3 Practical Steps to Better Understand Your Emotions

Have you ever been told that what you’re feeling is “all in your head?” Well, sister, they’re not wrong.

By definition, an emotion is an “instinctive state of mind or a conscious mental reaction directly related to one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships.” So, heck yeah, it’s in your head. Those suckers are bred, born, and raised there. 

Have you ever thought about your emotions and the significant impact they have on your quality of life? 

I get it… not necessarily a popular conversation starter at your local coffee shop or while in the chair of your favorite stylist who is so crafty at concealing those silver medallions you worked so hard to earn. 

Here’s the deal…

What you understand and believe about your emotions can change your life. 

I have actually spent a little time (ok, a lot) researching and thinking about what it means to truly understand one’s emotional state. Truth is, it affects everything we do in life – marriage, family, relationships, career, etc. This makes so much sense and is so freakin’ intriguing to me.

When you understand that your emotions can be helpful and even changed, it is much easier to recover from an emotional upset. You are also less likely to fall into the pits of depression and anxiety. 

Sister, I call that winning at life. 

Knowing how to cope with your emotions is the key to maneuvering and manhandling real life. The first step toward doing that is being able to name your emotions – the smart people call it labeling

Sounds easy, right? Welllllllllll, not necessarily.  

It’s hard to identify the exact emotion you are feeling because most of the time the obvious label isn’t necessarily the most accurate description. 

There are some logical explanations for this. 

  • Culture has convinced us we must suppress strong emotions. 
  • We have accepted societal “rules” against expressing them. 
  • We don’t have an appropriate vocabulary that accurately describes our emotions. 

If you don’t acknowledge and attempt to understand your emotions, it will take a toll on you physically and mentally.

Whether it is your overall wellbeing, the quality of your relationships, your career performance, or all of the above, there is a high cost associated with avoiding your feelings. 

So, how about some practical steps to help you acknowledge and better understand your emotions? 


Expand your emotional vocabulary

Words are so important. Whenever you experience a strong emotion, call it what it is, sister… but don’t stop there. Once you have identified or “labeled” what you are feeling, think of a couple of words that describe it. I think you will be surprised at the depth of your emotions when you invest the time and energy to understand them. You might even discover a much deeper emotion buried beneath a more obvious one. 


Think about the intensity of your emotion(s)

Common descriptions we use to describe what we’re feeling are basic words like stressed, angry, anxious, happy, excited, etc. What you need to understand is that emotions come in a variety of flavors. It is helpful to consider why you are feeling the way you do. For example, is your anger a result of being annoyed by an inconvenience, resentful of a co-worker’s comment, or bitterness because of your family’s lack of appreciation for you? 

Once you have identified the emotional trigger, determine the strength of the emotion you are feeling. This may change the words you use to describe what you’re feeling.


Write it down

Whether you’re in the midst of some emotional turmoil, a big transition, or a good ol’ fashion crappy experience, take some time to reflect on your feelings by writing it all down. Set a timer for 20 minutes and record everything that comes to mind about what you’re feeling. Don’t worry about making it perfect, sister… just write. This will help you better understand what you are feeling and equip you to respond in a more constructive way. 

Have you discovered effective ways that help you better understand your emotions? If so, I would love for you to share your tips with us in our Facebook community. You can do so in the comments of today’s post. Come on over and share your goodness with us.

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