There are six primary emotions that are experienced all over the world. They are: mad, sad, scared, joyful, powerful and peaceful. Depending on what household and family you were raised in, these feelings may or may not have been acceptable to feel. According to research, human beings tend have certain attitudes about emotions. People may be uncomfortable with some emotions and when someone expresses one of these emotions, it may be looked down upon in turn preventing the individual from healthy expression.
A neutral and helpful way to deal with emotions is to think of them as all valuable. An emotion is indicator to the challenges and joys in our lives. We notice when something is bothering us and can use that knowledge resolve the issue. The earlier we can detect and understand an emotion, the better and more quickly it can be resolved.
Being able to recognize emotions and regulate them begins with accepting them and not stuffing them down. When we push our emotions down and ignore our needs, we are at a greater risk of developing unhelpful coping mechanisms such as drug and alcohol use, eating disorders and aggressive behavior. All feelings are useful, even anger and sadness. Without experiencing those emotions, we would not fully understand their opposite emotions which are powerful and joyful.
To identify your primary and secondary emotions, download this printable Feelings Wheel by Gloria Wilcox at this link: https://www.gottman.com/blog/printable-feeling-wheel/ . You can work with your therapist to express and explore challenging emotions. Your therapy sessions should be a safe place for you to practice communicating your emotions in a healthy way, then it will be easier for you to do so in your daily life.
“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.”
– Roger Ebert