Using Feelings Effectively
A feeling is a state of mind. Feelings are spontaneous-neither good nor bad. Some feelings are pleasant, while others are unpleasant or uncomfortable and are, therefore, more difficult to manage. Although feelings are neither good or bad, the way people handle feelings may be positive or negative. For example, if a student is feeling frustrated with an assignment, the student might either ask the teacher for help or throw the textbook. The first response helps to resolve the feeling in a positive way. The second response will probably just cause additional frustration.
Feelings are important clues to the condition of people's mental health. Feelings let people know if their needs are getting met. Do they feel safe, loved, accepted and in control of their lives? If needs are not met, people can make changes or take actions to get what they need to stay mentally healthy.
Three questions can help people use feelings effectively:
- What am I feeling?
- Why am I feeling this way?
- How could I react?
When reacting to feelings, people need to take time to think about their reactions and to choose the one that is most likely to resolve the uncomfortable feeling.
Individuals express feelings in diverse and unique ways. Personal experience, culture and standards may influence reactions. There are many possible reactions to any one feeling or situation. The key to expressing feelings is a thoughtful response.
In order to use feelings to our advantage, we must ask three questions:
- What am I feeling?
- What caused this feeling?
- How should I react?
The attempt to answer these three questions helps us become more attuned to our mental health. Reacting in a positive way provides the sense of control that enables us to feel good about ourselves and to create healthy relationships with others.
Homework: Write in your Journal every day about one situation that happened to you that day. State if it was good or bad, how it made you feel, and how you reacted to the situation.