People often dismiss emotions, feeling that their actions should be guided strictly by logic. In reality, emotions are helpful tools that can guide our decisions and behavior when we understand them and have mastery over them.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of feeling emotions and the top ways they can guide us to be our best selves.
The importance of feelings
Emotions can be strong or mild, long-lasting or short lived, commonplace or overwhelming. Regardless of what we’re feeling, though, emotions play an important and irreplaceable role in our lives.
The emotional aspect of our lives stems from the limbic system in the brain. This is composed of the hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala and limbic cortex. In addition to experiencing feelings, these sections of the brain—release hormones, process and store memories, respond to our environment and regulate mood.
The complex interplay of these systems in the brain is only partially understood by science, but what we do know tells us that our emotions are beneficial to our functioning, our survival and our quality of life. Emotions aren’t to be dismissed, and here’s why.
1. Emotions make life worthwhile
It goes without saying that people want to be happy. How do we become happy though? Fulfilling emotional experiences can help us attain a happy disposition. Even the negative emotions we face can lead to long-term joy.
Experiencing happiness doesn’t mean we must always be in a state of pure bliss. We can reflect on our sadness, anger and other negative feelings, and find meaning in the difficult moments. Many people are guided to meaningful lives through emotional experiences like relationships, spirituality, community, career success and so on.
2. Emotions help us communicate and bond with others
Humans are inherently social, and emotions help us to relate to others and create meaningful bonds with the people we care about. We express these emotions through our tone of voice, body language, facial expression and energy level.
Both our negative and positive emotions help us to socialize with others. We can empathize with others hardships, celebrate our friend’s successes and laugh with family. Sharing our emotional life with others can cycle back and have a positive impact on us. Though it’s commonly mislabeled as a weakness, vulnerability is true strength.
3. Emotions can help us make decisions
As kids are growing up, an important developmental milestone is the ability to identify and name emotions. This skill is no less important in adult life, although it becomes more complex. Naming emotions can be difficult too because so much of it happens subconsciously.
Our emotions, whether we’re aware of them or not, help us to make every-day decisions. While we always have personal agency over our own actions (historically called “free will”), many of our decisions are simply emotional reactions— and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
For example, when you wake up on a sunny day, you may experience a lifted mood. Without thinking about it, you may interact more kindly with your coworkers. In this way, emotions can guide us even when we’re unaware of them.
4. Emotions can cue us into danger
It’s likely that you can think of a story when you had a hunch that something was off. An inexplicable sensation in our gut, or intuition, is one of our best defense mechanisms. We can be alerted to big and small dangers by our emotions.
Non-clinical anxiety is one of the emotions that can help us identify impending stress or danger. The definition of anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear about a negative outcome. Though anxiety can get out of control, at its core, it’s a fear-response that’s meant to help us fight or flee.
5. Emotions help us to create
Our emotional life helps us to relate to others, and one of the ways we do that is by expressing ourselves through different mediums. Creating art through—music, theater, dance, painting, sculpting, writing and so forth—is a constructive outlet for understanding ourselves and the world.
The importance of feeling emotions is to manifest when we participate in the creation or appreciation of art. Without the sensations of everyday life, we wouldn’t have the joy of art.
6. Emotions can help you be successful in life
Emotional intelligence has become a recent buzzword, but the idea behind it is essential to communicating and thriving in daily life. Emotional intelligence helps us to identify, assess and control our behavior. This gives us a leg-up in our careers, family life and overall success.
For example, we all need self-control when it comes to speaking with others at work. Someone who has high emotional intelligence will be able to refrain from letting frustration with coworkers show, leading to better performance and success in a job.
The importance of feelings in mental wellness
Embracing your emotions is easier for some than others. Many people find themselves at the extremes, either suppressing feelings or letting the emotions be in control rather than a helpful guide. If you feel that your emotional wellbeing could use some support, Pyramid Online Counseling can help.
Reach out today so you can experience happiness in your daily life.