Regulating Emotions by Naming Them

Mar 25, 2021

People change based upon how they feel. Is what you’re feeling leading you toward being the change you want to see in the world? Labeling emotions properly is a key skill to understanding what we’re feeling and regulating our emotions

The problem is, most individuals are not able to identify the cause of their emotions, much less label them.

The more educated people are about the different kinds of emotions, the more they can regulate them and have better well-being all around. But first, people have to give themselves permission to feel.

Granting ourselves this sort of permission is a complicated task because we have been conditioned to hide, suppress, or ignore our feelings. To label an emotion, we have to feel it first.

Labeling emotions may be the best skill to master, especially for persevering through uncertain times, because there is a world of difference between being controlled by emotions and accepting emotions.

It’s no surprise that the emotions that require the most attention are the negative ones. For the average person, 80% of their thoughts are negative. Negative emotions are experienced deeply. Have you ever heard it said that painful emotions are equivalent to the physical pain of a hot cup of coffee being spilled on you?

Thankfully, we can do something about the pain we experience from negative emotions by learning to regulate them. It begins with self-awareness and acquiring an emotion vocabulary that allows us to attach the correct label to what we’re feeling.

You will know you have the right label when the word chosen generates a somatic feeling of agreement. Not to mention, naming what you’re feeling naturally calms the nervous system.

In short, the mere act of acknowledgement makes desired change possible.

Click here for a quick reference to six basic emotions.