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We often act as though our emotions don’t affect us much. But scientists recently discovered that we actually experience 27 “distinct categories of emotion.”

We also know that stress causes physical illnesses such as headaches, heartburn, and even a weakened immune system. Wouldn’t it make sense that those 27 categories of emotion can also have positive or negative effects on our bodies?

We believe that managing our emotions can help us take back our power and help us heal our illnesses without relying solely on pharmaceuticals. If you’re wondering how reclaiming your authority over your feelings can help you heal, keep reading.

We’re about to show you how to control emotions to feel physically better and mentally stronger. 

The Science Behind Managing Emotions

Unfortunately, our society has taught us to ignore our feelings. That has led us to block them out or try useless mantras like “suck it up” to manage our feelings without really dealing with them. 

And it’s led to more problems, especially with alcohol abuse. In fact, a 2018 study showed that alcohol-related visits to the emergency department between 2006 and 2015 increased by almost 50%. 

Blocked Emotions Make Us Sick

Blocked emotions are causing emotional stress in the form of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. And they’re causing physical illnesses like heart disease and even autoimmune disorders. 

The problem is that we’re not taught how to recognize and work with emotions. Most people aren’t aware that their emotions are not under conscious control. 

Emotions are an Unconscious Reaction to Stimuli

Emotions originate from the middle section of our brain. It’s an area that’s not under conscious control so emotions are really just a complex reaction the body has to certain stimuli. 

It’s an automatic emotional reaction and it’s done unconsciously. We only experience feelings after we become aware in our brain that physical changes happened. 

This means that the only way we can control them is by becoming aware of our emotions. 

Understanding Our Six Basic Emotional Needs

We all have needs that must be met. Unfortunately, we don’t always get all of those needs met, especially on a regular and consistent basis. 

Certainty

Everyone wants to feel safe, comforted, and secure in the world. 

Contribution

We all want to give something back to those around us. 

Growth

While humans claim to dislike change, we all have a strong desire to evolve, grow, and learn. 

Love & Connection

Everyone wants to feel as though they’re part of a tribe where they are accepted, feel as though they belong, and receive unconditional support.

Significance

While we want to feel as though we belong, we still strive to make our own unique mark on this world. We want to feel special and individualistic rather than just like everyone else. 

Variety

Doing the same things over gets boring. We all want to feel as though life is a fun adventure with new things to discover. 

Understanding Our Four Basic Physical Needs

We also have four basic physical needs that must be met including:

  1. Food
  2. Shelter
  3. Water
  4. Clothing

Our bodies, minds, and spirits require our basic emotional and physical needs to be met every day. If we go hungry for a day, our stomachs will hurt. 

If we go without water for a day, our mouths will be dry. 

We Need to Meet All of Our Basic Needs to be Well

And if we are unloved for a day, it can make us depressed. If our lives never change or grow, we may feel tired and apathetic.

It’s just as important to focus on meeting our emotional needs as it is meeting our daily physical needs in order to thrive spiritually, physically, and emotionally. 

How to Control Emotions

The first step toward controlling your emotions is to become aware of them. That starts by taking some time each day to check in with how you’re feeling. 

How Reclaiming Authority Over Your Feelings Can Help You Heal | Naturopathic Dr

Start a Feelings Journal

It’s a good idea to start a journal. Jot down a few words several times a day as a way to express how you’re feeling. 

Putting a name to your emotions helps you identify them. And keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal to feel more than one emotion at a time. 

After a while, you’ll be able to use your journal to help you determine how your feelings affected your decisions. You can then use this information to help you determine what triggers you and change how you react to those triggers in the future. 

How Reclaiming Authority Over Your Feelings Can Help You Heal | Naturopathic Dr

Purge Toxic People & Situations

When you can identify what habits, events, and people trigger us into having negative thoughts, it’s easier for us to remove them from our lives. If you work in a toxic environment, put together your resume and start looking for a new job where people treat others with respect.

If you have friends or family members who put you down, you can learn to either speak up or walk away. You can also remember that it’s your choice to feel bad by someone else’s words or actions.

How Reclaiming Authority Over Your Feelings Can Help You Heal | Naturopathic Dr

Boost Your Mood

Misery loves company and you often engage in poor habits that keep you unhappy. The next time you feel grumpy, take positive actions to feel better such as:

Even taking a few deep breaths will help you to return to the present rather than focusing on the past or future, both of which we have no control over. 

How Reclaiming Authority Over Your Feelings Can Help You Heal | Naturopathic Dr

Reconnect with Nature

We often get glued to our cell phones and computers. It’s hard to turn off at the end of the day. 

It then becomes very difficult to stay in tune with what our body, mind, and spirit is trying to tell us. When we reconnect with nature, it gives us a moment to hear ourselves and to listen to what we need.

Easy Ways to Reconnect with Nature

Some simple ways to reconnect with nature are:

  • Take a bath
  • Hug a tree
  • Stand in the grass

Even taking a few moments to look at the night sky can help you reconnect with yourself and the universe. 

Get Help Getting In-Tune with Yourself

Managing emotions isn’t easy, especially if you’ve spent a lifetime ignoring them. When those feelings won’t go away and they’re beginning to wreak havoc on areas in your life, it’s time to get help.

I work to treat your body, mind, and spirit as a whole unit. We’ll work together so that you begin feeling and living your best life yet. Click here to schedule an appointment

About The Author:

Dr. Karen Threlkel

Dr. Karen Threlkel

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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