How to manage your emotions?

Which do you think is better: repressing or accepting your emotions?

That is THE question !

Suppressing your emotions can be a bad habit. Apart from the consequences which can be physical, repressing or refusing one's emotions and feelings is very negative. It cuts off some of the information human beings may need to live better and know what feels good, what they need.

And always express them ? Yes, always express them? This does not always mean that we must constantly express them, but at least become aware of them. Naming your emotions allows you to better understand your reactions and those of others and therefore, subsequently, to manage them in a more appropriate way.

Suppressing your emotions may come from education. As a child, when we express certain feelings, we may be rebuked or even reprimanded: jealousy, anger can be punished.

When a child shows his anger, adults may tell him that he is "mean" instead of sometimes trying to figure out why he feels this emotion or has done this. The child then understands that it is “bad” when he expresses his anger and confuses his intrinsic worth and a behaviour designated as blameworthy (yelling or hitting his brother / sister and / or breaking his toys).

Love can even lead to a certain withdrawal. If the parents are not demonstrative towards each other, the child will understand that he should not show his feelings, even when they are positive. This same child, later grown up, may have a hard time saying “I love you” to their partner.

The other possible reason for not showing our emotions is that the emotions can make people do stupid things because they are considered illogical. Nevertheless, reason and feelings are equally important in everyday life. Emotions give us clues about what we need and want, what we like and dislike, and help us make important decisions, for which logical reasoning would be of no use. Cutting yourself off from your emotions is like cutting yourself off from a part of yourself.

Of course, sometimes the emotions are so strong, instinctual in relation to a situation that they dictate our behaviour: there is no reflection, just action. For example, a fleeing response to a strong emotion of fear. However, these are situations that are quite rare that are more experienced as emergencies.

Sometimes emotions explode if they weren't heard enough. It suddenly bursts to everyone's surprise, to the person herself who could not take it anymore and to those around her ...

Behind an emotion , is the expression of a need which was highlighted by Maslow in particular with his pyramid. He is an American psychologist considered to be the father of the humanist approach . He is known for his explanation of motivation by the hierarchy of needs , often represented in the form of a pyramid. It identifies five levels of needs:

1. At the base, physiological needs (such as hunger, thirst)

2. Then there are security and protection needs (such as the desire for a roof or good insurance). These two aspects ensure the physical survival of a person

3. Then the needs to belong (social needs) which reflect the desire to be part of a family, a group, a tribe

4. Then the needs for self-esteem (which allow you to look in the mirror in the morning) to feed the psychological needs;

5. Finally, at the top of the hierarchy, the needs to be fulfilled .

Accepting its feelings means taking your needs into account. And taking your needs into account helps increase your confidence and self-esteem. Indeed, how to build one self-esteem if one has access to only one part of oneself, reason? How to value yourself if you repress your emotions, your feelings? Self-esteem is, above all, knowing yourself, what you feel, your needs. If you suppress your emotions, it's impossible to know what you need. So, we can conclude that it is better to learn to spot and name what we need.

Thinking about what we feel means taking a step back from certain situations that may overtake us. Saying "I'm angry" is different from directly punching and it's more constructive. This intellectualizes the emotion and makes it less vivid in oneself.

Living with your emotions

Emotions are a precious indicator, the reflection of our thoughts, the consequence of our very thoughts. By paying attention to it, it is possible to know if it is agreeable or not for us.

Thoughts that are unpleasant or that we do not want will generate negative emotions with an unpleasant feeling. Feeling negative is not "negative in itself" because what matters is the message sent. Nevertheless, negative emotions are more repressed than positive ones. Thus, some negative emotions can cause pain and they are rejected. What if they were instead analysed?

When a person feels sad, they rather wait until they are alone before letting go. But expressing your emotions allows you to understand and face them. It is certainly not easy to put words into feeling, but saying it is the best way to recognize the emotions.

What has been shown is that human beings experience their emotions and that they are “right in it”. Taking a step back is not easy. To understand what is happening in yourself, it is important to say how you feel because this allows you to recognize your emotions.

Painful emotions indicate that something is wrong. When the suffering is unbearable, emotions prompt action and they are useful. In addition, positive emotions can transport us. Thus, enthusiasm allows to go to the end of a project.

Better manage your emotions… how to do it concretely?

The easiest way is to start expressing what it feels like during the day, when nothing special happens. For that, you already have to have this will, this hindsight: just ask yourself how do you feel. If it's calm, it might be good to think about it: “Here, how am I feeling? ". And in the street if we walk briskly while whistling, what does that mean? : "Hey, I'm happy" What if we sing in the shower? what does that say about this emotion in the moment?

Training to decipher your emotions is a great exercise in understanding what an event triggers in you.

An unpleasant emotion is a signal that something must change, must move. Stop and clarify what is going on in yourself, try to understand and know what you want or at least ask yourself the question. In light of the answer, if there is one, action is possible.

The common denominator is to slow down when emotions come, to understand them. Because an emotion is tenacious = if one does not understand its message, it will return until it is seized and it can return in a more violent way. Emotions grow on the path to development. They help us improve. We can evolve thanks to the emotions that are recognized.

Once you have got used to identifying your emotions, cultivating those that do good can be a good way to go rather than letting yourself be overwhelmed by the ones that cause pain. Positive psychology, meditation, sophrology, coaching are methods that I use and which allow a return to oneself, on its sensations and its feelings and therefore its emotions.

But, that story will be coming up in an article or in one of my workshops… ☺

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Emmanuelle Bottreau

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Rennes - Nouvoitou - Fougères