You may have experienced emotional awareness already: knowing you’re in a bad mood; knowing you’re elated, etc.
But there is a second step to your emotional awareness that some people never consider that it’s something they have control over at all. That second step is – WHY am I feeling this?
Certainly, the question of why you have an experience is important when you have a negative mindset. Happiness is a given, and we know why it occurred. But a negative emotions may be more difficult to track and change.
Here’s a simplified example: Your neighbor announced that they are moving into a brand-new home, bigger and much nicer than the home they currently have. Outwardly you are happy for them, but negative emotions rise and make you wary.
You may feel envious of their new, bigger, and better space. At first, perhaps you’re jealous of their step up. Deeper down, you feel envious or actually angry at yourself for not working to your potential to receive a promotion, and allowing you to have that new home.
Deeper down, you may be feeling inadequate, as if you can’t provide nice things for your family.
Increasing your emotional awareness can help you figure out these deeper feelings, and then work towards solutions.
Here are three easy steps to increase your emotional awareness, and thereby learn to control and modify what you’re feeling more accurately.
- Get into the habit of assessing how you’re feeling during different times of the day. This isn’t to judge what you’re feeling. Rather, this is to learn how to identify your emotions.
- Once you’ve are comfortable identifying your emotions, the next step is to review the “why” behind negative emotions. Dig deep and be completely 100% honest with yourself. No judgment; just assessment.
- The third step, once you’ve identified the “what” and “why,” is to learn how you can turn your negative emotion around to a positive. Practicing this technique can help you see everything in a more positive light.
Becoming more emotionally aware is one of those tasks that isn’t always easy. But it is rewarding in the end, and worth the time and effort you put forth.
Emotionally healthy children do better in school, find more success as adults, and lead happier lives. They can be happy and fulfilled as they grow up.
Follow these strategies to increase your children’s emotional wellbeing:
1. Be open about your feelings. The world isn’t always positive, and you may have struggled. It helps your children understand your feelings if they see the reality of the world.
- Kids copy their parents, so they’ll mimic your emotions.
- As an emotionally healthy adult, you’ll show your kids that it’s normal to have both positive and negative feelings. If you’re open about them, they’ll be able to learn from you.
- You may be tempted to protect your children from your real emotions. However, you’ll miss a teaching opportunity.
2. Avoid judging feelings. Adults sometimes criticize others and their feelings. Your kids are always watching, so they learn to judge others too.
- When you judge and criticize the emotions of others, you show your kids that it’s normal to make fun of or mock other people.
- They can suffer emotional damage because they learn to criticize others or become scared to show their own feelings.
- It’s also important to avoid labeling feelings as good or bad. Sometimes you may be happy, and sometimes you may be sad, but both are normal. Help your children to accept and not to be ashamed of how they feel.
3. Avoid telling your kids how to feel. When you try to control a child’s emotions, the situation often gets worse and leads both of you down a dangerous path.
- You can’t control every aspect of your child’s life. If you try to tell children how to feel, they can become scared to show their true emotions. They learn that they can’t be honest about their feelings, so they stifle or hide them.
- When you tell your kids they have to be happy, you prevent them from figuring out why they don’t feel this way.
- Parents often feel that their kids are an extension of their personalities and expect them to act and feel the same way. That is not emotionally healthy.
4. Resolve your emotional wounds. You’ll find it difficult to teach your kids how to deal with their feelings when you’re struggling with your own. Kids naturally copy their parents, so they may pick up on your traumas.
- Take care to prevent the emotional wounds from your past or present from carrying over to your children.
5. Ask questions. Kids benefit from opportunities to discuss their emotions. Ask questions and find out how they feel, rather than assuming what they’re feeling.
- When you ask about their feelings, your kids will learn to articulate them. They’ll learn to express their thoughts and emotions.
Emotionally healthy children grow up to be successful and happy adults. They’ll also be able to use these skills when they get older and face challenges. The ability to be emotionally available and knowledgeable is a powerful tool. Your kids will enjoy great advantages from learning about their feelings.