Lee A Edwards, PhD

Psychologist, Austin Texas

Emotions - Awareness

Why Be In Touch With Your Emotions?

Two main reasons. One is that you can handle the difficult emotions (anger, sadness, fear, etc.) much, much, much better if you're very aware of them. For example if you know you're walking in the door at night feeling irritable, you can do these things:

* Let your partner know, so s/he can know not to take your grumpiness very personally.

* Take responsibility for your mood, so you don't blame your partner (or the dog or...) for your being irritated when things don't go perfectly that evening.

* Start to remedy the irritation.

The only way you can do any of those extremely helpful things is if you're aware that you're irritable to begin with.

The second reason is that your life will feel bigger, fuller, more vivid if you're in touch with your feelings. Putting it the other way: if you're out of touch with your feelings, your life feels duller, flatter...just less alive.

How To Become Aware Of Your Emotions

There are several ways. Just find the one/s that work/s for you, even if it's hard to get directly to, "I'm feeling sad."

* Body. Anger may feel like tension in your jaw. Sadness may feel like a weight on your chest. Peace may feel like all your muscles relaxing. Anxiety (fear) may feel like muscle tension or a need to twitch some part of your body. So, notice the sensation, then check in with yourself about whether you're feeling the emotion that typically goes with that sensation.

* Words. You may have patterns of speech that you use with emotions. Anger may sound like a lot of, "You always...." Hurt may sound like, "Why did you have to...."

* Thoughts. These are different for each person, but here are some examples. Fear: "Where's the door?" Depression (sadness + hopelessness): "It won't make any difference if I...."

So, how do you deal with the difficult emotions? I'll assume that happiness--peace and joy--doesn't need "dealing with" and focus on the difficult ones--anger, sadnessfear and hurt. Click on the links in the sentence above to read about dealing well with each of the difficult emotions. Hope it goes well! Lee



South Austin Psychologist
(512) 694-1322
4403 Manchaca Rd, Suite A, South Austin Texas 78745