Emotional Awareness begins with becoming aware that:
1) We are in fact in the grip of an emotion,
2) The world we see through the lens of that emotion may not be the world as it really is and
3) Because we may not be seeing clearly, the emotion has the power to limit our awareness as well as our freedom of choice and action. It can lead us into doing things we later regret.
How do we recognize emotions?
We can begin with the body which is where emotions are felt. Love is a glow around the heart. Anger is often experienced in the abdomen. Anxiety can be centered around the chest area. But these are just the eye of the storm. The chemicals associated with emotion permeate our whole body – they run down our arms and legs, they stiffen our muscles and cause our minds to race.
Wherever our emotions come from, we can generally recognize them through their bodily expressions:
- If we feel like we’re moving through glue and find it hard to get up in the morning, we may be feeling intense sadness or depression.
- If we want to lash out with fists or words, we’re likely experiencing anger.
- If we have difficulty breathing (and do not suffering from asthma or other physical/respiratory illness) we could be feeling fear.
- If we want to jump and skip, dance or sing, we are likely feeling happy.
- If we are running a scenario that has not yet occurred over and over again in our mind, we may be feeling worried or fearful.
- If that scenario has already occurred, we may be feeling shame, embarrassment, anger, regret.
The next step is to identify the emotion by name. If you have difficulty identifying and naming your emotions, here are some links that can help:
For a list of the most common human emotions, click here.
For a list of emotions that are linked to each other, click here.