- Using Feelings Effectively
- Feelings and Mental Health
Using Feelings Effectively
A feeling is a state of mind. Feelings are spontaneous-neither good nor bad. Some feelings are pleasant, while others are unpleasant or uncomfortable and are, therefore, more difficult to manage. Although feelings are neither good or bad, the way people handle feelings may be positive or negative. For example, if a student is feeling frustrated with an assignment, the student might either ask the teacher for help or throw the textbook. The first response helps to resolve the feeling in a positive way. The second response will probably just cause additional frustration.
Feelings are important clues to the condition of people's mental health. Feelings let people know if their needs are getting met. Do they feel safe, loved, accepted and in control of their lives? If needs are not met, people can make changes or take actions to get what they need to stay mentally healthy.
Three questions can help people use feelings effectively:
When reacting to feelings, people need to take time to think about their reactions and to choose the one that is most likely to resolve the uncomfortable feeling.
Sometimes unpleasant feelings are extremely strong and/or they last a long time.
Sometimes people feel unable to perform their daily activities because they are overwhelmed by feelings. People who feel this way can get help from others who care about them. A parent or another family member may be a good person to talk with. Students may be able to share their feelings with a teacher, a club leader, a member of the clergy or another trusted adult.
School counselors are trained to help students with their feelings. It is illegal for counselors to tell anyone about their students' feelings unless they believe someone is in danger. The counselor's job is to help students. There are also agencies in the community that help students. Community professionals are trained to help students and families deal with problems.
Feelings and Mental Health
Feelings are a state of mind. They are spontaneous and should not be judged as either good or bad. Some feelings are pleasant, while others are unpleasant or uncomfortable and are more difficult to manage. Feelings are important clues to the condition of our mental health. Our feelings let us know if our needs are being met. Are we safe, loved, accepted and in control of our lives? If needs are not met, we can make changes or take action to get what we need to be mentally healthy.
Some people have difficulty identifying their feelings or determining the cause of feelings. They may have learned that strong feelings, particularly unpleasant ones, should not be examined or expressed. Other people are clearly aware of their feelings but react without thinking. Both of these patterns may contribute to poor mental health, because they don't lead to effective and healthy responses.
Although feelings are neither good nor bad, the responses we have to feelings may be positive or negative. For example, if I am feeling frustrated with an assignment, I could either ask my teacher for help or throw my book on the floor. The first response helps to resolve the feeling in a positive way. The second response may cause additional frustration.
Individuals express feelings in diverse and unique ways. Personal experience, culture and standards may influence reactions. There are many possible reactions to any one feeling or situation. The key to expressing feelings is a thoughtful response.
In order to use feelings to our advantage, we must ask three questions:
The attempt to answer these three questions helps us become more attuned to our mental health. Reacting in a positive way provides the sense of control that enables us to feel good about ourselves and to create healthy relationships with others.