I’m a little bit off today, something down inside me’s differentA little bit off by Five Finger Death Punch
Woke up a little off today, I can tell that something’s wrong
I’m a little thrown off today, there’s something going on inside me
Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog!
This song has been stuck in my head all day today, and I think it’s because it’s how I feel.
I’ve always been really good at analyzing and expressing my feelings. However, my problem is with other people who don’t know how to analyze or express their feelings properly, leaving me to assume what they feel (I’m often wrong) and naturally I assume they feel that way because of me (even when logic tells me otherwise).
I also have a problem regulating my emotions (expressing them at the right time in the right place and in the right way) and letting go of my negative feelings (I smother them), but that’s for another post.
Today I’m going to talk about how you can identify your feelings. There are 5 basic emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust (cue Inside Out reference)
Throughout each day, we experience several emotions. Some people are more moody than others (like me) and go through more ups and downs. Some people get stuck in one emotion and don’t know how to get out (prolonged sadness becomes depression and prolonged fear becomes panic or anxiety). Some people are so used to ignoring their feelings and shoving them deep down inside them that they become numb and addicted to different forms of escapism like binge watching tv shows, or shopping all the time or just keeping busy all the time or overexercising or overeating so they don’t feel.
Let’s talk about why this happens. In all my research about psychological topics, it all comes down to childhood. If you were punished as a child for showing any negative emotions, you probably learned that you must hide any anger or sadness and only show the positive ones. Or maybe you had an angry parent who got angrier when you were too happy and wanted you to be serious all the time. Play was for losers. You had to work all the time. The way our parents treated us as children shapes who we are as adults and influences how we raise our children.
That’s why it’s important to identify your feelings, in order to process them (understand why you feel the way you feel), self regulate them (stop waiting on an apology or for recognition) and let the unnecessary ones go.
Step 1 is identifying how you feel. After years of hiding or dismissing your feelings, this may be a bit difficult. I found a chart on pinterest that may help.
Let’s do this exercise together right now:
Right now I feel very tired (there are 3 types of tired, maybe I’ll explain in another blog post). It’s partly because I didn’t sleep well last night, and partly because I’m upset about a number of things from a number of people and keeping it all inside makes me tired, and also because it’s cold and stormy and this weather naturally makes me want to hide under the covers, and partly because I’m bored but I’m too tired to do anything productive which is making me even more bored and tired, and partly because I miss interacting with people and I’m feeling very lonely and tired. Oops I skipped to the processing. See, thoughts turn into feelings, but for me, it skips the thoughts straight to the feelings. That’s why it’s difficult for me to challenge automatic negative thoughts because they feel so real.
Rewind back to the graph.
1st question: Do you feel like you have high energy or low energy?
I feel like I have low energy right now, even though I pushed myself 30 minutes ago and did a 7 minute workout, so I was physically able to do it, meaning I’m mentally tired. Anyway, sticking to the graph. Low energy.
2nd question: Is this energy you feel positive or negative?
My energy feels a bit negative. My mind is is spiraling on a self loathe level, but acknowledging that I feel low negative energy is helping me slow down my thoughts and focus on my feelings.
3rd question: which of the 2 feelings in the quarter do you feel more?
For me, on the low energy negative quarter, I feel more sad than tired, since I just exercised and had my afternoon coffee before that.
4th question: Go into more detail about how you feel exactly (you can pick 2)
I’m basically feeling bored and lonely (I picked one from tired and the other one should be in sad but it isn’t). In short, I’m feeling a bit burnt out.
Congratulations! You have identified your feelings. Repeat everytime your feelings change.
Here comes the big question!
Why do I feel burnt out? (this is the processing feelings part)
Let me explain what burn out is…
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery
So basically staying at home for the past year, online learning, economic crisis in the country, not seeing family enough, not enough me time, the people around me super stressed, etc. I feel like everyone in the world feels like this nowadays. Maybe I’ll write tips how to deal with burnout, but not today. It would make the blog too long, but I was reading something today and I decided to do whatever I could from the list
It’s not realistic to feel happy all the time, but you can have a joy mindset. You can feel grateful for what you have, but also cranky because you didn’t get enough sleep. You can feel happy for your friend who just had a baby while feeling sad because you want one too. Practicing gratitude and mindfulness help neutralize your emotions, but remember that all emotions are valid, but expressing those emotions have certain rules. Like I tell my 6 year old son, you can stomp your foot when you’re angry, but you can’t slam a door or break a toy. Unfortunately, I know many adults who don’t express their anger appropriately but expect me to not even feel anger.
Focus on yourself and don’t stress too much about the people you can’t change.
By the way, since blogging makes me happy and energizes me, by the time I finished writing this post, I was feeling high positive energy, specifically enthusiastic and proud of myself.
Try the graph and tell me how you feel at this exact moment in the comments.
If you liked this blog post, click here to read all posts about emotions. Also, read the book Emotional equations (I read it 8 years ago but I lost it).