I’m really excited to kick off this four-part article series on emotions! Read all four articles using the links below.
There’s a big difference between feeling an emotion, which is generally a passing phase that may last from a couple of minutes to a couple of days. When you struggle with a particular emotion and can’t break free, this may lead to a mood issue.
Long Term Stress
Chronic, long term stress is very detrimental to health. In fact, most modern day diseases are linked to stress in one way or another. Unlike momentary stress which is used to kick us into gear, chronic stress can lead to overreactions to small frustrations and feed emotions such as anger and sadness, and impede on our ability to “bounce back”. It may even lead to more serious conditions, such as depression or anxiety.
Depression and Anxiety
These are two very serious mood disorders that are not easily overcome. There are many many many elements that may contribute to a mood disorder, and go well beyond that of an emotion. These are more like states of being, that cloud every element of life.
If you are struggling with either of these conditions, I highly recommend you seek professional help to talk through what’s going on.
In addition, I recommend investigating dietary health which can have a huge impact on these mood disorders. Choose a SLOW food diet and you are well on your way to a better mood. Food can be medicine, so be mindful of what you put on your plate.
For further information on the link between food and mood, check out Dr Josh Axe’s article here.
If you find yourself in a bit of a funk continuously for a few days or weeks, it can be really hard to break this cycle. Practising gratitude is a such a simple way to shift your focus on what you do have, as opposed to what’s lacking.
Happiness is beyond that of a fleeting emotion. According to the Dalai Lama in his book The Art of Happiness, happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events, and the ability to be happy is in everyone’s nature. Happiness as an emotion can be found through love, affection, closeness and compassion. Overall happiness as mood or state of mind is reached by keeping peace with others and one’s self, through meditation and community service. Therefore, the Dalai Lama concludes that finding things that give our life meaning, leads to overall happiness.
Poem from Rumi – The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
~Jelaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks
Emotion Series Wrap Up
As I wrap up this four-part article series on expressing emotions, emotional health and emotions vs mood, I would like to share this little video.
The key isn’t to stop feeling….it’s to start.
If you are still struggling with these emotions, I encourage you to speak with a counsellor or psychologist who can guide you through a healing process.