Feelings

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Feelings

 

What’s the difference between feelings and emotions? How are each created? Where do thoughts come in to play between these two?

Cognitive and emotional capabilities are two different aspects of a person. Cognition is thought; emotions are the ability to express what one perceives.

Thoughts are what we use to interpret what we are experiencing. The physiology – sensory experience for fear and excitement are very similar. Your breathing speeds up. Your heart races. Your muscles tighten. How we express, or communicate this to ourselves and or others will be based on our interpretations of these sensations.

 

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(Photo Credit: Choices for Children)

 

I’ve heard the definition of emotions as being energy in motion. When we express what we are experiencing our energy can flow through us with ease. When we don’t express it our energetic body gets jammed until we find release.

 

Feelings and Illness

 

Stuck emotions can create havoc with one’s health and well-being. The Alternative Cancer Care website lists several studies that suggests stuck anger, resentments, or unexpressed loss/bereavement are what creates certain forms of cancers in both adults and children.

Regarding anger, I once heard someone say that ‘women get depressed and go to the psych ward, men get violent and go to jail.’ Both are inefficient methods for expressing, or not expressing, the same sensation or experience.

Emotional eating is another ineffective way to deal with life’s challenges. Some over-eat out of anger, sadness, or boredom. Many people overeat in order to avoid expressing what they perceive to be negative thoughts, or opinions. They ‘stuff it down’ rather than having to navigate through conflict. I know this has been a pattern of mine most of my life, but I am getting better at saying what I have to say as soon as I can find the right words and communicate in a calm, clear manner.

I’ve never had anyone else share their experiences of emotional eating the way I am about to share mine. I have discovered that I use different foods to express/avoid different uncomfortable emotional and physiological sensations. About twenty-five years ago I started paying attention to my body, thoughts and actions. What I learned was:

  • I drank alcoholically to drown out frustration – generally frustration around money and or car issues;
  • I ate hard crunchy foods, like potato chips, (not ‘healthy’ crunchy foods like carrots, or apples) when I was angry and felt powerless to speak my truth;
  • I ate chocolate bars and drank hot chocolate in order to soothe myself when I was feeling sad and wanted to be comforted;
  • And I acted out sexually to drown out the feeling of loneliness.

 

 

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(Photo Credit: choices for children)

In order to respond appropriately to what one is experiencing, one needs to pay attention and be in the present moment.

One has to have the self-esteem and courage to be able to formulate a rational, calm response and communicate it effectively and in a timely manner to whomever it needs to be expressed.

 

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