Mental Health: Beliefs & Emotions
Not very long ago I did a few posts on my Instagram about our beliefs and emotions and how the two are connected, and why being aware of them is so important. So I decided to do a blog post as well in case you missed those or want a little more information!
So first off….
Why do our beliefs about our emotions matter?
Well, what we believe about the things in our lives shapes how we perceive the different things in our lives. For example, your emotions. How do you feel about your emotions? If you believe emotions are too hard to deal with, what happens when you get angry?
You may let your anger get out of control and do something you might regret.
Even though you aren’t always consciously aware of your beliefs they still have an impact on your actions. They steer how we want to feel and the actions we take to deal with those feelings.
I used to believe that it was a bad thing to be sad. Now I know that it’s normal to be sad and as long as I’m acknowledging the feeling and then letting it go and not stewing in it. Since I now believe that sadness is normal and Ok, I’m better able to deal with it when it comes up.
How do our beliefs about our emotions affect our mental health?
Our beliefs affect our mental health through a process, most commonly through “emotion regulation.” Emotion regulation is our ability to deal with and react to an emotional situation.
So my belief that it’s bad to be sad or depressed is only going to make me feel worse when sadness comes up. But when I change my belief to it’s normal to be sad I can better manage my sadness.
One way to do that is by “down regulation” which is just consciously lessening the intensity of an emotion. You can do this by intentionally shifting your thoughts to something that makes you feel happier emotions. Essentially distracting your thoughts to something else. For example, your child or your dog or your significant other, maybe even a song!
This coping skill is something you can use to help you to be more mindful in your daily life. But for deeper issues you should definitely talk with someone!
How would you describe how you feel about emotions in one word? Tell me in the comments!
Can we really control our emotions?
To be honest it’s more about experiencing our emotions naturally as they come and let them run their course. The difficult part is the balance act. It’s hard to just let an emotion come and go.
Think about it!
Especially if that emotion is hurt. Say you’re pissed because a friend left you out of an important event. It’s hard to not play the situation over and over in your head, essentially making things worse rather than just feeling the hurt, acknowledge it’s source and then let it go. Instead of trying to control our emotions we need to get better at accepting them.
But what we can change about our emotions is our beliefs about them.
What belief do you need to change?