Emotions are an essential part of who you are. Emotions can be complicated, confusing, uncomfortable, and even messy.
When a friend asks you, “How are you doing?” What do you say? Do you have a default response?
For the vast majority of us (myself included) we tend to answer on autopilot, without actually reflecting on and sharing our true feelings. Common responses are:
“I’m okay” “Busy” “Hangin’ in there” “Good” "Tired" “Fine”
Now, I recognize that “How are you doing?” is generally a common courtesy greeting, which most of the time isn’t an invitation to offer your true feelings.
However, when a friend or loved one asks you on text, email, or in conversation, “How are you doing?” And you answer with “fine” or “okay” and offer no follow-up or elaboration on how you're feeling and what’s really going on in your life, it’s doing you, and the other person, a disservice. It’s kind of a conversation stopper! Right?
We are complex humans with complex emotions. Summing up how you’re doing or feeling with “fine” or “okay” is, quite frankly, a cop-out.
Knowing how to name your feelings and to actually talk about them — with both yourself and others — is a foundational to your emotional health.
Please hear this: I always want to know how you are doing and how you are feeling.
I’ve been asking those near and dear to me, “How are you feeling?” and here are some recent answers:
“Inspired and hopeful” “Struggling” “Living my best life” “It’s a rollercoaster”
To me, these answers invite a conversation. I’ve also gotten lots of “okay” and “good” and “fine.” I’ve answered that way too!
My question to you is, are you actually really just “fine?” Because I believe you are more emotionally intelligent and complex than just “fine,” my friend.
Look, I get it. Some of us simply do not want to feel our feelings or to go deeper and get emotionally honest with ourselves and others.
But I am here to challenge you to do just that.
Because getting in touch with your true feelings and expressing them with trusted people is a key to supporting a healthy self.
This opening up creates an opportunity to have real dialogue with those around you, which ultimately brings world peace!
Well, maybe not world peace but it definitely brings connection and healing to you and others.
An inability, or a resistance to identify, feel, and share your feelings, creates stress in the body. And we know stress causes illness and disease.
Studies show that suppressing feelings (sadness, frustration, grief, anger) has a correlation to high cortisol, aka the “stress hormone,” which, when chronically high, decreases immune function. Over time, unacknowledged emotions/stress can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, memory issues, anxiety, and depression. Wow.
Over the past few days, here are some of the the feelings I have felt:
Beautiful Inspired Lonely Under-appreciated Calm Focused Insecure Nostalgic Disappointed Introspective Grateful Proud
When someone asks how I’m doing, I want to be emotionally honest and I have been attempting to share more descriptive words for my feelings and what’s going on -- for the sake of my emotional, physical, and mental health and for the sake of my relationships.
I recommend swapping the habitual, "How are you doing?" for "How are you feeling today?" or "How are you feeling about your life?" as this will hopefully elicit an authentic response, and open up a meaningful conversation with the person you asked.
With all this in mind and heart, here are some emotions to contemplate that might resonate with how you’re feeling right now:
Overwhelmed, compassionate, lost, joyful, relieved, lonely, curious, connected, panicked, desperate, resourceful, infuriated, bitter, content, excited, gloomy, free, contemplative, heartbroken, grounded, elated, neglected, amazing, doubtful, confused, peaceful, driven, trusting, damaged, delighted, encouraged, creative, deflated, renewed, crushed, tender, accepting, sorrowful, exuberant, dejected, invigorated, longing, tenacious, pensive, vibrant
I invite you to join me in being more than just “fine.”
So, how are you feeling today?
P.S. I’M GOING LIVE TOMORROW! Join me tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17 at 12pm EST, Live on my Facebook page, Alyssa at Wellness HQ for “The Emotional & Mental Health Connection”
WHAT: The Emotional & Mental Health Connection WHEN: Wed. 6/17 at 12pm EST / 11am CST / 9am PST WHERE: LIVE on my Facebook page, Alyssa at Wellness HQ.
P.P.S. Reminder! I am offering you a FREE 60 minute online “attending to your feelings” session with the goal of emotional understanding, connectedness, and healing. Reply back and let’s set it up!
June 16, 2020