Emotional Rescue: Using Mindfulness to Reset Your Reactions

When something goes wrong, do you have the urge to ignore your emotions or react to them? Your response might tell you something about your habits of mind.

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The idea of emotional awareness can seem almost mundane. Most of us recognize the benefits of being conscious of our emotions on some level. Yet, being skillful with our emotions isn’t just about recognizing when we feel happy, angry, or sad. Awareness means noticing all of our emotions, and then making active choices about whether we need to take action or whether it’s best to leave things alone.

As with body sensations, being mindful of emotions creates practical awareness of something that profoundly impacts our lives. It’s not a cliché that bottling up emotions creates internal pressure, much like shaking a bottle of carbonated soda. And it’s not a platitude that simply describing and labeling how we feel can decrease the hold some emotions have over us. But those ideas only scratch the surface. Without greater awareness, unattended emotions may steer us away from longer term happiness and well-being.

Seeing Emotion as It Really Is

All emotions have a reason to exist, a point made resoundingly well in the hit movie Inside Out. There’s no point suppressing how we feel or being annoyed at anything in particular. Joy is great, but anger, sadness, fear, disgust—they all…