L&D Strategy • Feb 3rd

Paying attention to how you feel

Written by Claire Coughlan

paying attention to how you feel

How often when we are asked ‘How are you?’ by someone, do we automatically respond with ‘I’m fine’?

Often we say it without thinking about how we really feel – it isn’t the full story, or we don’t have the energy, can’t be bothered or don’t have the words to explain how we are really feeling.

When I was a child, I found it really difficult to express my emotions coherently. I didn’t speak much for the first 7 years of my life and my emotions would play out night after night in my dreams. I would wake up in distress and it would take alot of soothing to get me back to sleep.

When we sleep, dreaming is a way of processing activity, replaying issues and concerns that happen in the day and by playing this out in our dreams we can, hopefully, come to some resolution. As a child, there was not a lot of resolution, just angst and my poor mum would be beside herself trying to help me.

As an adult, learning to identify how I am feeling and what the emotion associated with that is, is an ongoing part of developing my emotional intelligence. Spending a few moments each day checking in with our feelings, learning what triggers our move from a positive to negative state and most importantly, developing strategies that help you manage in the moment are key to building a bank of helpful behaviours. This is an important part of developing our emotional intelligence and one tool that I use on regular basis from PSI Services LLC is The Feelings Wheel (see image)

The Feelings Wheel is split into 4 zones; Energise, Renew, Stress and Burnout. Each zone has suggested descriptors of feelings that could be associated with each zone – although you are free to use your own as well. Look at the Feelings Wheel and ask yourself:

  • What percentage of time do you spend in each of the 4 zones?
  • What causes you to Stress or Burnout?
  • How do you Renew and Energise yourself?

Learning to notice and articulate our feelings and emotions as we go through our day, is a great way of identifying any early warning signs of stress. By becoming more consciously aware of how we are feeling, we are more likely to take steps which will prevent it escalating.

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