One of the most complicated issues people face on a daily basis is dealing with their emotions. There are certain emotions that are simple to comprehend and communicate, such as your current likes and dislikes. There are, however, several other sentiments that you are unable to fully comprehend or even begin to convey. At least not until you make an effort to understand it and the reasons behind such emotions.
As emotional beings, we are hardwired to feel emotions. You alone decide how you understand, accept, and adapt to them. It's undeniable that things get a bit more challenging when you don't really grasp what you are experiencing, which is why it's crucial to understand your emotions deeply.
The Importance of Being In Touch With Your Emotions
Emotions are what drive all of your behaviors, whether they be pleasant or unpleasant. This has an impact on cognitive functions like perception, attention, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem-solving (Tyng et. al, 2017). Emotions also have an impact on many aspects of life at a more personal level, including motivation, relationships with others and ourselves, and decision-making. Simply put, your emotions have an impact on your behavior in the present and the future—particularly the latter when it comes to unsolved emotions.
Positive emotions, like happiness, enthusiasm, contentment, love, and such, are indicators of flourishing or ideal wellbeing (Fredrickson, 2001). Negative emotions are equally important in our lives as positive ones are. Your ability to confront and regulate emotional distress is even more important to the state of your mental health since improper management of negative emotions can result in issues such as depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
The Perpetual Cycle of Mental Illness
Do you ever feel as if you’re going around in circles? Like when you're happy one day and then the following day you're not, or when you're at a high point in your life one day and then spiral downward the next. Here’s the thing: Life isn't all about the good things, so what you’re going through is normal. What’s not ideal is when you are in a cycle of unhealthy mental state. At this point, prioritizing your mental health becomes imperative.
How Do You Know When You Need to Seek Help?
It is never simple to ask for help since doing so would require you to face your feelings, which may be particularly challenging when you feel that you are struggling alone. It also gets overwhelming because of not knowing what to do or where to begin. Remember that you are never alone and that there is always someone you can turn to for support if you feel like you are struggling alone. Although every situation, emotion, and feeling may be different for each person, behaviors from the list below that are excessive or persistent indicate that you should seek assistance.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI; 2020) lists the following indications that someone should seek help:
Struggling to work, parent or keep up at home
Unable to handle stress with normal coping strategies
Difficulty maintaining a healthy appetite or experiencing significant weight loss
Using drugs or alcohol to cope
Engaging in risk-taking behaviors
Unable to focus
Lack of interest in activities that once brought enjoyment
Fear of being around others, even children or family
Mistrust of people they normally confided in or counted on
A sense of guilt and unworthiness
Restlessness or agitation
Anger and violent outbursts
Different Ways to Seek Help
The process of actually soliciting assistance might be just as challenging as recognizing when you need it, but you shouldn't let that stop you in any situation. There are several avenues you may ask for assistance, as well as many individuals around that you can approach anytime you need it. A few examples are as follows.
Family and Friends – By being open with those you trust and who are close to you, you may be able to better understand your feelings, your situation, and even your alternatives. They could provide assistance or encourage you to seek professional help.
Peer Support – It would be reassuring to be able to share your experiences with others who have had a similar situation since they will understand, support, and listen to you. This could also raise your awareness of the necessity for self-care and provide solutions.
Third Sector Organizations – Various local and international organizations provide assistance through helplines, listening services, information, signposting, and other services including crisis care, peer support, and many more.
Student Services – Institutions typically provide counseling services for support to students.
Workplace Support – Some companies have a corporate psychologist you may see, while others provide free access to support services for employees.
Doctor – Your doctor can offer support and treatments, give you more details about your symptoms and/or diagnosis, and possibly make a referral to a mental health professional.
Health Care Professional/s – The best help you can get is from a professional since they are prepared for such conditions. These include your psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist, physician assistant, and a lot of other experts.
Never Be Ashamed
Mental health is equally just as important as physical health. The act of seeking professional guidance is not anything to be ashamed of. If anything, it’s something to be proud of. What matters is that you are willing to work on yourself and that you are being true to your emotions. Making progress toward reaching your potential involves taking action, no matter how small or substantial that step may be.
Elmer, J. (2022). Why Are Feelings Important? Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/why-are-feelings-important#why-emotions-matter Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. The American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226. https://doi.org/10.1037//0003-066x.56.3.218 Mental Health: Signs That Someone May Need Help. (2020). Anthem. https://www.anthem.com/coronavirus/blog/well-being-and-community/mental-heath-signs-that-someone-may-need-help/ Seeking help for a mental health problem. (2017). Mind. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/seeking-help-for-a-mental-health-problem/where-to-start/ Tyng, C. M., Amin, H. U., Saad, M. N. M., & Malik, A. S. (2017). The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01454