Acceptance of Emotions

Most adults today did not grow up with parents who communicated about emotions. Emotions were not labeled, discussed, and certainly were not all treated equally. Parents want children to feel joy, excitement, love, calm, etc. and generally work to quell anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, or stress. Parents act out different emotions in the home without necessarily labeling them as they are occurring. There are a lot of emotions that all humans feel and the science of happiness teaches that all are part of human experience.

I had always heard of positive emotions and negative emotions. The good ones and the bad ones. I invite all of you to change your language and bucket your emotions as either pleasant, unpleasant or painful. This is from Tal Ben-Shahar’s, Ph.D happiness studies and is profound. No emotion is bad or wrong and everyone has unpleasant or painful emotions. Anger, anxiety, and sadness can be very painful and life feels wonderful when we are filled with peace and awe. You can meditate on your emotions and develop a non-judgmental view of all of them. Observe yourself when you are anxious, angry or stressed and notice your thoughts and behaviors when you are feeling these emotions.  

When we are feeling painful emotions, it is beneficial to journal in detail about your experience and/or talk to someone about what you are going through. Numerous studies have proven the benefits of journaling when going through or after having difficult life experiences. When you sit with painful thoughts and re-think about them over and over, it makes you less happy.

A happy life is not one void of painful emotions. Life can be extremely hard at times and this is part of the human experience. Accepting that there are peaks and valleys is one step in the direction to living a happier life.

Tia Graham