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The Importance of Identifying Emotions

I’m often labelled as someone who’s quite “emotional”. On the surface it may seem that way but actually in terms of processing, feeling and identifying what emotions I’m having I’m pretty numb. Despite being a deep thinker and crying at things that really don’t matter a LOT, I realised a while back then when it comes to identifying emotions as they are happening, I suck. I also suck at processing important emotions correctly.

Like, really suck.

And this is so incredibly common! One of the biggest learnings in mindfulness is to observe and correctly identify your emotions before you react. It takes a lot of practice. But it’s incredibly worth it.

How to Identify Your Emotions:

It’s so important that we understand out actual emotion, in the present moment, rather than thinking we know what’s going on. This is a key step for anyone learning to manage their anxiety.

To break it down here are the key steps you need to take to start reprogramming your mind to understand the emotions:

Sshh.. and close your eyes

The most important step to be honest. You have GOT to quiet your mind for this to have a hope in hell of working. Take a few deep breaths, and start focusing your attention on your body.

Scan for physical sensations

Actively scan your body for physical sensations. A knot in your stomach can mean nervousness or stress, extra energy in your arms may be excitement (or anxiety!), maybe you even feel nothing at all. It could be that your mind has run off with itself on auto pilot and actually, everything’s okay. And that’s fine.

Use the chart

Once you’ve identified the physical sensations you may still struggle to understand exactly what the emotion is that you feel right now. 

Not how you think you feel, or you might feel later, or how you felt earlier.


So use this chart. It’s life changing.

Simply scan it for the most appropriate feeling. You can then use it to drill down to the root emotion in the centre if needed.

Evaluate Your Response

Once you’ve identified what on earth is going on feelings wise, often you will feel better instantly. You’ve understood yourself – go you! It’s a big step.

What you do with this information is up to you, you may need to talk about the bigger picture and how you can deal with this with someone else, or the person making you feel this way, Perhaps it’s just about noting the feeling down, or exploring it in a journal. Remember emotions don’t always require an action, but it’s important to recognise what emotions are driving and triggering certain responses in you.

So that’s it! Something really simple, but so effective and it becomes easier over time. Understanding your own emotions is an incredibly valuable skill, and allows you a deeper understanding of yourself. By understanding your deeper emotions you have the opportunity to change or fix the underlying issues to help you get to where you want to be!

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