How are you feeling right now? Maybe you’re excited or happy. Perhaps you are nervous or sad. Maybe you aren’t sure how you feel. It’s not always easy to figure out our emotions. That’s OK — because News-O-Matic is here to help!
Learning how to recognize and label your emotions is important. When we are aware of our emotions, we can regulate them! “Self-awareness is the bedrock competency of social and emotional learning (SEL),” said Carla Tantillo Philibert. She is an SEL expert in Chicago, Illinois. Philibert believes that social and emotional health starts with “the practice of cultivating awareness of your emotions.”
This practice is not about judging your emotions as good or bad. It is simply about understanding them, where they come from, and how they make you feel. Then you will be closer to being your best self! Learn to label your emotions:
Take a Deep Breath
“Take a breath when you can,” Vienna Webb told News-O-Matic. She works with Philibert. “Taking a moment to tune in to your breath” will help you create a safe space and relax. “It slows down the nervous system,” Webb said. “And it builds connections in the brain.” All that, “just by taking a breath!”
Ask Yourself Questions
Now, stop and think about how you feel. Let yourself recognize feelings. And tell yourself that these feelings matter. You can ask yourself how you feel anytime, anywhere! So, take a moment and ask yourself some questions. Here are some examples of what you can ask:
• How am I feeling right now?
• Which emotions have I felt today and in the last few days?
• What has been happening in my life that might make me feel this way?
• How do these emotions make my body feel? How do they affect my actions?
Pay Attention to Your Body
Emotions can often lead to physical feelings. For example, anxiety may make you feel weak or light-headed. Sadness might make your chest hurt. Recognizing physical symptoms will help you know what you are feeling — and what you need.
Let It Out
Talking about emotions helps you remember what they feel like! You can speak to an adult or friend about your emotions. And ask them questions about their emotions too. Chatting openly will help you learn more about how feelings work. Keeping a journal is another great way to do that. Write how your day went and how you feel. Then go back and read your entries to remember how far you’ve come!
Practice Makes Perfect!
Practicing an instrument is how you get better. In the same way, practicing labeling your emotions is how you get better at that! So, use these tips as often as possible. “Practicing these tips when you don’t need them is important, so it is automatic when you do,” Philibert explained.
And remember that emotions change, and no feeling lasts forever. Taking care of yourself is a lifelong process — and you only improve with practice. So why not start today?
Updated August 10, 2020, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Alexa Tirapelli