Processing Your Feelings for Improved Emotional Health
For most of us, processing our emotions is not a natural or instinctual activity. Our culture places a high value on rational thought and analysis and little worth on feelings. So, we do not teach our children healthy and productive ways to process emotions, which leads to adults who cannot deal with how they are feeling in a healthy way.
The more you ignore or distract yourself from your emotions, though, the worse you will feel. When you fail to process your feelings, they will make themselves known in other ways. They manifest as general anxiety, health problems, mood disorders, despair, and other negative outcomes that can affect your mental and physical health over time.
Allowing yourself to experience and process your genuine emotions has many benefits. Here are just three of the crucial reasons why you owe it to yourself to start processing your feelings.
#1. Numbing one emotion numbs them all.
When you avoid some emotions, you create barriers that lessen all your feelings, including the positive ones. So, trying to feel less pain also translates into feeling less joy. When you allow yourself to feel sadness or pain, you open yourself up to feeling real happiness, as well.
To be human is to accept that all these emotions are part of who we are and are necessary for our growth. By ignoring the negative parts of our emotional health, we endanger the positive aspects, too.
#2. Struggle is unnecessary and just creates more hurt.
Here’s the deal. You will never be able to avoid your feelings successfully. They will find a way to release and be heard. And the more you resist and struggle, the worse you will feel and the longer your pain will last. If you allow yourself to experience these emotions and learn to process them effectively, your hurt will be brief and productive, rather than long and pointless.
#3. Your emotions are filled with valuable information that could teach you something.
When you experience a strong reaction or feel a lingering emotion, this is your mind’s way of telling you something. “Hey, look over here!” When you notice these, instead of ignoring them, your reaction is more much productive when you choose to pay attention and listen.
Perhaps you could learn about an unmet need in your life or be reminded of a passion you had forgotten. Emotions tell us crucial information about ourselves and others, so stop ignoring and start listening.
Tips for Processing Your Feelings
If you want to get in touch with and learn to process your feelings, the first step is learning to identify and name your emotions. Meditation and mindfulness exercises are helpful in this step, as they teach you to stop and think about what it is you are feeling. Listen to your body and your mind. Ignore distractions and focus on what you are feeling.
Ask yourself why you feel this way. Identifying the source of your emotions as well as how they make you feel physically is essential. Accept that this feeling is necessary for your life right now and you must endure it to learn from it. What can this emotion teach you? Become curious about the nature of your feelings, and you will learn a lot from them.
After you confront your emotions and are honest with yourself about why this is appearing in your life, release it. Let it go once it is done teaching you its valuable lessons. You have felt it, and you are ready to move on, so let it go. Then, you can be at peace and stop struggling with these intense feelings that have been plaguing you.