Emotions are essential in living a healthy life
Emotions affect every thought and action.
According to research conducted by Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist with UCLA, emotions play a central role in happiness, relationships, social cognition and decision-making. Candace Pert, the late neuroscientist with NIMH and Georgetown University, discovered the chemical equivalent to emotions named, neuropeptides, so now we know they’re real (!). Epigenetics tell us that our DNA is affected by emotions, as well as our thoughts, behavior, food intake, relationships and the like.
Emotions are essentially the basis of the human experience.
Emotions are key to leading effectively
As more companies within the economy sit the services sector, the more important it becomes to successfully interact with people.
According to research conducted by psychologists, Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis on effective leadership: “The emotional task of a leader is primal…both the original and most important act of leadership. …In the modern organization, this emotional task, which is invisible, dives the collective emotions in a positive direction and clears the smog created by toxic emotions.” (from their book, Primal Leadership)
Emotions provide information that serves our highest potential
If you ask your emotions what they’re trying to tell you, as you might a sister who cares about your development, you’ll get an answer.
The answer might be “I’m angry because of something that happened 5 years ago” and that informs you to either drop that emotion consciously or work through it via art, journaling, exercise, punching a pillow, dancing, whatever form you choose and then, it releases. If it doesn’t release, it needs more expression.
You might wonder how that will help your highest potential and the answer lies in the realization that you’ve been holding on to emotions from the past, which do not provide value in the present. That’s good information, as it tells you which baggage you’ve been lugging around and that you can always decide to drop it.
Emotions are released when fully expressed
Fully expressing emotions doesn’t mean repeatedly talking about them — that only reinforces their neural networks. Fully expressing feelings means feeling them without judgement, until they no longer have a charge and control what you think and do.
Emotions are dated in the past
Emotions come from the past, even if it’s one-minute ago.
If you live in the present moment, you won’t emote, which doesn’t mean that you won’t feel anything, won’t be caring, can’t empathize or aren’t passionate.
It means that you’re calm, grounded, neutral — everything is fine. It’s like being Zen in the way the Buddhists talk about it.
Emotions are based on judgements
If you live and lead with a judgement-free awareness, you won’t emote. This means that you haven’t judged the situation, person, experience at hand as “desirable” or “undesirable.” When you emote, you’ve made a judgement.
Unexpressed emotions create mental, psychological and physical illnesses
According to a plethora of research, too voluminous to reference here, pent up emotions contribute to a variety of experiences such as depression, anxiety, phobias, heart disease, migraines, digestive disorders, insomnia and the like.
The less the expression, the more intense the emotions
In today’s legacy industrial model, it’s commonplace to try to separate one’s emotions from daily life. We’ve all heard a variation of these statements, “Leave your emotions at home. Be professional (logical) at work.”
Trying to suppress, ignore, repress or downplay emotions are unhealthy behaviors with high costs, which have resulted in individual and societies-wide disconnection from our humanity.
When emotions are ignored, they intensify until expressed, which usually comes at the most inopportune time (under stress), which reinforces the idea that emotions unreliable and should be held at bay at all cost.
The “louder” the emotion, the more it’s been ignored. When emotions are expressed as they’re felt, they’re quiet, informative and release quickly. This is the benefit of sharing one’s emotions in the moment.
Ways to share emotions in the moment
When you feel an emotion, it’s usually for a good reason. There is a logic of emotions, they don’t surface randomly.
If someone makes you angry, for example, will it make everyone angry? No. It’s usually specific to the individuals involved and the situation; it also includes a judgement. With anger, it might be a judgement that someone overstepped one of your boundaries, such as honesty or loyalty, and therefore, made you angry.
Granted, you might become angry if someone at work is bullied and it has nothing to do with you. In that situation, you will have made a judgement around bullying (right/wrong) and reacted to that. It can also be sympathy.
Emotions are often linked with specific experiences. Here’s a helpful guide to contemplate:
[Image from Freepik]