Do you listen to your emotions?

by | Sep 29, 2014 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Emotions usually send a message. Negative emotions tell us to make a change. Depression tells us to let go of something we have lost, for example a person, a hope, or an ability. Anxiety tells us that something might go wrong, so it is time to prevent that from happening, to brace for the bad event, or to accept the uncertainty of life. Anger usually tells us that someone has blocked us from a goal and we need to try harder, work on another goal, or become wary of the person who has blocked us. Joy tells us that we are doing something we like — something to do again sooner rather than later. Experiencing different emotions helps us feel acutely alive.

I go through rapidly changing emotions when I play sports — the thrill of doing something well and the disappointment of doing something poorly. The emotions help guide whether I do this or that in later play. The emotions also help motivate me to try hard.

I am writing about the potential value of emotions because many individuals experience strong negative emotions without seeing the value of the emotions. Emotional intelligence, which I study, includes as one aspect using one’s own emotions for benefit. The best way to do that is to become aware of the emotions, to look for the message, and to put that information to good use. It helps to look at the emotion as objectively as possible — something that is easier to do after the emotion has passed.

What messages have your emotions sent you lately? How did you respond?

John Malouff, PhD, Assoc Prof of Psychology


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