The majority of us aren’t too comfortable with our emotions, which can be accredited to being raised in a society scared to show our feelings.  We aren’t properly instructed on the biology of emotions and the brain. And as much as we’re told that we should monitor and regulate our emotions, the reality is that we can’t mindfully control them. 

Our school systems should teach students the distinction amongst categories of emotions. For instance, core emotions, specifically anger, sadness, fear, disgust, joy, excitement, and sexual excitement, are biological survival programs encompassing a message we must NOT overlook. There is also an additional category of emotions called inhibitory emotions. Inhibitory emotions are brought about in us through the forms of anxiety, guilt, and shame.  These emotions tend to block out the feelings our core emotions bring about in us. Thanks to inhibitory emotions we tend to be kept in the good graces of our families.  Nevertheless, once we have ample amounts of inhibition, we cannot thrive – which is extremely helpful information to know.

These days, we are taught ways to escape our emotions.  Society commends individuals for not showing emotions, using terms such as “strong” to describe those who push down their true feelings.  So, it’s apparent as to why so many people are so uncomfortable with their emotions. The following are signs that you are not comfortable with your emotions:

  1. At work, you can’t wait to leave and have a drink. 
  2. You prevent arguing with your companion at all costs.
  3. You find it difficult not to laugh or smile when someone (or you) discusses sad things.
  4. If you feel awkward in a conversation, you change the topic. 
  5. It’s hard for your to just relax.
  6. You hate being alone. 
  7. You find yourself blaming and judging others… A LOT. 
  8. You constantly worry. 
  9. You’d choose work over intimacy any day. 
  10. You can’t receive praise. 
  11. You roll your eyes or say, “Whatever!” 

All 11 signals above act as a defense mechanism against your emotions.  Defenses are the things we do to prevent feeling uncomfortable.  Personally, when I’m feeling an added amount of stress, I look forward to a nice glass of wine or a card game on the computer—it helps me alleviate the stress I’m feeling.  Avoiding emotions a few times here and there is acceptable, even adaptive, like when we swallow our tears, so we don’t cry at work due to an infuriating situation. Yet, routinely dodging emotional distress using the 11 signs above and many others (that I list in my book) is not a formula for wellness in the long run.  And you may not know, but buried emotions are at the origin of our most prevalent psychiatric disorders: anxiety, depression and addictions.

If you notice that you partake in any of the 11 signs listed above, try not to beat yourself up about it.  It’s good that you’re taking time to recognize it! It’s important to remember that we live in a society that doesn’t give us the information we need to manage our emotions.  We are continuously told myths like: Emotions are for weak people. You can just get over it! And, we adopt these ideals. Later when we are consumed in our emotions and cannot impede them by pure will, we tell ourselves we are dumb or pathetic. It’s a recipe for mental distress. 

The reason I wanted to become an emotion-centered psychotherapist was to help people feel better and mature their skills and resilience to meet the challenges of life. I strongly believe that everyone can benefit from a basic education in emotions.  My goal was to prompt you to consider learning more about emotions.  Just like you learned in high school biology that you had eyes, ears, a heart, and a stomach, and you learned a little bit about how those organs work, you can learn about your emotions and have tools to work with them.  To succeed in life, managing both thoughts and emotions is essential. It’s all about a balance. Everyone can become more comfortable with their emotions, and once we all do, it will serve us greatly.

Explore the latest mental wellness tips and discussions, delivered straight to your inbox.

Start a Relationship with An Exceptional Counselor

  • Skilled and caring professional counselors
  • Accepting all major and most insurances
  • High-touch customer service & premium benefits
  • Same- or next-day appointments
  • Ultra-flexible 23.5hr cancellations