Updated: Jul 9
Written by: Marika Humphreys, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Have you ever felt an emotion so strongly that it just took over? Perhaps you felt anger so intense that you could barely keep from punching the wall? Or maybe it was a feeling of such deep sadness that right there in front of all your work colleagues, you just broke down.
We all have because emotions are part of the human experience. You don’t have to feel like a victim to them, however. I’m going to explain what emotions are, why they are so powerful, and also how to be in charge of them instead of them being in charge of you.
My Emotion Took Over
I’ll never forget that first appointment with the oncologist after we found out my husband’s cancer had metastasized. The oncologist had no clear answers for us. He recommended we see a specialist. I remember the hopelessness I felt after leaving that appointment. I had wanted the doctor to give us something – some sort of reassurance that it was going to be okay.
It was summertime and we wandered downtown with our 7-year-old in a bit of a daze. We ran into a parent of one of our kid’s school friends and when I mentioned we had just come from the doctor’s office, I burst into uncontrollable tears. I simply couldn’t stop crying. All the emotion that had built up came pouring out. Right outside the town library, this complete stranger gave me a needed hug. That was the start of the emotional rollercoaster. I didn’t learn until much later how to pay attention to my emotions and what to do when these overwhelming feelings came up. That is what I'm going to teach you today.
What Exactly Are Emotions
The simplest way to understand emotion is that it is a sensation that is experienced in the body. It can sometimes feel like pressure, tension, or vibration in a certain part of the body. That’s it! That is all an emotion is. So, why are we so afraid of them or why do we feel like we have no control over them?
The Power of Emotions
Emotions are powerful. Think about it. Everything we are driven to do is because of how we think it will make us feel. When we are working toward a goal of making that first 100K in our business, it is because we believe achieving that will make us feel proud and accomplished. Perhaps we also believe we will feel worthy or successful. We also avoid doing things because we anticipate how it will make us feel. We may avoid asking a question because we don’t want to feel stupid. We may avoid starting on a project because we anticipate feeling overwhelmed and confused. We also avoid doing certain things because of how we anticipate it will make others feel. Many of my clients avoid talking to their spouse with cancer about end-of-life plans because they think it will make their spouse feel sad or depressed.
Emotions fuel all the actions we take or don’t take. Often, it can feel like we have no choice in the matter of how we will feel. That is where we are wrong.
Most of us simply don’t understand where emotions come from and what to do with them when they come up. This lack of understanding is why we feel at the effect of our emotions and that we have no control over them.
Emotions Don’t Happen To Us
While it may feel like emotions just “happen” to us, in fact, we cause them with our thoughts. Most of the time the thoughts causing our emotions are not conscious, so instead it feels like the event or circumstance causes us to feel a certain way. In actuality, our emotion is caused by a thought or judgment we have about that event or circumstance. Usually, it happens so quickly and so automatically, that we are not aware of the thought preceding our emotion. It is there however, you just need to uncover it!
Awareness Of Our Emotions
Once you realize that your emotions are caused by your thoughts, you can start paying attention to those thoughts. When was the last time you felt a strong emotion? Now th