How We 'Should' Feel

Some thoughts and insights from our event, The Neuroscience and Navigation of Unpleasant Feelings

One of the most striking insights from a participant in our recent event on Unpleasant Feelings was that she was trying to work out how she SHOULD feel anger. 

This was highlighted in the debrief section of the event, after we'd tried some exercises to tap into and fully experience some emotions. 

There's rather a lot to unpack in this observation, and from some of the other comments in the group, it was clear that this participant was not alone.

So, here's the thing. We are very often so disconnected from both our emotional experiences and the bodily sensations that help us create them, that we seem to be trying to retrofit what we've been told these emotions should feel like. 

If this is the case, are we really understanding what's happening? Are we really clear on the root of these emotions and what messages we should take from them? 

According to recent scientific work, we have many eroneous beliefs about our emotions - including that they are universal, and 'hard wired' into our minds. We create emotions based on many contributing elements, including our sensations in our bodies, and context. 

But why do we sometimes struggle to notice or recall what we feel in our bodies when we try to understand our emotions? Well, for many of us, we've been trained NOT to notice our emotions - or perhaps, to supress them entirely. 

During the session, we talked about the eight unpleasant feelings that Dr Joan Rosenberg lists in her work, namely sadness, shame, helplessness, anger, embarassment, disappointment, frustration and vulnerability. I posed the question: How many of these have you been actively or implicitly encouraged NOT to feel or experience in your life, especially your childhood? 

Understanding our emotional landscape, and how our brain/body connection works to create it, is a vital tool for a happy and successful life, and our mental wellbeing. 

If you'd like to come to our next free session and start your journey to discovering and understanding your emotions, and how to use this in daily life, then I invite you to sign up for our free membership. 

We're a not for profit organisation. We don't have anything to sell you, but we are on a mission to help people get access to the life-changing tools that applied neuroscience provides. So if you're up for some of that, then click here to join future sessions! 

Categories: mental health, emotions, personal development, applied neuroscience, events