Learning to Recognize Your Emotions 

Emotions are not something people think about very often. In fact, sometimes people become so far removed from thinking about their emotions they have difficulty identifying how they are feeling. Learning how to identify your feelings can help you regulate your emotions and your reactions, which can be helpful to your relationship.

Sometimes people can’t think of very many feeling words besides happy and sad. It isn’t important to know them all, but there are hundreds of positive and negative emotions. Sometimes it can be helpful to look up a list of feeling words and keep it handy. Then when you have difficulty recognizing your feelings, you can consult your list.

Often feelings like anger, frustration and resentment mask other emotions. The underlying emotions may include feelings such as hurt, sadness, and embarrassment. When people mask their emotions, they may lash out or treat others in a disrespectful manner.

It’s important to pay attention to the strategies you use to manage feelings that are uncomfortable. When your spouse hurts your feelings what do you do? How do you respond if your spouse offers you criticism? What strategies do you use when you are ashamed or embarrassed? When you feel lonely, what do you do?

Uncomfortable feelings can cause people to behave irrationally. It’s important to examine what sorts of behaviors you exhibit when you feel uncomfortable. Do you ever take it out on your partner? Do you react angrily? Do you deny your feelings? Some people become self-destructive or abusive when they are really upset. Other people depend on drugs or alcohol to help them manage their mood.

Learning healthy coping strategies can be beneficial to your marriage. Are you able to share your feelings? Do you have activities that improve your mood when you are feeling bad? Take a look at the strategies that you use and determine if they are helpful or harmful to your marriage. If you find that your behaviors are destructive, consider learning new skills to help you regulate your emotions better. Individual therapy may be a good option to help you learn how to find positive coping strategies and to help you learn how to identify your underlying feelings.

One Response to “Learning to Recognize Your Emotions”

  1. It is important to remember that there are no good feelings and bad feelings; wrong feelings and right feelings. There are just feelings. If you feel them, there must be a reason for them to be there. So, don’t pass a judgment on yourself for feeling angry, or envious, or jealous, or anything else. They are not an indication of a character flaw, but reactions to certain situations that “move” us (emotion comes from Latin and it means to move.)

    It is what we do with our feelings (how we express them) that can be good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate. So, when you become aware of what feeling you are experiencing, find healthy ways of expressing them. For instance, physics exercise is a healthy way of dealing with anger and powerlessness. Punching a pillow can be a good way of letting off steam caused by frustration and rage, and writing a journal is good for a lot of feelings.

    If you are too emotional to think clearly (emotions, when intense, can cloud our ability to think logically,) wait until you are calmer, then explore how to process what’s going on with you emotionally.

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