5 Important Ways to Identify Your Emotions And WW Linkup!

Identify EmotionsWe’re continuing to unpack the “Men and Openness” survey responses, focusing today upon the second most popular response (53.45%) from the men: “I don’t know how to articulate my feelings.” However, I would like to focus today on one key aspect of articulating feelings—becoming more self-aware about our feelings. (Wives listen up, because this is something you need to learn to do too!)

Identifying our feelings comes before articulating them and is really much harder than it might seem.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that most adults don’t know how to identify their feelings on any proficient level. Most adults simply get by in this area of life!

Think about it … We can easily go through our day experiencing a myriad of emotions, but ignore or stuff every single one of them! Can you relate?

So how do you become more self-aware of your emotional and interior world?

1. Slow down your pace in an effort to “notice” your feelings.
When someone does something that bothers you, don’t react or brush it off. In fact, you might want to jot down a private note about the emotion-filled encounter, so that you can reflect back on it later.

2. Give yourself time to consider the emotions (positive and negative) later in your day after your emotions have calmed and your perspective has cleared.
It might be tempting at this point to brush it off and move on, because your emotions have calmed down. Problem solved! Right? Uh … you couldn’t be more wrong!

[Tweet “Negative emotions don’t go away without a positive and intentional intervention. “]

[Tweet “Negative emotions that are buried rise up like zombies to haunt you later! #dealwithyourheart”]

3. Seek God’s illumination.
Anytime you feel negative emotions, immediately pray and ask God to reveal to you what exactly you are feeling. It’s amazing how much clarity I’ve gained by simply turning to God to reveal what is humanly difficult to identify in the moment.

4. Talk more freely about any emotions you can identify.
This is especially true for those times when you would normally move on or flip into logic mode. Changing that habit is like planting seeds of hope and honesty in the soil of your relationship. In time, it will produce a bumper-crop of emotional-awareness that you’ll be feasting on with your mate!

One word of caution, don’t focus on sharing your negative emotions at the outset. Begin with positive emotions and then move on to identify negative emotions that are not as intense—working your way up slowly in time. And if you don’t know what words describe your feelings, read over and regularly refer to a Feeling Words list like the one I’m providing for you today. Now, doesn’t that make you feel “happy”? 😉

5. Consider seeking the help of a counselor or life-coach.
Not only will you get the opportunity to practice sharing your feelings in a safe, objective and private environment … But often if you have significant trouble identifying your emotions, there’s most likely a wound that needs to be processed with the help of a neutral third party. Remember that tweet about negative emotions being like “zombies”? Well, in this case picture the Zombie Apocalypse! You don’t want to ignore that for long! Can you say “Messy Marriage Meltdown”?

Next week I will be addressing some of the ways you, as a couple, can learn to better articulate feelings with each other. That involves responsibility on both sides of the relational equation, so “ladies,” you’re joining the men on the hot seat next week as well!

[Tweet “Christian bloggers, join us for another Wedded Wed. Linkup! #messymarriage”]

What tends to hinder you most from identifying your emotions in the moment?


What tips would you add to my list?


Be sure to check out the video interview I did with my hubby recently on the subject of why it’s difficult for him as a man to open up and share his feelings. It’s really quite revealing and helpful. You can go directly to that post here.

Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.

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23 responses to “5 Important Ways to Identify Your Emotions And WW Linkup!”

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post…and I would underscore the fifth tip. I am increasingly convinced that it is very important to have a consistent relationship with a counselor, and maintained on at least a biennial schedule. Someone who knows what’s ‘normal’ will be in a far better position to help when things go wrong.



    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Andrew. Yes, a counselors objectivity and support can bring clarity to what seems very foggy in a relationship, indeed!


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  3. HI Beth, thoughtful! I can’t imagine how much emotions we feel in one day alone. Thank you for your helpful list. I think sorting out emotions with God and talking with someone we trust really goes a long way.
    Thanks for the linkup.
    Blessings to you


    1. You’re right, Ifeoma. There are a myriad of emotions that escape our notice every day, even when we don’t stuff or ignore them. God created the human mind with such complexity. No wonder we as humans have a hard time figuring it all out! 😉 And yes, both seeking God’s help as well as our trusted friends perspective truly can open our eyes in ways that we can’t do on our own. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!


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  5. For me it is mostly the fear of having to cry each time I try to.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this Beth, emotions are something we must deal with or they can cause deadly harm. I have learnt now that I must first learn to articulate my emotions…
    Have a super blessed day!


    1. Aww, so does that mean you are really emotional, Ugochi, or do you try to remain calm and in control? I tend to avoid crying perhaps for different reasons. It goes back to my childhood and is a habit I’m finding hard to break now as an adult. And yes, articulation is so important. I’ll be unpacking that a bit more next week. Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend!


  6. Great tips! I have worked hard in my life to understand my emotions since I have been divorced. It is definitely a God thing. I have learned that the examination of emotions does not happen unless you intentionally take the time, which is a gift to yourself. The second piece that I need is God. His word teaches us and so does He when we open ourselves up to listen and hear well.


    1. Thank you, Mary! I can tell that you have worked hard. It’s evident in your writing and insights. Amen to God being the biggest Helper in this process. Where would we be without His refinement and perspective? Thanks for being a constant encourager in my life, my friend!


  7. This is good. I think I have a pretty good grasp on my feelings-I’ve certainly been through enough counseling that I could have an honorary counselor’s degree. However, I really lost it on Sunday over something stupid. I told myself it was because I’d run a 5K, went grocery shopping and then lost this stupid receipt I needed to return something. What I was really angry at was the fact that Hubbles decided at that moment that he needed to rest. Rest??? You didn’t do anything all day! I’M the one who needs rest!!! Did I tell him that? Absolutely not! I didn’t get it at first. When I did, I was too embarrassed by my behavior. So in answer to your first question, I think that what hinders me in the moment is the fact that the emotions tend to escalate and cloud my thinking. I WANT to throw a fit. Yuck


    1. You probably do deserve a degree, Mary! Too bad they don’t hand out honorary degrees to mothers who’ve weathered all sorts of trials in life–becoming better and not bitter because of them. 😉 And thanks for being so vulnerable about your recent setback. Life, in my opinion, is a series of dance steps–two steps forward, three steps back, three steps forward, one step back, cha, cha, cha! Give yourself some grace, my friend. You are humbly admitting that step backwards, so that now you can move forward with renewed insight and energy! Hugs to you, my friend!


  8. My spiritual director ALWAYS tells me to do number one. Thanks for hosting.


    1. That’s a great one to hang on to, Lexie. And it’s so simple that most overlook it. Thanks for jumping into the conversation, my friend!


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  10. Beth, great thoughts! Our emotions can easily become our masters if we don’t learn to manage them by dealing with their messages.


    1. Thank you, Debbie. You are so right about our emotions easily becoming our masters. I like Lysa TerKeurst’s way of putting it–“Feelings are indicators not dictators!” Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend! I appreciate your support and encouragement.


  11. Beth, so much wisdom offered here. Earlier this afternoon, I had a conversation by which I had to explain why I did not offer an opinion last night when I was asked for one. I explained I needed to go home & process all that I had heard. I did not want to offer an opinion prompted by my emotions. Sometimes when we take time to slow down, sorting it all through, we gain so much more clarity. Always good to join you!


    1. That’s incredible, Joanne! I love the real-life “emotional boundary” that you set in that relationship. We can’t let our emotions take us to places where we will regret it later. Giving yourself time to listen to your heart and then letting God lead you instead of your emotions is exactly the best way to handle it, my friend! Thanks for sharing that insight! I love stories of victory over our human frailty!


  12. bluecottonmemory Avatar

    I’m learning not to rush – and not to rush in emotional responses – that I need to take time and process those feelings. My youngest 2 are in high school now – and that has helped in the daily challenges – whether it’s grades or social stuff or whatever – I’m learning to take that time before I respond – and understand what the stress reaction really means! Good stuff, Beth! Keep it up!


  13. #2 and #3. Counting to 10 really can be a life saver in terms of checking our words when feelings are running hot. Thanks, Beth. And may i wish you and yours a WONDERFUL BLESSED HAPPY THANKSGIVING. Love you, my friend.


  14. Boy, the lights begin to go on when we’re able to name our emotions, especially the ones that come right before anger … like hurt, frustration, fear, and disrespect. Anger doesn’t hold us hostage anymore when we truly understand what emotions are playing havoc with us … and we can learn to choose what to do with all our valid feelings.

    Good stuff here, Beth, as always …


  15. I always feel ‘better’ once I have determined the right emotion(s) I am feeling – and the root behind those emotions. This allows God’s truth and light to shine upon whatever is untrue and not of Him. When I have accurately named those feelings, I can deal with them appropriately. Often though, it takes time – times of quietness before God – to help me figure out what is truly going on in my heart – and mind. Great post, Beth! I appreciate how you have put this difficult topic into an easy to understand post.


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