My inquiry question is: How can mindfulness help us identify and manage our emotions?
Round 3 research: Why is it important to be mindful of our emotions?
No one likes pain. So you might wonder, why would you want to remain open to feeling these painful and uncomfortable emotions? Well, turning away from these emotions doesn’t make them disappear; in fact, attempting to hide them might make you feel worse. By practicing mindfulness and learning how to face them, we eventually learn how to manage our emotions. (1)
From the previous two blog posts, we learned multiple ways mindfulness benefits us in our lives. This practice helps us improve our well-being, physical health, and mental health. It also helps us increase our cognitive flexibility, and focus, and possibly decreases cognitive decline from aging or Alzheimers. Moreover, we learned the abbreviation RAIN, which are four steps that help us deal with negative emotions. We also discovered that mindfulness helps us calm down, develop various skills, learn how to approach negative emotions, and how to recover from them. In this blog post, I will be summarizing three top reasons, in my opinion, why it is important to be mindful of our emotions.
Being mindful of our emotions allows us to stay calm. In the busy world we live in, chances are, either you are under stress, or you know someone is. In situations like this, it is very important we learn to manage our emotions so that we can maneuver our way through difficult situations. We need to make sure we are in the right mindset, be openly aware, and be present so that we don’t get caught up in our negative thoughts(2). When we are calm, we are able to stick to our reasons, not let the negative emotions take over, and make rational choices.
By practicing mindfulness, we also learn to be open to facing our negative emotions. This allows us to not get stuck in negative thinking patterns(2). There are three things we can do with emotions: pushing away, pulling toward, or ignoring (3). Mindfulness allows us to understand that emotions are like a “colour, tone or energy that is added to a concept”(3). We learn that emotions don’t label us, they are normal feelings human beings have. For example, when a person is angry, there is a difference between thinking “I’m an angry person,” versus “this situation is what’s making me angry.” By practicing mindfulness, we learn to recognize our negative emotions, break them down, and work with them.
Practicing mindfulness also sends ripples into the world around us. Managing our emotions is an inner practice, but what is internal can become external. Our thoughts and feelings impact our outward actions (4). Your emotions can also impact others’ emotions. For example, we often want to be around people that are calm and are able to handle pressure. Their emotions can provide us a sense of reliability, and allow us to grow calm. The insights we encounter through practicing mindfulness can also encourage us to take action in the world (4). These actions can positively impact others around the world.