Mindfulness in Emotions

The last post of the 4 part Mindfulness for Beginners series is upon us! Last week I covered 5 tips to bring mindfulness into your movement and exercise, and before that, 4 ways to bring mindfulness into your relationships. 

For this final post we’re going deep and exploring how mindfulness can help you deal with high emotions, especially negative ones.

Emotional awareness – or, emotional intelligence – is the skill of recognizing and understanding your personal various emotions and the impact they have on your mood and behavior. Mindfulness is key to healthy emotional awareness, and practicing the following steps will help deepen your own emotional intelligence.

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  1. Feel the feelings – When you’re aware something has stirred uncomfortable emotions, it may be tempting to ignore them, to push them away. Instead, when you have a reaction to something, pay attention to what your body is telling you. Let yourself sit for a moment with the uncomfortable feeling and let it run it’s course while noticing the thoughts it brings about.
  2. Pinpoint the feeling – It’s easy to categorize a feeling as “mad” and “happy”, but there are a huge range of emotions that give you insight into your personality and behaviors. Some examples; jealous, anxious, cautious, nervous, hurt, nervous excitement, fear, calm, shy, embarrassed. When you get that rush of emotion, and are sitting with it, try to pinpoint exactly what the feeling is.
  3. Search for the source – This can come hand in hand with pinpointing the feeling. Here, you are investigating what brought the emotion on, really getting to the root cause of it. An example; you’re secretly hoping the networking event you RSVP’d to will be canceled, even though you know it will be a good opportunity to build connections. The easy excuse would be that you don’t want to go anywhere and would rather stay home, however if you dig a little deeper you may discover that you’re not confident with your networking skills, or perhaps large groups make you uncomfortable.
  4. Learn from the emotion – Both step 3 and step 4 may take a little while to uncover. Sometimes it will be instant, and other times it will come to you in the following days and interactions. Learning from your emotions is learning about yourself. Maybe you’re more of an introvert than you recognized, and when you don’t get time to yourself you find that you get irritated easily. Or, when you don’t get enough details about something, you get anxious. In the future you can use this knowledge to pull yourself out of a negative space.

We are meant to experience a broad range of emotions as they arise, stay for a while, and fade away. Being mindful of what they are and why they pop up can help us work through them in a healthy place instead of ignoring what they tell us about ourselves. When you’re emotionally aware, you are in a better position to respond in stressful situations and will find that strong emotions don’t throw you as intensely or for as long.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Mindfulness for Beginners series and have a clear understanding of where to start. Please share in the comments what actions you have started using and what you discovered!

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