I might feel happy if:
- I'm smiling or laughing
- I am doing something I like
- I hear good news
What can I do?
- Share with someone
- Keep doing the activity
- Write down what happened
Happy is probably the easiest example, and to be honest it's the only one I can do like that. I know that the doctor at partial wants me to have cards for different emotions so that I know how to deal with them. But, back up a second. I can't consistently identify any emotions. Happy, sad, excited, and mad I can do with some consistency, but even then.... sad vs. disappointed vs. sorry... I can't seem to sort out. I need to be able to go through a step-by-step process: I am doing x, therefore I might feel y, and I can change that by doing z (if x is a negative emotion). Feelings that I'd like to be able to pick out better are excited (because I get carried away and annoy others), angry, sad, disappointed, frustrated, and anxious. I'm open to other suggestions for ones that could be important. I need to be able to identify those, then have ideas about what I can do to change them.
I know that I do feel emotions, it's just that they seem to be something that happens to me without reason, so it's confusing. I wish I could learn about emotions like I do about, say, history or math. Emotions do not exist on their own, they are not objective truths; they are subjective. Any one emotion is not inherently good or bad... right? So how do I know if I should attempt to change an emotion? Or maybe it's not changing it, but dealing with it properly that is important. Emotions are situational and change frequently, whether by outside circumstances or internal efforts. They are the one thing that we can truly control in our interactions with other people; as in, we cannot control their reactions to us, only our reactions to them. I guess emotions are more important than I like to give them credit for.
My emotions definitely affect how I act. For example, I wouldn't have my outbursts of IT if I weren't feeling something different. I just don't have any idea what that feeling is or how to put words to it. I hate to subscribe to an external locus of control like I'm about to do, but I certainly don't feel very much control over my emotions. They just seem to happen without rhyme or reason.
All of you mothers out there: work hard on labeling your children's emotions for them when they're young. Maybe they will be better able to internalize the whole idea of emotions, causes, and ways of coping without the external steps I'm needing to put in now. For example, if you say to your child enough times, "I see that you are frustrated because your blocks fell down. Let's work together to build them back up," maybe he will learn that frustrated is what he feels when something he wants goes wrong, and that one way to deal with that is to ask for help. Obviously I'm no expert, but something like that, done consistently, could have helped me a lot.
I wish I knew what the emotion is called when I lose my words. I think that they're half joking when they say it, but my friends actually do tell me to "use your words" every once in a while when I'm not happy and not talking. Sometimes, the words just float around in my brain and I can't peg them down to get them out of my mouth. I can't figure out why it happens sometimes and not others. It's almost always after I've been interacting with people for a while... I hit a wall, and I can't talk any more. But is there some emotion involved with that? Could I say, I might be feeling x if I've lost my words? Thoughts, anyone?