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Our Persona Guide- Feelings, Emotions & Thoughts

Our Persona Guide- Feelings, Emotions & Thoughts

Fingers with emotional faces

Feelings, emotions and thoughts play a pivotal role in shaping our personality. Writer and life coach Swarnali Dey emphasises the interrelationship between feelings, emotions, thoughts and how human brains have evolved to adapt to their responses essential for survival—eventually leading to a happy, purposeful and productive life by controlling them.

Eckhart Tolle said-“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.”

Three very common words, we, as human beings, keep on repeating in our daily lives like mantras. They are in our conscious, the subconscious and beyond. Our entire persona is made up of these three words—-Feelings, Emotions & Thoughts. And we do use these three words in almost everything in life. We definitely feel we do think, and we surely do express our emotions. And sometimes we realise that they are so confusing. And since we have been children, forget about when we are adults now, these so-called feelings, emotions and thoughts have landed us in so much trouble-sometimes trivial and sometimes trouble of grand proportions. Reflecting back, we do tell ourselves—‘wish I hadn’t reacted that way’ or ‘wish this emotion stays with me’ or better yet ‘wish I never feel this again and so on. And yet, we human beings cannot think of living a single day without our feeling, emotions and thoughts. So, what are they? Do these three words carry almost the same meaning? Or one is the outcome of the other?

Many psychologists have, over the years, tried to define and put some meaning to these three words. To put it in a simple way, an emotion is a physical state resulting from stimuli. A feeling is the experience of the emotion and its context. A thought is all the words one uses to describe it.

Thoughts and emotions have a profound effect on one another. Thoughts can trigger emotions and also serve as a tool for the appraisal of that emotion. And how we attend to and appraise our lives has an effect on how we feel. There is a whole lot of science behind this entire phenomenon. The Science of Emotions — a book by Fahad Basheer clearly explains the entire biochemical and biophysical process by which the human mind can influence the human body. At times our emotions can seem like an irrational response, but our brains have carefully evolved these mechanisms with just one target- keeping us alive. While we interpret different emotions as positive or negative, the most ancient parts of the human brain— the limbic system—developed them on the principle that we must survive. The way we respond to different situations is so much the response of our conditioned brain.

The question, however, still stands. Are we not in control of our feelings, thoughts and emotions? How do we respond then? Well, to be honest, ‘ YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK.’ English philosopher James Allen once wrote, “ As a man thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.” So Yes!!! We can control our thoughts, feelings and emotions as well. Like all other things, the secret to living a happy, purposeful and productive life is very simple. And it is this:

-We live in a world of thought.

-We have a relationship with our thought.

-Our thoughts create our experiences, and thus, we experience what we think.

-It is the quality of our thoughts, then, that creates the quality of our life.

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It can be said that we are the sum total of the five people around us. This is because our brain has mirror neurons, and their job is to capture and absorb information around us. This absorption of information by mirror neurons happens at a subconscious level. Therefore, to keep a check on your thoughts and emotions, it’s very important that you consciously surround yourself with people who say good things about you or uplift you.

There are many ways we can control our thoughts and choose what to feel, bad or good. It is all within us. Techniques called mindful thinking, disassociation with your thoughts, acknowledging your emotions rather than shoving it under the rug and a lot more.

We are emotional creatures. We have the need to express our emotions. Sometimes, we repress our emotions, too, emotions that are considered negative in order to fit in, for fear, to earn love or to feel accepted. We all hide our emotions at some point. We pretend we avoid just for the sake of self-preservation. It is a defence mechanism. This behaviour may result from different situations or circumstances in life, even the environment during our childhood. For example, maybe a teacher had reprimanded me, saying you are no good and that ‘No good’ has stayed on. Subconsciously, ‘No good’ slowly permeates in all spheres of our lives, and when we are faced with any troubling situation in our life going ahead, we consciously start to believe we are ‘No good’. This creates a pattern, and we start living patterns. The unresolved emotion gets trapped in our body, where they build and fester, draining us of our energy, leading to burnout, emotional imbalance and eventually disease. This unprocessed emotional energy is stored in our muscles, tissues and organs, and over time they cause inflammation and chronic health problems. Therefore, it becomes essential to acknowledge and process our emotions all of them through our mind and our body. Three simple steps can go a long way to processing our emotions.

  1. Recognise: The first very important thing is recognising your emotion and feeling it in your body. Whatever emotion happy, hurt, anger, shame, acknowledge within yourself that you are feeling it. How does your body feel? Where does it hurt? Where does it feel good? Do you feel hot? You have to feel it to heal it.

  2. Respond: This is self-expression. Every one of us needs to express our emotions. True healing happens when the mind and body are in sync. The emotion needs to be expressed and moved out of the body. Sit back and feel what this emotion needs from you. Maybe you want to shout out loud or cry your heart out into a pillow or do gardening or hit a punching bag. Look towards nature or the sky and feel yourself opening out into the vastness or do whatever feels cathartic. You will feel, with practice, so many toxic emotions that you have been carrying for so long, starting to move out of your body. Another very fulfilling experience is journaling. Words have the power. Write and remove it from your body. It helps in expressing and processing feelings.

  3. Reset: This is self-care. As we start the healing process, it is essential to be compassionate to own selves. Tell yourself—-Yes, I had those emotions and feelings. But I don’t judge myself. I need this healing to free myself from the poisonous cycle. Be like a friend to yourself full of compassion because expressing and recovery is a taxing process. So invest in self-love and care, both physically and emotionally.

Finally, human beings have become so evolved that the brain, which was conditioned for Fight or Flight since ancient times, can now show evolved responses. And by focussing on these evolved responses and practising them, we choose to live a life devoid of negative feelings. A life that is much more peaceful as our thoughts don’t rule us rather, we tell our brain what to think. And in this process, we are in control of our emotions, so much so that, nobody and nothing can hurt us. We start living in a place where we are powerful and in control….and peaceful. Three cheers to our THOUGHTS, FEELINGS and EMOTIONS!!! For we own all of these three words.

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