Teresa Peters

How to differentiate between ourselves and our emotions

As we embrace summer, we know what usual health rules apply in our efforts to feel well, through good sleep, regular exercise, and by eating well.

What else can we do to give ourselves a much-needed boost? It’s not just down to our physical health but our mental wellbeing.

The word emotion is derived from the Latin word ‘emovere’ meaning to move out or move through.

The emotions that we feel might energise us, they may deplete our energy, or they might replenish our energy.

Our mind is connected to our body and unresolved emotion can show up in physical form. How many of you have experienced butterflies in your tummy? Is this down to anxiety, nerves, excitement, or a challenge?

Notice that these opposite emotions can be interlinked so when we are feeling nervous, we could also be feeling excited. We get to choose how we feel!

Teresa PetersWhen we are anxious our body gets revved up to act on threat. Our brain sends signals to create more energy, by sending more sugar into the bloodstream and then our muscles tighten. If we feel anxious, this can be draining and lead to stress and overwhelm.

It is at this point I’d like to emphasise WE ARE NOT OUR EMOTIONS. Here’s an exercise for you which focuses on mental wellbeing rather than just on physical health:

I invite you to say to yourself ‘I AM anxious’.

How do you feel about being anxious?

What happens in your body, physically, when you say ‘I AM anxious’?

Now let’s revisit this.

Start by saying ‘I feel anxious about… but luckily…’

By reframing the emotion of ‘anxiety’ our physical, mind and body reaction shifts.

Now ask yourself. How do you feel now? Where in your body do you see or feel it?

We can in fact change the way we feel about ‘anxiousness’ and we are not the emotion. Be your own best friend. Place the emotion in front of you objectively and ask yourself, ‘How am I feeling right now?’

Teresa PetersMany of us try to distract ourselves resulting in a disconnect between our mind and body. Rather than making a coffee or picking up the phone to distract ourselves, through instant gratification, I encourage you to stop and reflect.

We need to allow the energy to flow through our bodies. Emotions are unmet needs so If we perceive an emotion to be bad, we need to make time to be more like a ‘hippo’ and roll in the mud bath for a bit.

Clients often come to me for coaching to become a more confident leader, more self-knowing or to feel more connected with themselves and others.

Emotions are fundamental to this.

Our feelings are sparked by emotions and shaped by the stories we tell ourselves, our beliefs, and our memories. By noticing our physical state or by acknowledging our emotions we can see these as useful indicators to help us enjoy life more.

We can choose how we feel about our emotions. We can choose how we respond to our emotions.

How many of us are tuned into other people’s emotions and are ignoring our own needs?

How many of us have goals but we are disconnected with the emotion and therefore lack motivation?

How many of us have an emotional experience that doesn’t align with how we think we should feel?

My core value and my fingerprint are connected. Connection to myself, to others and the wider world. I write this sitting in the garden on a Friday evening, listening to the birds sing and noticing the calmness as the sun goes down.

I feel relaxed knowing that I may make an impact on at least one of you reading this. No more saying ‘I am anxious’ or ‘I’m not confident’. This summer we are changing the narrative.

E-Motion or energy in motion has a purpose which is to flow. Emotions are neither good nor bad. We need to acknowledge that we all have emotions and it’s a universal experience. They provide us with a rich source of learning.

What have you learned reading this column today?

*Source – some of this content has been taken from my emotions coaching course with igcompany.

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