Human beings can encapsulate complex emotions in their psyche. But every person experiences emotions differently. Some people have high, and some have low emotional intelligence. Also, people are highly skilled at recognizing, understanding their own and other’s emotions. The ones with high emotional intelligence are good at expressing their emotions. It is merely an individualistic difference that is not indicative of any psychological disequilibrium.
Jersild (1960) conceptualized emotions as a state of being moved, stirred, or being aroused somehow. It involves the perception of a stimulus that is accompanied by some physiological responses. Thus, resulting in an interpretation of the bodily response as emotion and subsequently experiencing it. For example, suppose someone sees a lion (stimulus). In that case, it will instigate some bodily response in him (rapid heartbeat, trembling), and these reactions will lead him to understand that he is scared (emotion).
Emotions can be expressed through verbal or non-verbal means. Therefore, one can express emotions through body language, facial expressions, mannerisms, gestures, postures, tone of voice, or through the use of words and sounds.
Emotions are incredibly subjective, and the intensity of the emotion varies with time in the same person. Therefore, the emotional experience gets influenced by factors such as the subjective appraisal of the stimulus, state of awareness, belief systems, knowledge, and memory recall. Thus, this is why emotions are often very confusing, especially for the person experiencing them. Also, it often creates a hindrance in the manner they communicate and express themselves.
The most crucial aspect of expressing emotions better is understanding and recognizing an individual’s emotional state.
Understanding Your Emotions:
Emotions are seldom ‘pure’ and mostly multimodal. People often cannot decide how a particular experience makes them feel, as a specific stimulus holds the capacity to evoke several emotions. Hence, they experience a combination of emotions that can be overwhelming and often expressed in the form of tears or outrage. In such situations, it is highly vital for people to understand what they are experiencing.
Ask Yourself these Questions:
How would I like to describe my emotions?
Am I experiencing mixed emotions about something?
Can I recognize the particular emotions that I’m feeling?
Am I honest with my emotional experience?
Does this particular stimulus often make me feel the same way?
Answering these questions will help an individual in identifying, understanding, and expressing their emotions.
Identifying your Emotions:
Misidentifying the authentic emotions felt by an individual can lead to misunderstanding.
Pay close attention to the bodily responses induced by various emotions – their intensity, patterns, and other emotions they accompany. An individual may feel a surging heat in their body as a result of anger. Similarly, they may feel a sinking sensation in the stomach due to sadness.
Ask Yourself the following:
How do I feel?
What bodily changes are occurring with my feelings?
Have I experienced these before?
What’s causing these bodily responses?
Emotions are organic, and they should be welcome. Hence, accepting emotions helps to express them appropriately. Therefore, increasing awareness about one’s thoughts, feelings, emotions help connect with others and improve interpersonal relationships.