Monday, August 16, 2021

5 Key Aspects of Appropriately Managing Feelings

Five Key Aspects of Appropriately Managing Feelings:

Directions – As a group complete the following feelings self-assessment, which reviews some key aspects of feeling our feelings. The information in italics helps provide some in-depth understanding of each aspect. As honestly and accurately as you can, try to assess yourself for each item below using the following scale

0 – Rarely ever

1 – A little

2 – Somewhat/sometimes

3 – Often/A lot of the time

4 – Almost always

___ I can effectively identify my feelings


Ø  I can pause, focus, reflect and think about what I am really feeling then name my feelings in my mind appropriately and accurately 

I can accept my feelings


Ø  I can admit and confess to myself what I am really feeling without trying to deny it, hide it or cover it up. By contrast: Imagine a person with fists clenched and jaw tightened yelling – “I’m not angry!”


___ I can understand my feelings 


Ø  I can answer some of the Who, What, When, Where Why and How questions about my feelings so that I can get a deeper grasp of what is really going on with my feelings, where they may have come from and what may be triggering them.


___ I can appropriately express my feelings


Ø  I can let others know how I feel openly using appropriate feeling words and phrases, without acting out inappropriately, or doing/saying something I will later regret, hurting others or losing control


___ I can cope with my feelings


Ø  I can face my feelings and deal with them in productive and healthy ways while avoiding negative reactions, behaviors, words, and habits. This includes avoiding “self-medication” or repression of feelings through substance use or other potentially addictive practices


Discuss your answers as a group

Breaking it Down Further: Discuss the following five aspects of appropriately managing feelings:


Identifying Feelings:


1.    Learn and know both the physical and psychological signs of your feelings. For example – “When I am feeling jealous, I get restless and moody, but I often deny it at first which can cause me to shut down emotionally which later turns to anger”


2.    Build your feelings vocabulary – The more that you know about different kinds of feelings and what they are like, the better you can identify what you may be feeling

Accepting Feelings:


1.    Practice insight building, self-awareness and self-honesty by being able to look inside and explore some of the more uncomfortable feelings. For example, most people can eventually identify and accept anger but some of the deeper feelings like hurt or fear that are often behind anger can be more challenging to accept


2.    Learn about why you may avoid admitting some feelings. For example, some people are told from childhood upbringing that it is weak to express insecurity or there may be cultural reasons for avoiding certain feelings (For example: “Where I came from, a man is not supposed to show vulnerability or fear”)

Understanding Feelings:


1.    Practice asking yourself the difficult questions. To build an understanding of our thoughts and feelings it is essential to learn to probe our own mind to try to figure things out. Questions like “Why am I feeling this way right now?” and “What triggered these feelings?” and “What is really going on here that is bothering me so much?” are examples of insight-building, self-assessment questions to build understanding


2.    Practice empathy. Empathy is all about understanding others which can help us to build an understanding of ourselves. For example, suppose someone wanted to learn more about how to understand feelings of grief related to the loss of a loved one. Speaking with others who went through similar experiences and building understanding of their experiences can be a reference point for understanding our own feelings, even if we experienced different circumstances. This is part of the reason why support groups are useful


Expressing Feelings:


1.    Learn to take down “the wall” when needed. Some people have built a protective “wall” that prevents them from truly opening up about feelings. To build effective friendships and relationships it is important to learn to be able to take some risks and allow others to really see how we are feeling


2.    Learn and practice assertive communication. To be assertive is to be able to respectfully speak openly about what is on your mind and how you are feeling even if it is challenging or intimidating to do so.


Coping with Feelings:


1.    Learn to stop and redirect challenging feelings before they trigger negative behaviors, it is essential to be aware of several ways to cope with feelings effectively to avoid a regrettable decision later. Breathing, cognitive reframing, positive self-talk, exercising, reading, listening to music, etc. are all examples of coping skills for feelings. There are many tools and skills that work well with practice


2.    Build a support system – One of the best ways to deal with feelings is to have people in our lives who are ready to listen and provide caring support. It can be much easier to cope with challenging feelings with the help of others who care


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