OK, now, let’s be honest. How often do you actually think about your own feelings?
Most of us can easily go through hours, days, weeks, or even months without ever giving our feelings one single thought. As a psychologist who specializes in Childhood Emotional Neglect or CEN, I talk with people about their emotions all the time, and that is how I know that this is true.
Usually, we are consciously aware of our feelings only in situations when we have strong ones. When it’s a major event like a wedding, a death, a graduation, or a disaster. When we are enraged, thrilled, excited, shocked, or joyous. When this is the case, you may take note within yourself what you are feeling, or even say to someone, “It was a great thrill,” “I’m devastated,” or “I’m so happy!” for example.
Yet, your emotions are an incredibly valuable resource. You were born with them literally wired into your brain and body for a very important reason. Your feelings give you constant feedback about what’s good and bad for you and everything in-between.
Your emotions are the deepest, most personal expression of who you are. When you know how to use them they are your most useful tool in this life to help you survive and thrive.
As you read the list below, please think about yourself and whether you can use some help in any of these areas. If so, you can take heart there is help indeed. The really great thing is that the help is right inside you right now.
All you need to do is pay attention!
14 Benefits of Paying Attention to Your Feelings Every Day
- You will learn about yourself. As the deepest expression of “you,” your feelings are your truest true. When you use your conscious mind to notice what you feel, you connect your brain to your body and you learn what you want, feel, and need. This gives you a deep feeling of truly knowing yourself.
- You’ll be more present in your body and in the moment. When you focus in on your body and ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” it grounds you. It connects you to your true self and puts you inside the present moment, and that automatically makes you stronger.
- You will make better decisions. Your feelings are what tell you what suits you best. What you love, what you like, what makes you happy or bored, or what simply feels right. When you pay attention to your emotional responses to things, your brain gets educated by your body and your body gets the advantages of your brain. In this way, you will be empowered to make choices that match your true self.
- You’ll be less vulnerable to what other people think. When you tune into your “gut” and you trust it you have a guide for life. This doesn’t mean you don’t take in feedback or opinions of others; it only means you’re not overly vulnerable to them.
- You will have the option to manage and control your feelings. When feelings are outside of your awareness they hold the power. They can make you say or do things you’ll later regret or hold you back from valuable opportunities. But when you’re aware of a feeling and name it for yourself, it allows you to manage the feeling instead of having it run the show.
- You’ll be able to connect with other people better. Being consciously aware of your feelings makes you more accessible. Why? Because when you wall off, repress, or ignore your feelings you are walling off, repressing, and ignoring your deepest self. This affects how others perceive you. People feel it when they’re not getting your full and true self.
- Other people will be more comfortable with you. Just as people sense when they’re not getting your full self, they also sense when they are. Think of someone you know who seems inherently authentic and trustworthy. They are probably aware of their emotions.
- You will have more energy. Emotions carry energy. Consider anger, passion, love, disgust, or joy, for example. When you feel them, they drive you and motivate you.
- You will have more direction. When you receive that burst of energy from a feeling and are aware of the feeling, it directs and guides you in your life.
- You will feel more worthy, confident, and valid. When you’re aware of your feelings and powered by them, when you mostly trust your gut and you know who you really are, you stop putting other people first. You realize that you are important. Deep down, you know that you matter.
- You will protect your own health. Repressed, blocked-off, unprocessed feelings can cause heart disease, back pain, hypertension, overeating, poor sleep, and many other physical problems. Consciously being aware of what you feel contributes to your overall physical health.
- You can protect yourself from others; and others from you. Emotional awareness forms a boundary between yourself of others. It permits you to filter and manage your reactions to others and also their actions and feelings toward you. In this way, emotional awareness is like a super-power.
- You will trust yourself more. Consciously making decisions based on what you feel in your own gut — instead of what other people think, for example — allows you to fine-tune your own choices and decisions. You won’t always make the right decision because no one does! But you will naturally learn from your own decisions, allowing you to fine-tune yourself. With better awareness of who you are your confidence in yourself will grow.
- You will experience life more fully. The world of emotion is both enriching and enlivening. With energy, direction, and deep knowledge of who you are and what you want you’ll have the confidence to take risks, make clear choices, and protect and direct yourself.
Powered by your feelings, grounded by the connection between your brain, gut, and heart, you can maximize all the gifts that, by simply being human, you were born with. Using them as they were meant to be used, you can become your truest true and your you-est you. All of this makes you stronger, surer, and better overall.
If you wonder about your own emotional awareness, find out more about yourself by taking the Emotional Neglect Test (link below). It’s free.
To learn how Childhood Emotional Neglect makes you out of touch with your feelings and much more about what to do about it see the book Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect (link below).