Why Understanding Emotions is Important
I just read a blog posting that started by asking, in the next 30 seconds name all the emotions you’ve been feeling over the last day. The posting then went on to say that according to a study of more than 7000 adults who were asked a similar question, they were only able to name 3 emotions on average. Guess which 3 emotions were named? Yep, happy, sad and angry, pretty basic, I’d say.
Hmmmm, where do I begin to address this! Emotions matter. How we feel matters, for better or for worse. And having a repertoire of only three emotions or believing you have a repertoire of only three emotions makes life very limited. Our emotions impact our decisions, our health, our relationships, whether we pursue our goals or not, our emotions impact every facet of our lives. Not being able to name more than three emotions is a big problem.
If you can’t name it you can’t tame it, much less process it. You might be feeling a certain way but if you don’t know what the emotion is called how do you recognize it much less deal with it. By processing emotions I mean naming it, feeling it and dealing with it (in a productive way). Processing emotions is important because theory goes if you don’t process your emotions they impact mental and physical health. I contend that being able to name and process emotions is important because otherwise these emotions (especially the negative ones) manifest themselves in counter productive behaviors.
Starting today what can you do differently to know your emotions. One simple way to become more familiar with what you are feeling is by learning the names of all the different emotions. If you go online you can find lists of emotions, both positive and negative ones – print that list and put it somewhere visible. Check in with yourself periodically, ask yourself how you are feeling, use the list to name the emotion. And last but not least acknowledge the uncomfortable emotions.