What’s this feeling about?

Do you ever feel like there is something you are feeling that you can’t name? Here’s why and here is some help too.

What was your response last time someone asked you how you were feeling?

‘Ok’? ‘Good’? ‘Bad’? Or ‘I don’t know?’

Maybe you didn’t actually know, or maybe you didn’t want to tell them. Whatever your reason, one thing you knew deep inside is that there are more answers. Good is like a rainbow of happy feelings, bad is like a rainy cloud of unhappy feelings and the other feelings float in a void space in the middle but you just can’t name them.

Why can’t I name what I feel?

When you go to school there are no feelings class. Most people can only name just a very small amount of feelings like happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, joy and disgust. It’s crazy that is all we can name, when we feel ALL the time, right?

Learning to recognise emotions is important because while you may not be able to stop yourself to feel something, when you know what you’re feeling, you can learn to control your emotions so they don’t control you.

What’s the trick to recognise feelings?

Writing down what you feel as well as what happened is a very efficient way to recognise your feelings and find solutions to your problems. For instance, “I feel upset and angry today. My friend has shared a picture of me that I didn’t approve of on her social media account.” Before writing it down, you would probably have felt a lot of negativity towards that oversharing friend. You would probably have been tempted to react back, which usually makes the situation worse as emotions take over and we end up saying things we regret later. Taking the time out to write down the issue and how you feel about it gives you some distance from the situation but also some clarity. Now you know how you really feel about the problem, you can find constructive solutions, like telling your friend how her actions made you feel exactly and how she can make you feel better (a true friend never wants to hurt your feelings). By being aware of what you feel and why you feel this way, you become mindful of your feelings. So next time, you feel this way, you know how to handle the situation.

Mindfulness can be practiced before you actually are in a difficult, emotional situation too.

As we feel emotions ALL the time, you can use the time you are cleansing your face or applying your favourite face mask to reflect on your feelings.  By making mental notes of how you feel while the goodness of the mask sinks into your pores, you also learn about how you react to situations. It teaches you how emotions control you and how you control them.

I am still not sure about what I am feeling though

That’s ok. Everyone in the world gets confused about emotions. Yes, everyone. Ariana Grande and Billy Eilish? They write songs about them. Emma Chamberlain? She tells us all about it in her YT videos. Being confused and knowing you’re confused is ok, it means you’re ready to learn.

Can I feel more than one emotion at once?

Yes, it’s called mixed feelings. Like when you’re sad about something but somehow happy too. When you were a child, you would feel one emotion at the time but as you grew up and your brain and body developed, you started to be able to feel more than one emotion at the time. It can feel very confusing at times. When you know how to differentiate each feeling from one another, you can control mixed feelings better. Knowing how to deal with each part makes the experience of mixed feelings a lot easier.

If you want to learn more about feelings or simply talk about your emotions to someone and if you don’t feel like talking to someone you know, you can reach out to Youthline.  Youthline provides a 24/7 Helpline service that is made for young people who are facing challenges. It’s free and you can contact them by text, email, phone or webchat for counselling support. The team are friendly and know how to help you so it’s a safe place to share your worries.  Youthline is a great place to learn more about mental health issues, well-being and personal development. Head to their website www.youthline.co.nz if you want to understand more.