5 Of The Best Questions To Ask When You Struggle With Your Emotions
Holidays can be an unwanted reminder of how satisfied we are with our lives and how well we control our emotions if we aren’t as far along as we’d hoped. Seeing endless pictures being shared on social media can stir up feelings on the inside that we may not be ready to admit to as well.
It can be especially challenging if you are single, no matter how mindful you are. In fact, you can be in a room full of people trying to follow all the coping rules and still feel completely alone.
The bright side is this is normal, as all emotions are. Whether it’s an intermittent or drawn-out feeling of emptiness, anger or fear, these are still natural responses many people go through. It only becomes a problem when left unchecked.
If you’ve tried all the basic “I am worthy” strategies and find that they just aren’t enough, but don’t feel like you are ready for a therapist, consider a new approach to determine the best way to process what’s happening internally. Because one thing you don’t want is for it to manifest into something externally.
A Deep Dive Into Your Emotions
Let’s understand the basic two-step process of how feelings work before we dive in. First, something triggers the emotion to come up so you may feel sad or angry. Then, you get to decide what you are going to do with it such as cry or yell. While the goal is to get it out, how you get it out is the most important piece to it all.
So if you want to test your emotional stability or if you know you have a problem but aren’t sure how to address it, try answering these five questions.
Do I Have Numbing Behaviors?
It’s no secret that in the black community we are taught to “suck it up” and not feel moments of vulnerability because it makes us weak. Check-in with yourself to see if you have adopted this behavior. Is there a thing that you do to stop yourself from feeling your emotions?
One of the obvious ways people do this is using drugs but a more subtle behavior could be making sure you stay busy. While staying active during moments of despair is a good way to prevent a full depression, you don’t want to do it in a way that causes you to never feel the emotion. Playing video games endlessly can also be a numbing behavior. Something that looks very normal but is really a way for you to hide.
Again check in with yourself. Are you trying to avoid facing something with sneaky behaviors? That’s not to say that we have to be present in our emotions at all times. Taking a time out and revisiting feelings later is ok also. Just don’t purposely not come back to them because you have other things to do.
Can I Call Myself Out On How I Feel?
When you are feeling the feels, can you look yourself in the mirror and admit what’s going on inside? This is critical to dealing with negative emotions. Being able to acknowledge what is happening within because of the emotions shows even further how in-tune you are with, you.
Is your head hurting? Does your chest feel tight? Do you feel faint? Unless you have a health condition, these things don’t just happen unless you’re dodging dealing with an overwhelming inner struggle. And prolonged negative emotional conditions can result in consequences to your physical health.
If you know your body is reacting, you should ask yourself, what feeling is causing this? One example could be an argument with a loved one that completely changed your mood. Another could be a friend’s post with a new man on social media. Someone taking too long to text you back can also work you up. Do a self check-in and ask, what are these catalysts doing to you on the inside? Are you jealous? Do you feel left out? Does it make you feel abandoned?
Take time out to understand the why and the what of these emotions. Make sure you don’t mistake your lack of awareness for someone else’s intentions to hurt you. It’s always a good idea to know if past traumas are triggering you to feel the way you do before confronting someone who meant no harm.
Am I Judging Myself?
Emotions, such as envy, are not easy to admit to so be patient with yourself as you recognize what’s actually happening. Don’t “get in your feelings” about your emotions. You will surely overwhelm yourself if you do. If you know you’re jealous of someone, don’t start to feel ashamed of yourself for recognizing it. The shame is usually why we hear people say, “I’m not jealous” when they really are.
Be proud that you can admit to it because many cannot so they let that inability ruin their relationship with others. Have compassion for yourself and just sit with how you feel so that you can really process it and begin to move past it. If subsequent emotions come up in response to the primary ones, shut them down quickly.
Do I Know What This Feeling Is Telling Me?
Don’t get so caught up in this one that you make the wrong move. This is just the moment of wanting to know why the feeling is so overwhelming. But the goal is to not act on it in a way that could cause more harm. You are instead looking for a healthy approach to manage it.
As you explore the why, you may discover that the what is telling you to take some time off from work, stop scrolling through social media for a while or accept that you may need professional help navigating it all.
You are just acting on the observation of the feeling here, not the feeling itself. Don’t go curse out your mother for constantly overstepping in your life. You would instead observe that it angers you when she does it. The what here could mean that boundaries need to be created with her. And the why might be that she means well but you don’t appreciate being treated like a child.
Understand why you’re upset about the situation and what you need to do to stop the negative reaction. We are learning how to cope with the overwhelming emotions, not how to act on them. That doesn’t mean that some people haven’t earned a good tongue lashing, but there’s a way to go about it as well.
Do I Have A Healthy Way of Expressing This Feeling?
Now the work of actually letting the emotion out begins. The way we do this varies from individual to individual. Some can have a good cry while others need to talk to a friend. Some can write and some can just go for a run. There is so much release that comes in no longer suppressing an emotion so you must have an outlet.
Finding a mindful and safe way to let it out keeps you from having to pretend like you are ok and eventually exploding without being able to fully explain why. If you’ve gotten to the point that you can’t unload your emotions in a healthy way, you should consider seeking therapy because that’s ok too.
Your goal is to express it without hurting yourself or anyone else. Your journey to a healthy state of internal awareness is critical when it comes to your ability to bounce back from life’s ups and downs.
If you ask yourself these five questions and you have apprehensions about the answers, you may not be as emotionally healthy as you think. And if that’s the case it’s time to face it the only way we know how, the civil way.