Girl Lying On Bed

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: 5 Steps I Take To Connect With My Emotions

“What’s wrong?”

“Don’t cry!”

“You’re being so dramatic.”

“Calm down.”

You respond, "I don't know! I don't know how I'm feeling or why I'm feeling it. I'm just sad and I don't know why. I'm happy but I don't know why. I'm all over the place and I don't know why." 

Sound familiar? Experiencing this type of extreme isolation throws our moods into huge swings and they last longer than normal because we have no one to balance how we feel as we normally would.

What if feeling these feelings - sadness, stress, anger confusion - was okay? These are your emotions, and they may be trying to tell you something. So why not listen to them? They are out to protect you, not get you. When you do not listen or struggle to recognize them, they start to speak louder and louder, and at some point will blow up in your face. At that point, they are so much harder to deal with. So, it is time to listen. It is time to connect with our emotions. Here are the 5 steps I take when I need to pay a little closer attention: 

  1. 1. Ask yourself, "How are you feeling?" 

    A photo of scrabble words assembled to spell "anxiety"

    This is the hardest question. What if you cannot explain it? It is up to you to start spitting out emotions. Yes, names. Yes, labels. Putting a finger to your emotions is a sense of comfort because now you know what you are dealing with. All you have to do next is figure out how to deal with it. You may not yet know why you are feeling this way, but you do know what it is. To aid in this process, try referring to this Emotion Chart - it is a wheel of a range of feelings that will likely cover most of what is going on. 

  2. 2. Connect each feeling to its trigger, if it exists

    Celina Timmerman-Overalls Tattoos And Stripes

    I draw out a table here. Once I have pointed the finger, I assess the causes. What is causing me to feel this way? When it is particularly challenging to figure out, I write out nearly everything I did that day and then start to eliminate. Then, I come to a general idea of my triggers.

  3. 3. Now, it's time to do some listening

    I have filled in the blanks: I feel _________ because _________. I listened to my emotions. Now, I decide what to do with that information. I do this by following Amber Rae’s approach to dealing with your feelings, where you speak to yourself from the point of view of that feeling. Let's take anxiety as an example:

    Dear Nicolette,

    It’s Anxiety here. I am just here to keep you safe. I know I get in the way of your everyday life and I feel like a burden to you, but it’s just because I care about you. When your hands start to sweat, it’s because you are in an unfamiliar environment, and I want you to start feeling more comfortable in those places so I don’t have to show up in the form of hand sweat. 


    Dear Nicolette,

    It’s Stress here. I’ve appeared because you’ve been procrastinating. And I’m here to signal that this whole procrastination thing doesn’t work for you. So, thank you for hearing me out. Please take some time away from this assignment, feel more relaxed and then go back. I promise I won’t make another appearance.

    You get the idea. Try this for whatever feeling is seemingly present.

  4. 4. Let's make some changes

    Silver macbook by planner and flowers

    The hard part is over. Now, I decide the changes I am going to make in order to feel more or less of that specific emotion. I make decisions that make emotional boundaries. It is time to make a game plan.

    I ask myself the following questions: 

    Do I like this feeling? Do I need more of it? Less of it? What will I do less and more of? Who will I speak to less? Who I will speak to more? What makes me feel better, and what doesn’t? This is where you make concrete changes. This is your game plan. 

  5. 5. Check in with yourself

    Now you ask yourself, "How do I feel now that I have listened and made changes accordingly?" 

    What are you doing more and less of? How has that made a difference for you? What do you need more or less of now? 

I hope this guide helped! Check out my Instagram for more microblogs, posts & overall content! And feel free to reach out, would love to chat!