What is the most important thing for you in your life? What, at it’s core, is what you want most in life? I bet it’s the same thing as for most people: at the deepest level you want to… feel good.
Even when you said peace of mind, or good luck for your family, if you think about what that gives you… it’s really a feeling. A feeling of peace, safety, contentment, happiness.
Your emotions are determining how you feel. Most emotions repeat themselves over and over again – in other words: the kind of emotions you feel are similar day in and day out. And the quality of your life, how you perceive your life, is heavily influenced by the emotions you feel regularly.
Are You Feeling Your Favorite Emotions Daily?
So that’s why it’s important to look at your emotions and see if there are emotions that eventually you don’t want to feel on a regular basis. And then, what are the causes and how can you change them?
And what are emotions that you really want more of and how can you create those?
Because I noticed that when we don’t reflect on the recurring emotions we feel, we can accept and stay in an emotional state, sometimes for years, without even realizing that this is not what we truly want. An emotional gets accepted because the end justifies the means. But especially for a long period, that’s not true.
For myself, I lived in a state of frustration for a long time during my very first business. I endured this state because I had my eyes on the goal, which never got realized eventually. Only later I realized that while it is great to have strong goals, in the same way I have to live the present moment fully and love it as it is, while I’m working towards my goal.
If working towards my goal makes me feeling frustrated a lot of times, that’s a strong signal from my body that I’m really off target here. So it’s wise to adjust accordingly by listening closely to your enduring emotions.
What Are Emotions?
Emotions are part of your state of mind. Basically, emotions are your body’s reaction to external or internal (your thoughts) events. They are based on the interpretation of these events, and not on the event itself (important!)
Your mind tries to answer the question: “What does that mean?” And the answer is the cause for your emotions to arise.
This means that you are not a slave to your emotions. You can decide how you react to your emotions, when to act and when not to act. Of course, this is not a trivial thing. But if you are aware of the space between stimulus and response, you can gain more control over how you create and react to your emotions.
What Do Your Emotions Mean?
Emotions are also your body’s feedback system. When you get a positive emotion it is like a reward for something done right. Negative emotions are signals of your body that you probably have to change something and do things differently.
Obviously that’s a very simple view on emotions, but it’s helpful, especially the fact that negative emotions don’t mean something absolute (like “You are a failure!”), but it can be a message to change something.
Is there a Difference Between Feelings and Emotions?
When I talk about emotions and feelings I assume that these terms are interchangeable. There are some interesting viewpoints on the difference between feelings and emotions.
If you want to make any differentiation at all, I think what makes sense the most is to see an emotion as a direct and immediate short-term response while feelings are more of a long-term state of mind. In that way Joy would be the emotion while Happiness would be the corresponding feeling. This post also suggests this differentiation.
In any way, I think to differentiate emotion and feeling creates more confusion than anything useful, so for the sake of this post we use emotion and feeling as synonyms.
But the purpose of this post is primarily to build awareness of the kind of emotions you feel on a daily basis. And then to evaluate if these are the emotions you want to feel, or not.
List of Positive Emotions
So here are two lists of the most common emotions, positive and negative. Please go through them and write down the Top 5 positive emotions you feel most of the time:
List of Negative Emotions
Now also write down the Top 5 positive emotions you feel most of the time:
An interesting exercise is now to self-reflect back on the causes that created these emotions and then think about how you can create more of those causes of positive emotions. How can you get rid of the causes of your most felt negative emotions?