Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Mixed Emotions: Part 2

I thought this was interesting. A recent study shows that if you name your emotions, you can tame them. Brain scans show that putting negative emotions into words calms the brain's emotion center. That could explain meditation’s purported emotional benefits, because people who meditate often label their negative emotions in an effort to “let them go.” This is a huge benefit of being aware of one's emotions! Name your emotions, it's good for your health.

This is kind of a wake up call for me, because I would rather ignore my emotions most of the time (anyone else do this?). I don't think that this research says that I should give myself over to them, or focus on them completely. Instead, this mean being real with myself about how things are making me feel. Kind of like ending my self deception; instead of thinking "I'm OK" I can think "I'm feeling disillusioned (or numb, or ecstatic), and that's OK." Bottled up emotions do incredible damage to the health of one's body, labeling one's feelings is a great way to let that pressure out.

When I started my Counseling Psych degree I had to be taught how to describe feelings! In my world, there weren't many words beside: angry, sad, happy, and confused. Now I know that there are many other. Like "disingenuous" for instance. When you ask a lot of people "How are you feeling?" they will actually tell you what they are thinking instead (I used to do this). So here's a little experiment; click on the link at the top and read the short article Then take two minutes to think about how you are really doing and then write/type/say out loud a few words describing that feeling(s). You will find that you feel a little bit better and little more authentic with yourself. Also, if you are brave enough to write down your emotions in the comments, I'll put your name in a draw for a prize from me!

May Light increase,

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