The process of recognizing emotions is of great importance in providing us with a healthy quality of life, especially in terms of mental health. When we are able to recognize the emotions of others and ourselves, we are less anxious.
There are people who are good at recognizing emotions. Others need to learn to do so by putting more effort into it; but that doesn’t mean they are incapable of mastering this psychological skill.
In this article we will see several tips and recommendations that can be very useful for all those people who seek to know how to recognize emotions , as well as some considerations to take into account.
How do you recognize your own emotions?
Recognizing emotions is the ability of a person to identify and accept the emotions of self and others.
It’s basically like speaking a language. At first it’s confusing and we may not really understand the meaning of some things, but then, as we handle this language on a daily basis, it becomes more understandable and we become able to handle it fluently.
To recognize our own emotions we need to be able to bring to the conscious part of our mind some aspects of our person that we often overlook or avoid thinking about. This is fundamental to develop Emotional Intelligence.
There are always issues concerning ourselves that we prefer to leave behind. However, the sooner we dare to review those issues with objective criteria, the closer we will get to understanding how we feel.
How do you recognize the emotions of others?
At the moment of recognizing the emotions of others it is necessary to understand to some extent how body language works ; this is an aspect that is intrinsically related to emotionality.
When we feel sad, our face expresses it through gestures and movements of the small muscles distributed all over the face, and even if we try to hide it, the non-verbal language responds to a great extent to unconscious aspects of our personality ; therefore we could notice the sadness despite the effort to hide it. The same goes for other emotions and feelings: happiness, nostalgia, euphoria, etc.
In this way, when we are able to relate a person’s body language to their emotions, we are closer to understanding how they feel.
Another essential aspect to identify the emotions of others is knowing how to interpret their speech properly .
A person can appear to be well, and at the same time when we talk to them they give us signs that something is wrong, if we know how to listen carefully and interpret between the lines what they are telling us.
Tips for understanding our emotional side
Now we will see some ways in which we can be more accurate in recognizing emotions, both our own and those of others.
1. Accept the real reason for the emotions
Every emotion responds to motives that have a particular meaning for us, capable of altering our levels of consciousness.
If we accept the situation and are able to face it no matter how irrational the cause may seem , then we will also recognize the emotion we are having at that particular moment.
2. Recognize your environment
The environment greatly influences our emotionality , the situations that develop around us are capable of making us feel in many ways. That is why when we have a better command and recognition of the place around us, we can recognize exactly what triggers the emotions we feel.
3. Be consistent with your actions
To be able to properly recognize our emotions, we must try to be as consistent as possible with our actions.
This means that to the extent that our thinking and our actions are on the same path, we will be able to recognize our emotions more clearly, without falling into cognitive dissonances.
For example, inaction in the face of certain problems we have in our lives will possibly cause us difficulties in analyzing how that makes us feel , through self-deception.
4. Prevention of negative emotions
When we have the ability to recognize the factors that cause us distress, we may be able to prevent coming into contact with those factors (as far as possible).
By doing this we are decreasing the probability of presenting very intense negative emotions that block our ability to analyze . Therefore, the process of recognizing our emotions will be favored, since we will not have to deal with extremely unpleasant emotions.
5. Understand situations as they really are
This point refers to the capacity of cognition that all human beings have. Cognition implies the use of higher mental processes (analysis, logical thinking, interpretation, conflict resolution, memory, etc).
In order to be able to understand situations as they are really happening, and not as we would like them to be, by employing this type of thinking we are already recognizing emotions in a very real way and can look for the best alternatives to our situation.
6. Accepting that some things are out of your control
At certain times you will encounter situations in which you cannot intervene to alter your result in the way you would like to. It is important to keep this limitation in mind.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of accepting that things are happening in a certain way, and dealing with it. Understanding that makes us more sensible and capable of recognizing our emotions in all their breadth, assuming that we cannot handle them at will.
- Salmurri, F. (2015). Reason and emotion: resources for learning and teaching how to think. Barcelona: RBA
- Vallès, A., and Vallès, C. (2000): Emotional Intelligence: Educational Applications. Madrid, Editorial EOS.