Learn to recognize emotions. This way you’ll know how to fix them. Can you distinguish anger from fear? People are not always able to tell what they feel. Some of us constantly feel tired not seeing that it’s depression. Some of us are always irritated thinking that they’re losing control of their life when in fact it’s fear. Apart from depression and fear it can be difficult to distinguish anger, shame or feeling guilty. Have you ever heard of a situation when somebody was feeling sad, tired and did not know what to do when in fact he or she was feeling guilty? It is often shown in movies or books that somebody is feeling guilty after somebody’s death and people tend to mistake it with sadness.
Once you recognize and name emotions it is easier to work on them. You can learn that with „Mind Over Mood. Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think” by Christine A. Padesky and Dennis Greenberger. I highly recommend that book! You can read there that if you have a problem naming your emotions you need to go deep into your body and think what’s hapenning. If you feel tense, your arms’ muscles and/or your neck is tight it can be fear or irritation; general heaviness can mean bad mood or disappointment.
Our body’s reactions often tell us what we feel. People often mistake their fear with anger as symptons and body reactions (screaming, sweating etc.) are similar. If you learn to recognize your emotions it will be easier for you to control it. When you divide what’s making you angry and what makes you scared, you can focus better on a specific problem and work on it (i’ll tell you how to work with fear or anger in some time). Focus what thoughts come to your mind when you’re feeling angry or scared. Usually when people are scared they tend to think that they’re losing control, that they don’t know what’s gonna happen next. With anger it’s usually „it’s not fair, i deserve more than that!” etc.
You need to learn not only to differ one emotion from another but also to differ emotions from thoughts. Lets say somebody asks you how do you feel and you say „i wanna go home”. It’s a thought, not an emotion. What is the emotion? Perhaps you’re sad? Why?
People think „They don’t need me” when in fact it can be out of fear, not sadness.
Have you ever had to give a presentation at school or work but you didn’t want to do it? Was it because you were ashamed? No. People usually don’t want to give out speeches because they’re scared. They tend to think what other people will think, they tend to imagine that audience will laugh etc. It’s fear, not shame, and once you know it you can work on it. Instead of imagining people laughing, try to visualize that they’re all smiling and applausing. Isn’t it easier to go on stage now?
Don’t confuse emotions with thoughts .With thoughts you can change your emotions!
Usually emotion can be named with 1 or 2 words (sad, angry, ashamed) whereas thoughts are couple words or an image (like audience laughing).
It is very important to learn to differ thoughts, emotions, behaviours and reactions. This was we can consider wchich areas of experience we can change to make us feel better. To be happy! 🙂
Can you name two different situations, one when you were scared and one when you were angry? What were your thoughts then?