Naming our emotions, understanding where they come from and how they are connected to our bodies can help us better understand ourselves, others, and the world around us. Understanding our emotions also supports our mental health, because when we're able to identify and name what we're feeling, we're in a better place to begin our journey of healing.
You can think about your emotions in terms of seven core feelings: happy, sad, bad, disgusted, angry, surprised, and fearful. When people are feeling one of these core emotions, what they’re usually feeling is a combination of the second and third ring of emotions on the wheel. For example, if you’re feeling bad, you might actually be stressed out because you’re overwhelmed by the aspects of your life that feel hard to control. 😬
Understanding where your feelings come from can help you realize your unmet needs, and what you need to do to fulfill them – more on that here.
The fight response helps you respond directly to the situation, while the flight response helps you get away from the situation as quickly as possible. When you freeze, you’re unable to make any decisions, and when you fawn, you give in to the situation, often to make it end sooner. When your body is constantly sounding the alarm and over-producing these stress hormones, you might be experiencing anxiety.
Learning more about what your triggers are can strengthen your relationship with yourself, because triggers are your body’s way of telling you about what has emotionally impacted you. We can care for ourselves and our mental health by regulating our emotions and setting boundaries with folks to avoid negative, emotionally triggering situations in the future.