Category: emotions

OUR 5 NATURAL EMOTIONS: And How To Manage Them

We tend to think that feeling sad or getting angry is a bad thing. As if there’s something wrong with you if you feel sad, stressed out, anxious, or angry. But the truth is that feeling these emotions is not the problem, it’s how we express them that can get us into trouble. If  you try to ignore and push away certain feelings, you never truly let them pass, and this could create problems later on. You want to learn to control your emotions, not let your emotions control you.  The following are the 5 natural emotions we all have and how to manage them.

 

ENVY

Envy is that feeling you get when you desire what someone else has or has done. It is this desire that sparks us to create and work towards goals.

If expressed in a healthy manner, you’ll be inspired to go after that thing you want and start working towards it.

But if that desire is not channeled correctly, it can turn into jealousy. Jealousy makes you hate on what someone has. You’ll criticize them and you’ll make up excuses as to why you don’t have what they have.

What can you do to express it in a healthy way?

When you see someone that has something you would love to have, be it money, a relationship, a certain body type, a car, etc., in your mind thank them. Say thank you because they are living evidence that it is possible. If they could have or be whatever you desire, so could you. You just have to learn what the steps are, and take action.

Even more, by you hating on what they have, you push that very thing away from having it because you’re telling yourself on a certain level, that it’s bad to have that. For example, it’s common for people to talk negatively about someone who they perceive to have a lot of money. “Rich people are materialistic” is a common negative thought. In a way you’re telling yourself that you don’t want to have a lot of money because then you’ll be materialistic.

So next time you notice yourself feeling jealous, send that person love and admiration.

ANGER

Anger is a natural emotion we feel when we somehow feel threatened. The threat could be physical, emotional or psychological. Anger is what motivates us to protect ourselves from these actual or perceived threats.

An example of a psychological threat is someone strongly disagreeing with you. Their opinion is their opinion, but if you perceive it as a personal attack, you’ll get defensive.

When expressed in a healthy way, anger can give someone motivation and strength when they need it most. For example, you might share a goal with a friend but instead of supporting you, they put you down and try to tell you why it’s not going to work. Instead of getting irritated and discouraged, use that energy from the anger to motivate yourself and prove them wrong.

Or you’re arguing with someone and they say something hurtful. If anger controls you, you become enraged and hurt that person back, physically or verbally by insulting them.

What can you do to express it in a healthy way?

Anger is an intense emotion so the first step to do is take 2-3 really deep breaths, exhaling longer than your inhale. This calms down your body by slowing it down from releasing more adrenaline. Then, either walk away to get space between you and the person who is upsetting you, or communicate clearly to them how they’re making you feel. To calm down even more, try doing something physical like going for a long walk or hitting something. Just try not to break anything.

GRIEF

Grief is the feeling we get when we loose someone or something close to us. It could be saying good bye for now, or forever. Grief can be triggered by the death of a loved one, a break up, moving away from friends and family or loosing contact with someone close to us.

With grief comes sadness, although everyone expresses grief differently and some people instead of getting sad, they get angry.

But if grief is not expressed right, it could turn into depression.

What can you do to express it in a healthy way?

If you’re sad, feel sad. It is completely healthy to cry, to be angry and feel lost. What is not healthy is pushing those feelings away and trying to ignore them. If you try to ignore your sadness, it will show up again later, and next time the feelings could be even more intense.

Writing in a journal, crying, taking a walk in nature, or spending time with supportive people, are some things that could help you express the grief. During this feeling, one of the best coping skills is to be around people and allow others to support you.

FEAR

Fear is our body’s way of protecting us from getting hurt. If we didn’t have fear, we would cross the street without looking or not run away from a loose wild animal.

We even feel fear as newborns. Babies are actually born with two fears; fear of falling and fear of loud noises.

For the most part, we live pretty safe lives. Unless you actually live in an unsafe environment, many of the fears that you face are created by your thoughts.

Fear not expressed correctly causes a lot of anxiety. Anxiety is fear, or worry, about something that hasn’t happened yet, so we make up stories about it in our head.

What can you do to express it in a healthy way?

When you feel threatened,  your body will go into fight-or-flight response and it will know what to do. You will automatically respond by fighting, running, and sometimes freezing up.

But if you are not in actual danger, most likely you’re worrying about something, causing you to feel afraid. Just imagining something can activate the fight-or-flight response.

Just like anger, you want to take a deep breath to calm down the fight-or-flight response. Then ask yourself questions to challenge your thinking. Some good questions to ask yourself are:

What are the chances of (your fear) happening?

What can I do to lower the chances of it happening?

Is this under my control? If no, let it go. If yes, try to find a solution to the problem.

LOVE

Love is our natural state, that’s why it feels good to show it and receive it. When allowed to be expressed and received, you need nothing else. Love is pure and doesn’t require anything from anyone.

Love that is not allowed to be expressed or received becomes obsession and controlling/possessiveness. In relationships, when someone acts jealous, it’s not out of love, but out of feeling possessive over that person.

Children who were not shown love and affection as children, or was somehow made to feel bad to express love, have a hard time expressing love as adults. For example, if a child  tries to hug a parent and the parent pushed them  away, they learn that it’s not good to be affectionate.

What can you do to express it in a healthy way?

True love doesn’t need or ask anything of someone. We donate our time and money because we care about others. We hold the door for someone because we want to be polite and kind. We don’t necessarily do those things expecting something in return or to get attention.

Show yourself and others love by showing that you care, verbally and/or physically. For yourself, take time to take care of you, set boundaries, and let that voice in your head be a friend, not a bully. For your loved ones, express your love to them. Try to show them, not just tell them, that you love them.  And for complete strangers, just be kind. Showing kindness, patience,  appreciation and consideration is a form of expressing love.

And this world could always use a little bit more love.

 

About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves adolescents,  adults, and Spanish speaking families in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.

 

 

 

Share

Simple Activities To Boost “Happiness Chemicals”

How we feel in life basically has to do with our  “brain chemicals” These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Although we don’t have a way to measure how much you have when giving diagnosis, scientist do know that certain chemicals create specific feelings. Sadness, anxiety, excitement…all these feelings are produced by neurotransmitters.

How much or how little of these chemicals are produced depends on a lot of different things. Genetics, environment, past experiences, and diet to name a few.

The good news is that we can do things, on purpose, to help our body out in creating some of these chemicals. Try to do at least one of the following suggestions, everyday.

Eat organic yogurt. We’re talking about “brain chemicals” but the truth is that most of these hormones are in the lining of our stomach. The health of our stomach greatly affects our mood. Think about it. When you have  a “bad” feeling, or feel nervous, what part of your body do you feel it most? It’s usually the stomach.

Probiotics and prebiotics help keep our gut healthy. Drink plenty of water and eat foods rich in fiber to keep your gut healthy.

Give or get a hug. When you give a long hug to someone that you really care about, and you get that warm loving feeling, the neurotransmitter oxytocin is released. Basically, physically intimate moments releases this hormone. This chemical calms down the amygdala, the part of our brain that acts like an alarm when we think we’re in danger. Oxytocin has been called the “bonding hormone”  or “love hormone” because it makes you feel closer to people.

For women, oxytocin helps in contractions when giving birth and it’s released during breast feeding.

Shock yourself with cold water. Either splash your face with cold water if you’re at school or work, or turn the water to cold at the end of your shower. The cold water stimulates the vagus nerve, a nerve that goes from our head all the way down to the gut. It helps regulate a bunch of bodily functions like the heart, lungs, upper digestive tract, and other organs of the chest and abdomen.

Reminisce about happy times. Remembering happy memories helps increase serotonin. Serotonin does a bunch of things like helping neurons communicate with each other, improve memory, and most popularly known for increasing our mood. Anti-depressants (SSRI, which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) is supposed to help our brain “lock in” the serotonin that we already have by preventing it from “fading away” (This is my explanation of it, not the scientific explanation.)

Watch a comedy. There’s a reason for the saying “laughter is the best medicine”. I completely agree with this. When we laugh we release several hormones responsible for releasing stress and tension and making us feel good, including serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.

Create small, challenging goals for yourself. Remember when you finished up a presentation you worked hard to prepare for, graduated from school after all those years, or completed a challenge you set for yourself? That small rush of pleasure was your brain releasing dopamine, the chemical responsible for reward and pleasure.

Try setting goals that challenge you in some way. It could be something as simple as cleaning up a messy room, or bigger goals like getting a new job, or getting fit.

Write down how you feel. Writing doesn’t necessarily release hormones, but it does calm down the mind. You could journal, or write short stories. A study done at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that writing calms down amygdala activity. As I said before, the amygdala is the part of our brain that acts like an alarm when it thinks we’re in danger. Our brain can’t tell if something is real or you’re imagining it. That’s why just thinking about certain things will cause you to feel stressed and activates the amygdala.

None of us can feel happy all of the time. But staying positive and healthy will help you feel more satisfied with your life. And when you feel satisfied with your life, everyone around you benefits.

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends. And remember to subscribe below to continue regularly getting great posts like this one.

About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, young adults, and Spanish speaking families in Lehigh Valley, PA.

 

 

 

 

Share

MAINTAINING HOPE DURING THESE CHALLENGING TIMES

We are living in extremely tense times. As I write this, I’m feeling helpless over the disaster in Puerto Rico due …

50 HOBBY IDEAS

If you’re always the one  taking care of responsibilities, taking care of others and doing everything for everyone …

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT SUICIDE

The Suicide rate is up again since 1986 in the United States. It could be scary to talk about suicide but educating yourself …