Quite often we refer to emotions as good and bad. By labelling emotions this way we place a negative connotation on the emotions that may feel unpleasant for us, like anxiety.
Reframing the way in which we label emotions can be helpful in removing negative stigma attached to any of our emotions.
All emotions serve a purpose and are crucial for our survival.
Take sadness as an example. When we see someone crying what is our initial instinct?
To move toward them to comfort them! Sadness acts as a message to the person experiencing it as well as those around them. Sadness when evident through actions draws people closer soothing the person experiencing it.
Anger on other hand can do quite the opposite. If you hear someone screaming and yelling with clenched fists are you likely to approach or retreat?
Probably retreat. Anger can send the message to stay away. Quite often this can be what the person experiencing this unpleasant emotion needs. Anger lets us know that someone has overstepped our boundaries and to feel safe and comfortable we need them to move away.
Anxiety is yet another emotion that we quite often hear parents and caregivers talk about in relation to their young person. The important thing to understand is that anxiety can serve as a crucial emotion to keep young people safe.
Take for example a young person is in a situation where they feel peer pressured. If they are able to recognise the butterflies in their stomach and understand that they feel anxious they are probably more likely to have a response that keeps them safe like removing themselves from the situation.
Now that we understand a little more about what message emotions may be sending let’s try and practise using the words pleasant and unpleasant when we refer to emotions.
This can make a huge change in the way in which we think about certain emotions especially those that feel unpleasant in our bodies.
Remember all emotions are ok, they send us a message so we can react in a way that keeps us safe and thriving.
If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at [email protected]