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What Flavor Are You Today? Part 2 - Understanding, Feeling, and Integrating Emotions

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

In order to heal it, you have to feel it!

Ice Cream

.Click the photo to listen to both parts of the blog.

Let’s explore what we discussed in Part 1 of this exploration into emotions.

You experience emotion as felt sensations in the body. Where did these emotional sensations come from? Past mental interpretations of liking something or not liking something at any given moment. When you like something, it leads to physical sensations that feel good in the body. When you do not like something, it leads to physical sensations that do not feel good in the body.

It is important to acknowledge and work through your emotions, even if they are uncomfortable or painful. Ignoring them can lead to the buildup of unprocessed emotions, which can feel like the burning inferno of a molten lava pit inside of you. This can be overwhelming and painful. If you don't deal with those emotions, the volcano is just waiting to erupt. It's better to take the time to process and work through those emotions before they consume you and everything around you.

Now, let me pause a moment here and repeat emphatically that emotions are not good or bad. Let me say that again. Your emotions are not good or bad. You may prefer the emotion of happiness over sadness, but both are completely normal to human existence. Unless under rare circumstances, the brain does not have the makeup to feel and express it.

How to Understand Your Emotions

For some, simply becoming aware of their emotions feels unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Check out this chart from to help you recognize and understand your emotions.

Wheel of Emotions

You may prefer feeling joy to feeling angry, but both are natural and helpful in your ability to process your thoughts about the world around you. Sadness expressed is love expressed. It is perhaps loss of love, but still love. Sadness not expressed leads to denial of loss and oftentimes turns into anger. Sadness expressed leads to one’s ability to heal.

We can use the emotion of anger to cause harm to ourselves or others. We can also use anger to facilitate positive change in our lives that we may not have done otherwise. It is all a matter of how we use it!

For example, I feel anger when I see a bunch of litter on the beach. I have a choice here. I can either place that anger on the people and world around me, which I am powerless to control. This causes me to hold my anger inside or explode it at someone else I see littering or someone else in the vicinity. Either way, I am the one who experiences the anger and its effects of discomfort in my body.

My other option is to feel the anger so the emotion is processed and expressed in a healthy way. Maybe I let out one of those primordial screams to the sea, or perhaps I let the energy of the emotion guide me over to the trash, pick it up, and then throw it away. This way, I am using the emotion of anger to motivate me to do something positive for the earth and myself. This is because I am using that emotional energy to take action.

Here’s the tricky thing about emotions. Often, we become more comfortable with some of them and not others, so we bypass the emotions we do not like to feel. Or we don’t even recognize them. Anger can hide sadness. This often happens when there is deep grief that someone does not want to feel.

They go to anger because they do not want to feel the pain of loss.

When we bypass or do not recognize our emotions, it doesn’t mean they are not still having a mental and physiological effect on us. It simply means we are not allowing ourselves to feel them.

In order to heal it, you have to feel it!

When you allow yourself to feel the emotion, you are giving yourself the great gift of feeling alive! When you mask your emotions with any form of distraction, including other emotions, you are simply feeding that hidden molten lava pit.

Hormones also play a major role in triggering emotions. They send chemical messages throughout your body and affect how your body functions and how you feel. When your body releases specific hormones, you will either feel good or bad depending on how you mentally interpret the sensations you are feeling. As we have discussed, this is based on your past experiences.

A typical approach to managing emotions through hormones is to facilitate the release of what are often called feel-good hormones. Dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin. And to balance other hormones such as serotonin, cortisol, adrenaline, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.

Here’s where you may be asking. “How do I regulate my hormones?” To which I would answer, “There are as many options to regulating hormones as there are mental/emotional states.” Here are some at the top of my list.

One of the greatest gifts of emotion is human connection. When you allow yourself to feel and be vulnerable enough to share those feelings with another, you are saying “I trust enough to be open with you”. You are offering yourself the great gift of freedom to be you while demonstrating the power of standing fully in yourself. You then give permission for others to do the same.

Now, remember, this information is only useful to you if you recognize it to be true in your own experience. Check it out for yourself. Begin to notice what flavor you are at any given moment. Investigate where you feel your emotions in the body and what thoughts precede those emotions. Your own personal exploration empowers you to make informed choices on how you develop your own emotional health.

In Loving Service,

Heather Indu Arena

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Ready to learn to explore your emotions?

Join me in using the Triple A’s to Acknowledge, Accept, and Allow your emotions to flow!

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