By Alexia Georgousis ND, CPC, Conscious Awareness Coach
Emotions are a part of who we are as human beings. They are bundles of energy in motion. The key is to understand emotional energy needs to move through us rather than stay still. Learning how to feel our emotions, learn from them and let them move through us is an essential life skill. Being emotionally aware is also referred to as waking up or becoming more conscious. More research is also supporting the importance of becoming more consciously aware of our emotions. According to John Gottman a psychological researcher: “emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships”
Reactivity is an urgent, impulsive action or feeling that appears without awareness or consciousness. When we are reactive, we are operating on autopilot or reflexively. There is no choice or consciousness involved in our reaction. When we don’t have awareness or the ability to guide our emotional states, we are at the mercy of our feelings. And rather than be the leaders of our emotions, our emotions bully us around. We end up feeling depleted, unhappy and alone. We wonder why we are reactive and we may even blame it on others, circumstances or ourselves instead of realizing reactivity is a result of not being consciously aware or centred.
If you aren’t feeling joyful and balanced on a consistent basis or if you tend to be more reactive vs responsive, then there is a strong possibility your awareness needs to be strengthened. It’s important to note there is also a physiologic response at play when it comes to our emotions. We have an area of the brain called the amygdala which is essential for our survival. It sends us into fight or flight mode when we are in life threatening danger. In this state, the emotions associated with fear are the queens and kings of our experience. This is appropriate for a dangerous situation where we need to be hyper alert and reactive to survive. However, when we are over stressed and unaware of our emotions, our nervous system become overloaded and our amygdala takes over. Our overstimulated brain tries to protect us because it is perceiving we are in danger even though we aren’t. It makes sense that in this state of fight or flight, the emotions of patience, compassion or joy cannot be accessed.
All of our emotions are valuable and needed. There is no such thing as good emotions or bad emotions. What’s crucial is to discern which emotions are appropriate given the situation. This requires we feel our emotions, learn from them, express them with conscious awareness, and then guide or shift them. When we are disconnected from ourselves or too externally focused, our emotions can make us feel like we’ve been hijacked by someone else. We may not even recognize who we really are under all the reactivity.
The good news is we can learn how to befriend, regulate and even choose how we want to feel. Thanks to something called neuroplasticity, the brain and nervous system have an incredible ability to change and form new neural pathways. There is an immense amount of research demonstrating the brain’s ability to change as a result of meditation, breathing techniques, intentional movement, shifting thoughts and beliefs, and spending time in nature. Imagine if 80 – 90% of the time you felt consistently joyful, grateful and motivated? Imagine if you could trust your own ability to stay grounded even if someone around you was not in a happy place? What kinds of shifts would happen in your life? In your relationships? This is why grounding and being aware of your internal self is so powerful.
You can feel better!