Embracing the control…
We all feel emotions - they are the main element driving human interaction, they play a role in our mental health, and they guide our daily choices. They are the invisible equalizer that allow us to empathize, create, learn, grow, and nurture.
FEEL - IDENTIFY - ADAPT
Emotions originate in the amygdala and the prefrontal cortice. They are lower level responses, quickly creating biochemical responses.
It’s important to understand that emotions are physical, and they are measurable scientifically by blood flow, facial expressions, body language, and brain activity.
“We tend to think of the rational as a higher order, but it’s the emotional that marks our lives”
- Merle Shane
Emotions versus feelings...
We often confuse emotions with feelings. They are not the same thing and understanding the distinct differences and the role they play together can help tremendously in changing unhealthy behaviours.
Our feelings start out in the neocortical areas of the brain and are mental associations that play out in our minds. A feeling is triggered by an emotion, memory, image, or thought, and it plays out in your mind. Feelings are developed over time based on your life experiences and are unique to the individual. For example, one person who sees a whale at an aquarium may feel excited and curious (seeing something new and attractive) while another feels disgust and rage (seeing an creature in captivity).
Our emotions, on the other hand, are physical and instinctual responses to our environment. They are hard-wired responses developed through evolution and produce a specific response to a stimulus. For example, if you were to come across a bear in the woods you would experience things like your heart racing, sweating, blood pressure rising, as the emotional response to fear.
Emotions and feelings work in tandem. They provoke and guide one another like a partnership between body and mind. This is why it can be so difficult to master your emotions. The temporary emotional response triggers feelings that can linger and influence decisions long after the incident or stimuli has passed.
“Emotions play out in the theatre of the body. Feelings play out in the theatre of the mind”
- Dr. Sarah Mckay (Neuroscientist)