Thoughts and Emotions


Have you ever gone grocery shopping while hungry? As you proceed down the aisles picking up the things on your shopping list, other ‘more appetizing’ products jump out at you at every turn. And while you are filling your cart with what is on your list, you also end up buying a whole lot of things that you did NOT intend to purchase. You might come home and tell yourself that you will never go shopping while hungry again and you would be right in doing so! Your physical state plays a very big role in how you turn up in any situation in life, from something as simple as grocery shopping, to how you show up at work, school and in your family. 

If you had been aware before you went shopping that you were actually feeling hungry, then you might have had a thought to have a snack before leaving home and avoided buying an extra bag of groceries. Nowadays, as we all deal with the impacts of COVID-19 on our lives, we need to make an extra effort to look within ourselves and feel our physical state, hear the thoughts that arise due to this state and name the emotions that shadow the thoughts. For example,  a child who is hungry will often throw tantrums, become defiant and begin to act out. In my house we call it feeding the beast. A healthy snack at the end of the school day can go a long way in making for an easier long journey home from school!

Knowing how to define your physical state, thoughts and the emotions that shadow these thoughts is known as Emotional Intelligence. The more aware you become about your state, the more you learn how to see the states and emotions in those around you. As your awareness of yourself and others increases, so does your ability to react accordingly. Do you become angry or overly agitated when you are hungry? Does this result in your becoming stubborn and unreasonable with those around you? If this sounds familiar then this is how you show up when you are hungry – you become hangry. Learning to define your physical state at any given point in your day allows you to understand yourself more clearly. As you begin to notice those times when your physical state is leaning towards an emotion that is not beneficial to you, you will be able to examine the following:

  • What am I feeling right now? 
  • What thoughts are creating these feelings?
  • How am I showing up in this emotion?
  • What would I rather feel?
  • How do I move onto that emotion?

Journaling these thoughts and emotions alongside the behaviour they cause is the first step to building a reservoir of strategies to shift the emotion and change the behaviour pattern. Having a reservoir means that in any given situation you will have a pool of strategies to dip into to find the one that fits perfectly?

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