“Your emotions make you human. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose. Don’t lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier.” – Sabaa Tahir, ‘A Torch Against the Night’
Emotions are present and vitally important. They help us to decode our values, to motivate us and to release tension. Every emotion has a use, a reason and a purpose.
We are often able to attribute our emotions to their cause; we usually know exactly why we are happy, sad, elated, angry, excited or depressed. However, even the most reflective of us will recognise that sometimes our emotions are a mystery. You may sometimes find yourself to be over sensitive, hyper emotional or feeling like anger or sadness is bubbling inside you without being able to fully explain it. These emotional states are often not a reaction to a specific event, but rather are down an underlying source which might not be completely obvious.
Emotions are healthy, it is when they are not acknowledged or understood that they can become problematic. It is imperative to wellbeing and general mental health to be mindful of why we feel the way we feel, and how to address their causes.
Here are some of the reasons you might be feeling emotional, and what to do about them…
Let’s start off with an obvious one! We all know that stress can make us emotional and short-tempered. However, sometimes, and I have certainly found this, we are too busy thundering through our busy lives without taking a breath that we don’t even notice that we have too much on our plate. If you are feeling overloaded, perhaps it is time to take a look at you schedule. Are there some tasks or responsibilities that you can offload? Can you put aside some time to unwind? Even half an hour a day to be quiet, read a book or have a bath can make all the difference to your stress levels.
Lack of sleep can have a huge impact on your emotions. Getting a good night’s sleep can dramatically change your mood, as well as your energy, resilience and productivity. Lack of sleep can be down to a number of things; too much on your mind, an irregular bedtime routine or too much screen time. For thoughts on how to get a great night’s sleep, check out our post from a couple of weeks ago: How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep
3. Lack of Activity
Exercise and activity has been proven to be an excellent emotional regulator. Not only does activity make you feel better about yourself, it also releases endorphins and gives you some quality time to let your mind wander, to get your head clear. Exercise needn’t be heavy, even just a daily stroll can have a huge positive impact.
4. Supressed Feelings
There is still a lot of stigma around showing emotion. Being mindful and open with our feelings is not always celebrated, and is still unacceptable among many communities. Burying emotions is a really good way to fill your body with tension, stress, anger and sadness. Getting in touch with your emotions is healthy. Digging deep and facing these emotions, and their causes, may not always be easy, but it is hugely beneficial for your happiness and mental health in the long run.
Take some time. Look inside yourself. Talk to someone. Unpack. Is there anything inside you that needs addressing? Do the work here. It may be the difference between the positive, functional and productive ‘You’, and the downtrodden and permanently emotionally damaged ‘You’.
5. Big Changes
Has something big happened in your life recently? If it has, have you acknowledged it and its size? Big changes such as moving house, changing jobs, losing a loved one or having a baby are some examples of these. I know that, in the past, I have had big things going on in my life and shrugged them off as if they are no big deal. Big changes deserve to be given weight and focus. Shrugging them off for some sense of pride or for the optics of seeming like ‘you got this’ can be damaging. It is OK to have a lot going on. Acknowledge the big things going on in your life.
Grief itself constitutes a huge change. The odd thing with grief, especially if it is a new emotion for you, is that everybody reacts differently to it; you may not be feeling the way you think you are supposed to feel. Grief, I have found, is better shared than hidden. It is something that never really leaves you, more something that you have to learn to deal with. Again, you have to give grief time out in the open and attribute appropriate gravity to it; it cannot be hidden or quickly willed away. Be as open with it as you can.
Emotions and food have a special connection. Food can make you feel happy. It can comfort you. Food helps us to celebrate and to show love. However, an imbalanced diet can also play havoc with the chemicals inside our bodies. Mental health can be severely effected by poor dietary choices. So, if you are feeling down and don’t know why, why not take a step back and have a look at how you are eating.
By Chris Thomson
Little daily worries can also niggle away at your emotions. Here are a few thoughts on how to treat them in a mindful and conscious way… Mindfulness and Meditation Tips to Defuse Day-To-Day Worries
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