Our everyday lives tend to be dominated by different emotions. We make choices based on how happy, angry, sad, bored, or irritated we are. We choose activities and hobbies on the basis of how they make us feel. Most importantly, we deal with challenging situations with greater ease if we can grasp our emotions. Mindletic psychologist Agnė Žvikaitė talks about emotions and why tracking is important.
Agnė started to gather experience as a student by volunteering in the emotional support line. She is counselling since 2016, with a special focus on emotional and anxiety disorders, interpersonal relationships, and self-esteem. She also leads trainings and therapy groups. She is using science-based methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness.
Imagine a person who has been fired. What emotions would one experience? Will one be sad? Angry? Disappointed? Or maybe happy? All emotions are possible and it depends on a person. It is not because of the events, but our thoughts or interpretations cause the way we feel. One person might think, ‘Now I lost everything, this is a disaster, and I am a loser,’ and feel sadness, shame. Another person might think, ‘I will never forgive that stupid boss, he is so selfish, and this is not fair, I worked so hard!’ and feel anger. And then one might think, ‘Wow, what a great opportunity to explore and to find what I like to do,’ and feel joy. It all comes down to people’s core beliefs about themselves, about others, and the world. They are developed throughout life, but mostly in our childhood. This is derived from the cognitive-behavioral model and therapy, based on plenty of scientific research. This model claims that not the events but our thoughts about those events cause how we feel.
Let’s say you want to be a good sales manager. First, you need to know the sales and business environment and develop the necessary communication, negotiation, and planning skills. It is similar to emotion management. If you want to manage them, first, you need to get to know your emotions well. When a child is growing up, he is curious. A child is exploring, crawling, putting things into the mouth – this the way he is getting to know the world. At the age of 3-4, the main question the child has is Why? If we want to manage our emotions, we need to become curious about them like children about the world.
Awareness is the first step. Everything in our body, all the organs, and cells have its functions. Emotions are the same – they help us survive. Secondly, it’s good to ask yourself, ‘What is this emotion telling me?’. You may feel angry because you feel unsafe or feel lonely because you need a connection. Once we understand our needs, it becomes clear what to do.
The great thing is that we can think about our thinking and change our thoughts, which will change how we feel. If you still feel emotions are too overwhelming and you don’t understand them, I suggest finding a psychologist or psychotherapist to talk to.
If you feel pain in your neck, is it better to ignore it or see the doctor? If I ignore the neck pain, it will not solve the problem. It might worsen with time. The same is with emotions; if we suppress them, it won’t solve problems. Unfortunately, we learned to ignore and suppress emotions for different reasons. Emotions are good because we need all of them. Fear tells us to escape dangerous situations; anger rushes us to protect ourselves; sadness points to us losing something important. Emotions help us to recognize what is important to us, what we like or dislike. Therefore, we should embrace all emotions.
Emotion tracking is the ability to measure and evaluate the emotional state across a period. By recording snapshots of your emotional state, you can have insight for yourself or others, such as therapists, to help you reflect better…
Detecting how you feel in certain situations can be a huge help in improving your mental health. Many times I hear from people, ‘I am sad, and I don’t know why. But there is always a reason. Emotion tracking is a brilliant first step tool to discover what lies behind your emotion. Once we know the reasons for certain emotions, we can look for solutions. If you want to understand yourself even better, I suggest tracking feelings and thoughts, body sensations, and behavior. If you do that, it could be an eye-opening experience. You will understand how much your thoughts and behavior influence your emotions.
I will answer it – listen & ask. These two skills are excellent in any communication situation. How do you feel when someone is carefully listening, looking directly into you, asking questions to understand you? And how do you feel when someone interrupts you to give advice, you didn’t ask? To provide full attention to someone might be challenging but very rewarding in terms of relationship quality. Giving your full attention, listening, and accepting what others are saying creates a true and deep connection with another, which is what every person needs. Ask how you might help. We often assume the other wants the same thing we do but bear in mind it might be different. Maybe the other needs to talk and to be heard; perhaps some space, or someone to encourage her/him to go out for a walk. The only way to know is not to assume but ask directly.
Let’s not judge or punish ourselves for the emotions we experience. Look at these experiences with compassion and curiosity. Embrace the feelings you have – they are the gateway to our inner world, our needs, and more fulfilling life.
Want to learn more about the importance of emotion tracking and its impact on well-being? Reach out to our team and get a free consultation now.