4 Ways to Connect to Your Emotions
Author: Michelle Goodloe, LCSW
Remember the first time you heard the saying, “I feel some type of way,”
I can’t remember the first time I heard this saying, but I do remember after hearing it once this phrase started showing up everywhere. From rap songs to pop songs, to scripted and unscripted TV shows, this catchy saying became the go-to way for millennials and Gen-Zers to describe feeling emotions.
This casual phrase gave us permission to not necessarily identify what we are feeling – but to simply recognize that we are feeling something. This leaves a lot of room to wonder, just what am I feeling? The thing is, there are many ways to connect and describe how you feel. And I have a feeling, (no pun intended) that the “type” of way that you feel has a whole, entire name. Naming your feelings is one important way you can begin connecting to your emotions as part of your self-care.
Emotional self-care is an important part of taking care of you. In my workbook, The Self Care Investment, I describe this type of self-care as:“Emotional self-care is the practice of taking care of your feelings, thoughts and reactions.” (The Self Care Investment, page 34).
How you feel, the thoughts that you have, and how you react and respond to life situations is all a part of your emotional self-care. When learning to connect to and name your emotions better, know that there are many ways to feel. There are literally dozens of emotions that can describe how and what you are feeling. Take happiness for instance – you could feel joyful, excited, gleeful, or even delighted! All of these emotions can describe the light and warm feeling that happiness can bring.
We as human beings have a plethora of emotions that come and go. Our emotions have different levels of intensity and can show up at different times for different reasons. One reason our emotions exist is to give us insight into how a moment, an experience or an interaction is making us feel.
You may feel happy when you start your vacation and sad when it comes to an end. You may feel angry when arguing with a friend or sad when you’re not able to spend time with a loved one. Our emotions can even give us signs that something is very important to us or that we care about something very much. Our emotions are a vital part of the human experience and being connected to your emotions is a healthy part of your overall wellness.
Learning to connect to your emotions is helpful to you because can develop a stronger sense of self-awareness, become better able to take care of your needs, and even become better at handling and coping with tough situations.
Try out some of the following self-care practices to learn how to connect to your feelings better:1. Try out a guided meditation.
Meditation is sacred and powerful practice that can help center the busy thoughts you may have floating in your mind. While traditional meditation can be intimidating to start with, try a guided meditation instead.
There is a wide variety of guided meditations that are accessible online and guided meditation apps such as Calm, Insight Timer, Shine and Liberate are great ways to begin your meditation journey and take care of your emotions.
2. Start writing in a guided journal.
Guided journaling is another practice that can help you get to know your emotions better. Consider writing, drawing or creating lists using prompts given in the journal.
3. Spend some intentional time alone, distraction-free.
Get intentional about the time that you spend with yourself. Consider taking some time to schedule a date with yourself, take yourself on a walk or go out to your favorite restaurant for a meal. Limit your distractions and spend some intentional time getting to know yourself and your needs. Reflect on how you feel with spending time alone and what feels special about it to you.
4. Consider reaching out to a licensed mental health professional.
Consider reaching out to a licensed mental health professional to learn more about your feelings. Individual therapy and support groups are specifically designed to positively support you and your emotional well-being.In therapy, you can get in touch with your feelings, reflect on past experiences or to receive some support coping with tough areas of your life.
When it comes to connecting to your emotions, do what feels best for you. It may feel new and different to create space for your emotions, and that’s okay. Take your emotional self-care practice one experience at a time. Just know that in intentionally taking care of this part of you, your future self will thank you!