In this episode of The Samantha Leith Podcast we take a look at Emotions, Feelings and Moods. Taken from episodes 27-30 of The Samantha Leith Show.
Welcome to the Samantha Leith show with me. Yep, you guessed it. Samantha Leith. Each month we dive into a different topic, and this month is all about emotions, feelings, and moods. What they are, how we use ’em, the good, the bad, and the what, the and how we can get a true handle on them to help us with our extraordinary lives.
FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS
Those physical changes form the emotion that may be labeled fear, and these changes are usually unconscious and instinctive, primal, if you will take the same situation. Yep. I’ve been running through an airport barefoot with Maha Hills in my hand. It’s horrible. The feeling you might be experiencing is worry if you miss the plane, you won’t get to the meeting on time, then you may lose the deal, which will impact your mortgage and so on and so on and so on. Ah, this is the neocortical region of your brain at work. Assigning meaning to the emotion that’s well run the race in that situation. See so close, but different and the situation doesn’t even need to be real. Thinking about snakes can actually trigger the same emotion and feeling as seeing one next to you in the garden.
To put in another way, emotions are the data of the situation and the feelings of the story or the narrative, and yet two people can be in exactly the same situation and experience different emotions and feelings.
I really love this description by Dr. Sarah McKay, who’s a neuroscientist and the author of the Your Brain Health Blog. Emotions play out in the theater of your body. Feelings play out in the theater of the mind.
Over the years, many a smart person has tried to create the perfect list of emotions and feelings, and I’m not sure they ever will. As we understand our humanness, the lists that do exist will probably change. UC Berkeley researchers identified 27 categories of emotions. Do the Robert Pol check proposed eight primary emotions. The Juto wheel uses six, and the Geneva wheel uses 20. Some say there are around 34,000 emotions, so you can see what they’ve really tried to simplify it. So if there’s all these different emotions, how many feelings are there? Again, it’s something that hasn’t been agreed on. If you go to the Google and investigate it, lists range from dozens to hundreds.
The Hoffman Institute has a great one, and I love Daniel Le Port’s list of core desired feelings. Well, why do we even need to know or even care that they’re different? Bottom line, it helps us to be able to understand ourselves and navigate this thing called life. Being able to name the feeling and know how the emotion is showing up physically can help us to self-regulate and get back in balance. Even a simple breathing exercise in the midst of a chaotic emotion can shift you outta that state in seconds. This awareness also helps us in our decision making, which given most of us suffer regularly from decision fatigue is definitely a good thing.
I am so mad, I don’t wanna be here. You always make me do things I don’t wanna do. Why won’t you listen? Blood is boiling. My fists are clenched, my heart is racing. My eyes are getting really crinkly and I do not want to do this. Scientists have shown that emotions come first. Then as those chemicals go to work in our body, our thinking steps up and creates the feelings so we know that there’s a physical link between them. Maybe I should just stop there. Done. I can go. Can I go? Yeah, I think I can go. There’s so much more though. I recently became aware of the link between heart rate variability, for example, and emotion. This variability when it’s out of whack shows your bodies in a state of fight or flight or heightened stress. And whilst there are many physical things like deep breathing and general fitness that can help this better emotional regularity has a huge impact. So can this physical connection be a good thing? Absolutely. Understanding how our body reacts and starts this process allows us to remove some of the muck in our brains that has us going.
But I don’t understand why this core emotion that comes up can almost act as a guidepost for further understanding. The feeling that then comes to the surface and then the mood, that’s the umbrella for all of it. Okay, I’m confusing myself here. Take a back step. Umbrella’s. Guidepost. Ah. What exactly do I mean? Time plays an important part in all of this, so let’s break it down that way. Emotions, feelings, and moods are with us always and a highly variable. The physical reaction in our body to a circumstance triggers the emotion, which in turn can make us aware of a feeling and as we process or don’t process the feeling, it impacts our more generalized mood in that moment and the moods of all of those around us. I know picture this, you’ve had a busy day rushing home to get dinner on. You take a few corners too quickly, scowl and some other drivers and slam on your brakes in the driveway with your heart racing anger is risen to but you on the bum and you are feeling resentful and irritated with the world. First, your boss gave you an extra task this afternoon in making you late, and he spoke to you in that tone that you hate. Then the traffic sucked. And now, now again, you’re thinking, why the hell do I have to be the one to make dinner? We both work. What makes them so important that they get to come home and have it all done for them? Huh? Huh, huh? Watch out world. They walk in the door and it’s worse. You forgot to turn the stove off in time. Your son is a stain on his new shirt and your partner doesn’t even ask how your day was. Next thing you know, the conversation is short. Your sun is acting up and that black cloud of your moon has rained down, soaking everyone. Ugh. The reverse is also true.
Can you remember a time when you haven’t wanted to go to an event and then you end up having the best time ever? You walk in the music’s pump in, someone shows you some love, you move, your body conversations flow, and you become re-energized with a bounce in your step and a faith restored in the world. You may look at both scenarios and think you can’t do anything about it because of the physiology. You would be mistaken, my friend. There are many ways in which we become better at self-regulation with emotions, feelings, and moods.
THE WHEEL OF EMOTIONS
I’m so happy. Yay. I asked a gazillion times if we could come here and we did. Oh, I feel like I’m walking 10 feet tall. My body feels so light and airy. My eyes are wide open and my mouth just can’t stop smiling.
Psychologist, Robert, pk. I hope I said that right, created the PCH model, the wheel of emotions, breaking it down into eight core emotions, and I happen to like this model joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust. On the wheel, they’re positioned with their opposite joy and sadness for example. As I said in last week’s episode, these emotions are neutral and your body’s way of signaling you in a situation, creating the physiology to go with it. Disgust and trust, for example, would lead you to wanna reject or embrace a situation. The model also shows the intensity of the emotions. Fear, for example, at a more intense level could be described as terror, and depending on the person, that same situation may spark anticipation. Seems confusing, but it’s really not. We should just have been taught about it in school. Add that to the list.
The emotions are also shown to combine. Joy plus trust, for example, creates love. Hmm. Along with the internal changes of an emotion, we can often show external signs of the emotion. Fearful. You may have wide eyes, intense, stretched lips. On the other hand, when you’re experiencing sadness, there may be a loss of focus or tears in your eye, and some may even say, turn that frown upside down. Once we can objectify the emotion, we can look at what prompted it and our reaction to it and understand how where possible and where needed we can help ourselves. As I said, there’s also the Junto and Geneva wheels of emotions which explore similar concepts and they’re in the downloads.
Now let’s look at feelings. Depending on where you look, you’ll find lists of all sizes with feeling words from admiration to zeal. There’s something for everything. Then there’s the ones we make up. Are you fuddled like I am? You’ll know the ones that are more common for you, and there’s a great power that comes from being able to name it. Much like feelings, there are many words to describe your general mood, and in lots of cases they’re the same words. And some would simply say, good mood, bad mood, happy mood, sad mood. A mood can also come into a room with someone. Have you ever thought someone walked into a room at a black cloud of sadness above them or as if they’d had champagne, bubbles of happiness popping all around them?
In this month’s worksheet, there’s a track for your emotions, your feelings, and your moods. Use this to monitor how you go and when looking over it, get online and see if maybe there’s a better word to describe how you’re feeling. You may just learn a new word. The worksheet asks the following questions, what was the situation? Where, and what did you notice in your body? What is the core emotion you would associate it with it? What feelings came to the surface? How did this impact your current mood? What action, if any, did you take to change the situation? It wasn’t till last year that I actually started to pay attention to where I experienced things in my body. And once you start, huh, I could sense the warmth growing in my chest or the little bubbles in my leg veins, it’s quite magical really. All the stuff is happening to us that’s really creating our own encyclopedia of self as we age. I doubt we’ll ever run outta things to learn about ourselves, and this has me feeling inquisitive and hopeful.
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE FEELINGS
This is such a waste of time and money. I can’t believe people like this place. My eyeballs feel like they’re drying up and my chest is tight and I can feel those tiny little bubbles in my veins. My mouth is tight and dry. Ugh, maybe I wanna vomit. If you’re happy and you know I clap your hands, I’m happy all the time. I swear. If someone says this, I call bullshit. It’s simply not possible. Bad things happen and to good people, and if you are happy about that, then new idea may need some help. I can’t even agree with life being 50 50. It’s not a perfectly shaped cake that you can cut down. The middle life is a collection, a kaleidoscope. There’s a gazillion feeling words in the world because there’s a gazillion of feelings. You can absolutely be like me, someone who searches to find the glass half full, but sometimes it’s really not, and that’s life.
There’s so many things outside our control, wars, elections, environmental catastrophes, child trafficking, and so much more on a large scale and then closer to home. It might be things like price hikes, getting cut off in traffic, or yet another reality TV show that has your emotions rising up to bite you in the bum. You’ll feel things positive and negative. It’s your fabulous humanness. If your goal in life is to be happy all the time, you are setting yourself up to fail. And here’s a secret, failing at that goal will not help you to feel happy. One thing we can do is tip the scales in a better direction, and we can do that by understanding why we feel the way we feel. Recently I felt terrible, like truly terrible as someone who’s had two failed suicide attempts best I’ve ever had, I know what to feel depressed and not being able to get out of it is like, and this wasn’t it.
I could list the things that were making me feel down in simple terms. I spoke to my therapist. Yep, we should all have one people even in the good times. And I explained how I felt and why the culmination of two years of the pandemic taking a toll on my business and social life, any extroverts feel me there. Sydney being a rain bomb that flooded parts, my house and my soul. And to top it all off, I got Covid and was really sick. Life wasn’t all bad. There was still some fabulous things I could be happy about including this show. But things like my routine and immaculate house exercise in a social life had gone out the window and with it my mood. So I did what I help other people to do. I recognized and named what I was experiencing. I looked for ways I could improve it, and I got to work.
I made more phone calls, made sure I got out into sunlight as much as I could. Started adding one small thing at a time back into my routine. Had a huge cleanup so only one room looked like crap and I don’t even need to look at it. Turned off from mainstream media and watched more fluff as well as getting involved in local community issues, and I started exercising again, but being really gentle on my body. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t Penelope positivity in my life. Toxic positivity can be shocking. I was following the beautiful map our bodies and minds give us in order to feel better. So take some time to make an inventory of the negative feelings and situations in your life at the moment. Then start small. Think of just one thing you can do to improve it.
Ooh, ooh, this is also new. I’ve never done anything like this before. Will I like it while I chicken out?
My eyes are a little bit squinty while I’m watching out around me and my heart is beating a little bit faster, but Kind still feels okay. I got a wee bit of a Nod in my tummy, but fingers crossed it’s all gonna be okay.
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to recognize, understand, and manage our own feelings and to recognize, understand, and respond effectively to those of others. First talked about 1990 by Peter Salvo and John Mayer. It became more popular when the American psychologist, Daniel Goldman came out with the book Emotional Intelligence in 1995. In it, he stated there were five key elements, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Then in 2002, this was redesigned to four domains: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management.
Back to the basics, EI or EQ, it’s a debate. We don’t say II with IQ for intellectual intelligence, but with emotional, it hasn’t been consistent. EQ is the level of a person’s EI. For the purposes of this, I’ll abbreviate EQ and don’t get cranky with me about it. Most people do all right.
At a most basic level, improving our EQ helps us to be more successful in our personal and professional lives. From being able to manage stress and overwhelm to being able to resolve conflicts and motivate others. It’s a skill like improving our confidence or lifting stronger weights. We can learn to develop ourselves in this area and we should. In 2003 Harvard Business Review reported that 80% of competencies that differentiate top performers from others are in the domain of emotional intelligence. It’s important making it not what you know or who you know, but how you work with them. New one, like charisma. High IQ can also have a darker side when you have a strong ability to recognize and understand others. That can give you an upper hand to manipulate or take advantage of situations. I’m gonna assume that nobody watching this video would have those intentions, so let’s keep going, shall we?
Self-awareness, it’s about emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, and self-confidence. This self-awareness is a continual motion throughout our lives. Sense an emotion. Acknowledging the feeling. Identify what the situation is, asking questions, taking action if and when needed. Reflecting and learning, becoming an expert in you with this kind of self-awareness, including the ability to really acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. It leads to greater confidence and emotional regulation. Self-management, emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement, initiative and optimism. Self-management is how you manage yourself, your actions, your thoughts and feelings. Being able to control your mind in these areas will not only help you achieve more and feel more connected, it’ll help you to stop those monkeys that take over your amygdala, creating chaos in your mind. Now, onto other people because well, hopefully you’re not spending your time on this planet all alone. Social awareness, it’s about empathy, organizational awareness and service.
Have you heard the saying? Read the room. That’s social awareness. Our ability to notice what’s happening for others and using our own understandings, trying to sense what they’re feeling or thinking. This is where our capacity for empathy will help us to connect with them and respond in the very best way.
Lastly, there’s relationship management, inspirational leadership, influence developing others being a change catalyst, being good at conflict management, building bonds, teamwork and collaboration. This is where the dots from the other three parts are connected. If you’re struggling in one of those areas, it will impact your relationships. We know that. From getting a team on the same page in the workplace to negotiating with your five year old about bedtime. Relationship management is a skill we all need.
IMPROVING YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
What crazy person invented the stuff? Nobody on earth wants to be spun around in the air. Are they mental? I really don’t wanna do this. I can’t focus. My heart is gonna burst outta my chest. I’m so cold when I’m sweating and I’m breathing like I just ran a marathon. Make it stop. So let’s look at how we can improve our emotional intelligence, shall we? Well, of course we will. Step one, observe. Actually, I’ll just stop there like right there. Don’t need to go on observing yourself and others. Sounds so simple, yet we struggle with it. Do we really notice and understand the cues our own body and mind gives us? We actually paying attention with two ears and two eyes to the people in our lives. Chances are you are not, and when you do, my friends, there’s so much information to be had. Depending on what area of your emotional intelligence you want to work on. Some of these may be more appropriate than others, so let’s go through them.
Recognize, name and accept your emotions and feelings. To label or not to label. That is the question. Well, labeling’s powerful. It’s not good or bad. It’s what you’re experiencing in the moment. Naming and accepting it will help you move on. Fighting it will soon have your monkey mind and feisty cuffs. Be curious about what the emotional feeling is trying to tell you. These things don’t just pop on up to give you the shifts. They guide signals to something with deeper meaning. When you felt scared, walking down a side street with no lights on at midnight all alone was probably for good reason. If you are continually feeling frustration in a certain situation, maybe it’s time to change it. Then notice the changes in your body to situations we change physically, especially when a strong emotion is there to say hello.
Have you ever thought to yourself, oh, hang on. How many times do I need to get that message? We’re human, so probably a lot, but starting to really pay attention to your physicality can help reduce the number of times you need that gentle reminder. Practice showing authenticity, honesty, and vulnerability. We probably lie to ourselves more in a year than we do to others in a lifetime. That’s big lies I’m talking about not those little ones. You know the ones that you just think it’s makes life easier when someone says, how are you? And you automatically say, okay, even if you’re not. I’ve started to pause in these situations these days and answer more honestly. It doesn’t mean going into a 10 minute spiel about what’s going on, but showing up with more humanness is a good thing.
Use mindfulness habits such as journaling and breath work. I know I say this in relationship to just about everything because it works. When you can look through a journal and see patterns or know to take those three breaths without second guessing yourself to help calm your nervous system in a situation you will thank me. Improve your general communication skills and help reduce the stigma around talking about emotions, feelings, or moods. Words can be big and scary, and we learn to dampen them down from an early age. Stop. Big boys, don’t cry, ladies, don’t say things like that. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We live in a world with increasing mental health issues and I wonder if we made it okay to share how we are feeling or what we’re experiencing without fear of judgment. It would be different. Put yourself in new situations. I’ve recently been doing more charitable work and it’s really opened my eyes and my thinking greatly.
So this travel new social experience is studying and even reading a different genre like pick up a vampire fiction, create boundaries, especially in areas you know are likely to set off an emotional reaction for you. You can go back to episode 25 for more help on boundaries. Bottom line, they’re good for everyone. Finally, take responsibility not just for your actions, but for the emotions and feelings also. Nobody can come into your body and make you feel something. You did that. It may be based on a reaction to a previous situation which you didn’t control, but that feeling, it’s all on you.
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE LOOPS
What the fuck? I had no idea we were doing this today. Am I happy or angry? Neither? I guess it just all feels so unexpected, like who gets to be a kid? Like with this, when we’ve all got so much adulting to do, I’m so wide-eyed and I’m, I’m open to all these amazing possibilities around me, but my heart’s racing and it’s kind of getting calmer, but it’s racing and I feel all warm inside. Round and round. You go stuck in a cognitive loop. These loops can be both positive or negative, and I think it’s really good for us to understand both. It’s one of those days when you wake up feeling great. And from the very first coffee, Hmm, coffee life is good. The sun is shining. The traffic’s great. That sandwich was the best you’ve ever eaten. You feel grateful and alive. People are chit chatting with you full of laughter and delight.
That project you’ve been working on gets finished with ease. When you get home, your husband has bought you a gift and made dinner. Your head has the pillow feeling like life is a gift. It’s almost as if you are somehow touched by magical fairy kisses. Flip it and you feel like you’re the walking example of waking up on the wrong side of your bed and you put on your grumpy pants. Everything goes wrong. You have a fight with your daughter. The train breaks down. Then, oh boy, that annoying client has left three messages and you really don’t want to deal with it. Your boss calls you in and you snap in defensiveness. There goes that pay rise you were hoping for when you get home, you forgot you were meant to be at a school function. Nobody from the pancy calls to see why you weren’t there.
You could could’ve been ill, but nobody cares. Yep. You know you’re a terrible person with nothing to be happy about, and today proves how much life sucks. At a base level as humans, we wanna be right, and when we’re in these loops, we search for and we find the evidence to support how we are feeling, it’s actually bonkers. These loops are much like habit loops. We can learn to master them so we’ve greater control of our lives. Circumstance, emotion, feelings, thoughts, action. We often don’t have control over the circumstances, as we’ve discussed, and our core emotions are physical reactions to those circumstances, but we do have control over our feelings and thoughts and the actions that we take based on them. It’s not as simple as snapping out of it. Try this, get grounded in the present. Yep. With some mindfulness habits like breathing. Recognize your thoughts and the pattern you may be in.
Accept this with no judgment. Then get curious about why this is happening. Are the feelings based on truth or a perception you have in the moment? Find something positive to interrupt the thinking. It’s actually really hard to be grumpy when you’re thinking about your really cute little puppy. If you can do some writing or talk about it with someone, then bingo. Do that. Make an effort every single day to look for examples of positivity in the world, and breaking these loops will become a lot easier.
You’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with life recently. I know. So you’re pushing yourself to go out. You walk into the party with the emotions of anticipation and joy. Quieting the feeling of overwhelm because well, you’ll see some old friends and you think you look pretty hard. Conversations flow with ease. While you’ve been chatting, you’ve realized that it’s not all bad.
Everyone has stuff going on. You can totally get on top of it all. Again, you leave the party floating and fabulousness. You decide to frock up again and get to work on that list of things that you know will improve your life. You got out of a loop. I just wanna cry. If I look up, maybe the tears won’t come. I don’t wanna look at anybody and I don’t wanna talk to anybody. I don’t wanna do any of this. I feel like my back looks like I belong in a bell tower. This was so not a good idea. All the memories are coming back and I’m cold, and it’s all imprinted on me. Why is life so unfair?
HOW YOU CAN USE EMOTIONS, FEELINGS AND MOODS FOR SUCCESS?
Let’s finish up by looking at how you can use the magical mix of emotions, feelings, and moods for success. Leveraging the power we have over our state is crucial on the road to success. Letting your emotions, your feelings, and your moods go wild and free is like letting a child into Disneyland, unaccompanied for the first time, and who knows what’ll happen. If we start at the base with our emotions and choose to not think of them as good or bad, we can find ways to explore more positivity from them. For example, if you are angry about a situation within your local area, can you use that to light a fire in your belly and motivate you to do more on the issue? Finding a positive. What about a time when sadness has hit you over their head with a hammer because of the death of a loved one?
That sadness may in turn have you searching for more meaning and connectedness, so you reach out to people. Then there’s the joy you’re experiencing when you do something, yet you don’t do it often enough. You then move mountains to have more of that in your life. Most of us have had experiences with deeper searching over the last couple of years with the pandemic. So much was outside of our control and mainly people were experiencing true fear for the first time. I’d encourage you to check out the EMF. Ah, funny girl. Yep. Emotions, moods and feelings, inventory in the worksheet. I swear it can be really enlightening.
Now, to feelings, nothing more than feelings. My first step to being able to use feelings for success is to not indulge in the ones that are stopping you from being successful. I know that probably sounds a little counterintuitive, but believe me, when you realize you’ve kept yourself in a busy pattern because it made you feel important, yet it prevented you from being okay with being a little fearful and actually doing the things that will move the needle forward you’ll understand that theory well. So go back to the basics of experiencing a feeling, learning from it, moving on and fast. Second tip, now hold onto your hats because it’s that crazy. Learn to cultivate and embrace the feeling of success.
What? Yep, manifestation 101 feel successful. Then get to work on creating that success. Stack ’em up high baby. Discover the key feelings that help you to feel more successful. They may include motivated, patient, dedicated, inspired, grateful, compassionate, trusting. I often write, I’m determined in my journal because it’s a feeling I wanna experience well more of. A good exercise for this. Yep. In the worksheet is for you to sit down with your current goals or your extraordinary dreams and where you can add the name of someone that’s achieved it already. Then write out and yep, unless they’ve got something biographical out there to read or you know them personally, you’re making this stuff up, but I want you to write out the feelings you think they harnessed to reach that goal. Then every day you’ll wanna reflect on those feelings and when possible or in situations, try them on for size. Maybe vibrant is just what you need to feel now. Sounds pretty good to me.
Now to your mood or that cloud that’s either dark or light and fluffy hanging over your head. What’s more likely to have you ticking off those to-dos? Being down in the dumps or having a pep your step. Surely you really don’t need me to answer that, so I’m gonna leave you with this quote “If you’re not in the mood, you can’t do that stuff right”.
JD Salinger, this is hilarious. I never would’ve thought anyone would bring me here, so not me, but I know they have my back, so I guess it’ll be okay. I felt a little tense, but it’s easing because, well, I guess I’m kind of having fun, starting to feel brave, maybe more confident as my heart rate slows down and I’ve stopped feeling so rushed, my eyes are wide open, taking it all this newness kind of feel like my whole body is straightening up as well. Wow.
Don’t forget to grab the worksheets on the website, samanthaleith.com/freebies, and please stay in touch on the socials. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.
Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the Samantha Leith Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode and wanna dive deeper into the world of personal development and what’s possible for you, then I’d love to invite you to join the club. It’s my monthly membership designed to guide and support you with the tools and the coaching you need to be extraordinary. Head on over to samanthaleith.com/theclub for more information. I’d love to see you on the inside.
Songwriters: Anthony Newley / Leslie Bricusse
© Tratore, Universal Music Publishing Group
Produced by Samantha Leith / Michael Allen
Vocals by Samantha Leith