What Is Emotional Awareness? Why Do We Need It?

What is Emotional Awareness?  Why do we need it?

Emotional awareness is like the awakening of our emotional intelligence. At this step, we recognize and determine our moods that are beneath all the mist. We take control of our lives. It’s definitely a skill we all need to develop. It is also a powerful tool that helps us to better manage our emotions.

But it is not easy to use this tool. Why? Because emotional experiences vary. Sometimes they are unpredictable and chaotic. We have all been in such a situation before. Then we are trapped in a place where we can only see negative feelings. Our health deteriorates because a total chaos of feelings act like invisible thorns. They empty our minds and turn us into shadows of our true selves.

In fact, many of us end up in the therapist’s office. We then say things like  “no one understands me.” Or we say,  “I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, I’m exhausted.” But we very rarely experience genuine emotional awareness. We fail when we have to identify what is behind our sadness or fatigue.

Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman explains it in books like “Emotional Intelligence.”  According to Goleman, being aware of one’s emotions helps you adapt to life’s challenges. Constantly dwelling on what we feel and what lies behind our state of mind has a direct impact on our well-being. In addition, it gives us strategies to deal with possible depression and other psychological disorders.

We need emotional awareness

What is emotional awareness and why do we need it?

Did you know that about 250 words are cataloged to describe different kinds of emotions and feelings? But how many of these words do we know? Did we as children learn how to use them? Knowing how to recognize and name our feelings will really give us a better life.

That is why we all need to develop a real emotional awareness. These are just a few reasons to do so:

  • To recognize and reflect on your moods so that you can make better decisions.
  • To understand other people’s emotions and deal with them better.
  • Emotional awareness helps you set boundaries so you can protect yourself.
  • It helps you get to know yourself better.

Finally, there is another interesting fact. People with good emotional intelligence are at a lower risk of anxiety, depression and related disorders.

Different Levels of Emotional Awareness

Different Levels of Emotional Awareness

One of the best skills we can teach our children is how to develop real emotional awareness. We then enable them to think about their emotions from an early age. They learn to name their feelings and to manage them in the right way. All of this will give them a better chance of social success and maybe even academic success.

Let’s take a closer look at some key parts of the  Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale  (eLEAS) to better understand this. The psychologists Lane and Schwartz designed this scale.

eLEAS

  • Recognize the feeling. Every emotion has a physical influence that we should be aware of. You may feel a change in your heart rate, or a knot in your stomach…
  • What kind of reaction does it elicit in you? Emotions have an adaptive function. Some emotions push us to action with all the energy they give us. Identify the energy behind an emotion.
  • Identify the basic emotion. Every sensation, any mental state begins with a basic emotion. We can identify it when it occurs. Do I feel angry? Am I sad?
  • What are the emotions that lie behind or accompany the basic emotion? This step needs more depth, more sensitivity and, above all, more courage. Why? Because it is not easy to accept negative emotions. Behind a basic emotion, there can be an entire maze full of dark corners. You will have to shine some light on this. Sometimes behind sadness is frustration, anger and disappointment. Sometimes behind my anger there can be a monster composed of loss or unrequited expectations.
Emotional awareness

We conclude with this summary. These strategies will help you shape yourself into an emotionally competent person. This will have a direct and positive impact on your mental health. Emotional awareness is like a conductor’s baton. We use it to orchestrate a happier life. It is the compass that leads us in a more satisfying direction. There we know ourselves better and have more control over our lives.

Let’s get started today!

Bibliographic references

Bisquerra, J. and Perez, N. (2007). The emotional competences. Educcion XXI, 10, 61 – 82.

Rieffe, C., Villanueva L., Adrián, J.E. and Gómz, AB (2009). Somatic complaints, mental states and emotional awareness in adolescents. Psicothema, 3,459 – 464.

Stegge, H. and Meerum Tewogt, M. (2007). Consciousness and regulation of emotion in typical and non-typical development. In JJ Gross (Ed.), Handbook of emotion regulation (pp. 269 – 286). New York: Guilford Press.

Lambie, J.A. and Marcel, A.J. (2002). Consciousness and the variety of emotional experience: A theoretical framework. Psychological Review, 109, 219-259.

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