the right words to describe what you were going through — and that’s okay. But now is your chance to move forward with your life in a way that feels freeing, hopeful, and pain-free.
Learning how to identify your feelings is a process: it can take a lot of time and practice. One of the first key steps to become more self-aware of your emotions is through what psychologists call labeling.
Understanding How We Feel with Specifics
Instead of resorting to the usual descriptive words like sad, stressed, angry, or happy, we can discover better ways of understanding exactly how we feel by finding words that are more accurate and labeling our emotions accordingly.
Here’s a great list of examples to consider when you’re trying to determine what you’re feeling:
Credit: Harvard Business Review
Whether you practice labeling your feelings on your own, with a friend, a life coach, or someone else you trust, work on getting in the habit of being more specific. Or you might try looking back on various experiences in your life, identifying the most accurate words to describe how you felt in those moments, and writing them down.
As you begin to narrow your definition of your emotions, you can also try to associate these words with specific areas of the body that may feel affected during those moments. For example, when you felt worried or anxious, did your entire body tense up and your heart rate increase? Identifying your physical reactions with feeling can help you become more connected with your body and learn to associate feelings with physicality as well.
These exercises can be very therapeutic, and may even release some of the pain and tension you’ve been holding onto physically. Get in the habit of associating your emotions with your body’s reactions as they occur. This allows you to step outside of your reactions and observe yourself objectively; doing so will allow you to start taking charge of your emotions rather than letting them control you.
Beyond Labeling: Rewriting the Story
Labeling your emotions is a great first step, but it’s not the end of your healing process. It’s important to go beyond simply acknowledging how you’re feeling, but then look at the situation again and find the good in it.
How can you turn a story around and make it a positive one? What might you have learned — about others, the world, yourself? How might you choose a different reaction in the future?
To help you think about these situations in a new light, consider reading the book Loving What Is: 4 Questions that Can Change Your Life. This book is all about learning how to change your perception, your reaction, and learning to change how you react to the things that “happen” to you in life. It’s about the stories we tell ourselves about the things that happen and the things people “do” to us, as well as how to change those stories into ones that are empowering rather than victimizing.
Work with an Energy Healer
In our chiropractic and reiki healing sessions at LunaVox, we pay close attention to chakras and the energetic system at large so that we can notice any areas where the energy feels stagnant, “stuck” or blocked and better help our patients heal.
If you want to learn more about our in-office chiropractic and reiki sessions or our distance healing package, reach out to us today to take the next step in your healing journey!