Discovering the Message in Each Emotion

dealing with emotions

“But feelings can’t be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem.” — Anne Frank 

Imagine living without emotions. You don’t have to be worried about deadlines. No more overthinking at night about the criticism that you received during lunchtime. Or you don’t have to be embarrassed about cringe-y stuff that you did last year. Some life situations may bring up a bunch of emotions that you just don’t want to deal with. It feels like the world is crumbling around you and it would be better if you can just ignore the loud voices of emotions in your head.

Emotions seem to make life messy, but they are inherent in you and if you pay close attention to your feelings, you might find important messages about yourself. It can also help with maintaining your mental health since, by understanding which emotion is impaired, you can integrate this knowledge into psychotherapy approaches with the hopes of increasing their efficacy and effectiveness. Hence, what message is your emotion trying to tell you?


Since people often relate anger to destruction and impulsiveness, it is most often suppressed. However, anger reveals your sense of fairness. When you feel anger, you may perceive a circumstance as being unfair to you or the people and things that you care about, which means anger motivates you to create fairness. But remember, being violent in expressing anger is not acceptable. To bring a positive message, you need to deal with anger constructively. 


Have you ever been in a situation where you need to say goodbye to the people that you love or where you realize that you need to let go of a desire? In such situations, you might feel your heart drop and tears fall. Those are some of the most common bodily sensations when sadness appears. Sadness is usually associated with grief and it brings the worst bodily sensations. However, just like any other emotion, it is normal to experience sadness. This emotion tells you that you lost something important to you. Hence, sadness could be an important fuel for you to get back to who or what was lost or replace the loss of an important person or thing. 


Loneliness is a pandemic for adults in modern society. For instance, in the Netherlands, the prevalence of loneliness among young adults is 39.7%, whereas in early and late middle-aged adults, it was 43.3% and 48.2%. 

Loneliness tells you that you need to be with someone that you cared for, or maybe with someone who cares about you. It reminds you that you are a social creature and you need to get out of isolation. By doing so, you can get satisfaction from experiencing being loved or being part of a group.


The feeling of insecurity might emerge around work or school. For instance, you may feel that you didn’t perform at the level needed. Or when your supervisor believes that you need to improve in a certain area. Insecurities tell you to reflect on whether you are inadequate, or you simply need to change your perspective. This way, insecurities might become a motivation for you to acquire new skills or a chance to practice self-compassion. 


Stress is inevitable. Every person on the planet experiences stresses at some point in their life. Rather than eliminating it all over, it is better to learn how to manage it. Stress may come as another form of fear which warns you that something bad might happen if you don’t do things well enough. This means you have to do what needs to be done, to reduce or eliminate the chance of being hurt. Stress may also be a sign that you have too many commitments. In this case, you need to learn to set boundaries and say no. 

In conclusion

Everyone is born with emotions. To put them to good use, you have to take the time to be aware of them, as well as the message associated with each of them. This way, you will be able to know what you need, want, and desire. Then, choose a reassuring response and take appropriate actions to create a satisfying life. Regardless of where you are on the path to a more fulfilling life, you have emotions as a powerful tool to help you along the way.

To better understand your emotions, the Personal Science Labs produces courses, certifications, videos, podcasts, and other learning materials on emotions. These tools and resources are based on the research of the Institute for Life Management Science. Visit the Personal Science Labs today.

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