It’s a fun game to play. Which musician or musical group has a catalog broad and complex enough to be the soundtrack to your life? Of course within that question is also the assumption that their taste matches yours. That their lyrics match your thoughts. That their mood matches yours.
With emotions month here at All Mental Health, there’s another game to play: what song matches your current mood?
It can be a harder question than it seems. To answer it, you first have to be able to identify what you’re feeling in the first place.
For so many of us, our emotions can feel like a roiling mass of feeling, or a big cloud of...something? And for some of us, it’s not even that. We’ll realize we were feeling emotional about something long after the fact. We weren’t in touch with the emotions as they were happening.
If that sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. And, there are things you can practice to help you become more aware of your emotions, and more able to understand them. But before we get into that, you might be wondering why you’d want to be more in touch with them in the first place?
If you feel that your emotions are uncontrollable, inscrutable, irrational, or like they come out of nowhere...well, then there’s very little chance that you won’t be overwhelmed by them at some point. You can’t manage your emotions if you don’t understand them.
There are three main components of your emotions: your thoughts, your physical sensations, and your behaviors.
What types of thoughts do you notice when you feel depressed or anxious?
What about when you feel happy?
When you’re feeling excited, where do you feel it in your body?
What about when you’re sad? Or when you’re panicked?
When you’re feeling different emotions, what do you feel the urge to do? If you’re sad, what are you likely going to want to do? What about when you’re feeling joyful?
Our thoughts, physical sensations, and behaviors are all different components of our emotions. If we can start to pay attention to these components, we can begin to understand how they influence each other. And we can begin to understand how our emotions unfold and why we’re feeling the way we’re feeling.
So, here’s a little venn diagram you can fill out the next time you notice a strong emotion. If you do it often enough, you’ll have a soundtrack of your emotions.