Understand and Embrace Your Emotions

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Everyone is born with the wiring to feel basic emotions such as fear, joy, sadness and anger. As our brains grow, we develop self-consciousness and learn to feel ever more complex emotions. The trick is learning to understand these feelings, in yourself and in others. Then, you can use your knowledge to improve your emotional readiness skills for success in college, careers and relationships.

People are intuitively drawn to people who are happy—and who make us happy. We respond more quickly and easily to happiness than to sadness; in fact, the human brain actually has a preference for happy faces. This has been interpreted by many researchers to mean that humans are designed for positive relationships. You should look for and expect to find relationships with people who make you happy and allow you to feel good about yourself. You can also use this knowledge to make yourself more desirable as both a friend and coworker.

While it is important to be happy most of the time, remember that there is also a good reason for the negative emotions you experience. Emotions such as remorse, shame, embarrassment and guilt all lead you toward making ethical decisions. They are essential to developing your social and moral sense. Guilt is your own private awareness that you have done wrong, and shame comes when others are aware of your wrongdoing. When you feel shame, you may anticipate social rejection, and when you feel guilt, you may be motivated to make amends. These negative emotions impact your conscience. Along with pride, they guide you toward socially appropriate actions.

Fear and anger also have their place as motivating emotions. Listening to your fear and anger can serve in many circumstances to protect you from harm and give you the strength you need to act decisively. Both of these emotions actually cause chemical reactions which prime your brain for action. They can cause you problems, however, when you simply react instinctively and fail to use your reason to temper your reaction. Taking the time for the classic count to ten before you respond allows the part of your brain which focuses on reason to weigh in on your emotional reaction. This can often help you to use these negative emotions constructively, rather than destructively.

To learn more about emotional readiness, explore the free resources in the STEP™ Resource Guide or try the texts in our Transition Readiness Preparation Program.