That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
You’re at church, at a bar, out with your kids at the grocery store or park, grabbing some coffee by yourself for a mental break, or on a plane rushing home for a family emergency. For whatever reason, you have that look on your face that tells the world either:
You’re not in the mood.
Something has gone wrong on a massive level for you.
Stephanie lives a thousand miles away from the small town she grew up in. Several years ago, she left home because her small town was just too small for the wanderlust she was born with. Unfortunately, her mother has several medical issues, and taking care of their mother falls to Stephanie’s sister, who stayed in that small town.
Six years ago, Stephanie’s mom had a quadruple by-pass, and today she’s on a long list of medications. Yesterday, Stephanie’s sister Chris called to tell Stephanie that their mother had some black-out episode at the local grocery store.
This is worrisome because Stephanie knows that some of her mother’s medications cause dizziness and tiredness. Anyway, Chris rushed their mom to the E.R., where they completed an MRI and diagnosed her as having experienced a Delirium.
Before the doctors were done with her mom’s CT scan, though Stephanie was already on a plane headed home. The whole affair terrified Stephanie for a lot of reasons.
Sitting on the plane as the pilot launched his passengers into the air above the clouds, the passenger next to Stephanie leaned over and asked:
Are you alright? Is something wrong?
Emotions and Feelings
We tend to use the words’ emotions and feelings interchangeably even though they are two distinctly different phenomena. Emotions are our brain’s biochemical reaction to changes in our body. It’s our survival mechanism.
Fight or flight can be described as an emotion because our brain reacts with fear when our bodies are put in danger. Feelings are our reactions to emotions, and they’re usually subconscious.
We literally cannot control our emotions and feelings. So, just put that notion out of your head. However, we can learn to identify and work with the emotions and feelings we have once we experience them. We can also learn to regulate our emotions and feelings but only if we can correctly identify them.
What’s going on emotionally and physically inside your body is portrayed to you through feelings.
Some feelings might be the mood you’re in or how you feel after an exhilarating workout. Basically, what’s going on emotionally and physically inside your body is portrayed to you through feelings.
- Mood and changes of mood
Also, even though emotions and feelings are technically different, some intercross. We might think of contentment and joy as happiness.
How do you feel?
So… How do you feel?
Do you know?
Understanding how you feel starts like anything else. You have to have a baseline. Your baseline comes from the feelings you’re already familiar with and not in denial about. Take tiredness, for example.
You know when you’re tired, right?
We all do. Some of us try to push through it for whatever reason, but we all know what this basic feeling is. It’s our bodies telling us to sleep.
Stephanie felt terrified that she might lose her mother. She also felt something else that she knew came from the anxiety of the situation. Believe it or not, Stephanie is one of the lucky few who don’t experience stress very often. The quick flight and the long days that followed created feelings of stress and anxiety for an unfamiliar individual.
Ask yourself how you feel. When you can answer that question truthfully and with ease, you’ve found a feeling you’re familiar with, understand, and might even be comfortable with. Use those moments to explore your mind-body connection. We all have moments in our lives when we don’t know how we feel.