Unlocking the Language of Emotion

By: Terri Hayes

Did you know that each emotion manifests itself in your body? Some of us are so in our heads, we struggle to note what is going on in our body and all we experience is a thought process.  

I was a skilled emotion shunner. I traced this behavior back to my childhood and I can remember distinct times where it was even a conscious decision. “Ain’t got no time for that” was my mantra when it came to emotions I didn’t want to face or deal with. It pains me some to realize now that acknowledging them more would have saved so much time and grief for not only me, but others in my life.  

When confronted with unpleasant emotions, various responses may emerge: 

  • Resist – This is akin to attempting to submerge a large beach ball underwater. You might achieve success temporarily, but it becomes a continual struggle, and inevitably, the ball resurfaces. The “resurfacing” doesn’t always manifest as an external loss of control; it can also materialize as discomfort or dis-ease within the body. 
  • React – Expressing emotions through actions like yelling, screaming, crying, eye-rolling, throwing objects, or even physically venting by punching a wall. It’s a misconception that reacting in this way equals processing an emotion, and that’s why some opt to resist or avoid, fearing a perceived loss of control. 
  • Avoid – We distract ourselves through activities like eating, drinking, scrolling social media, shopping, overworking (or overindulging in anything, for that matter), gaming, porn, and even engaging in behaviors like cleaning and exercise as ways to sidestep emotions. While most of these activities aren’t inherently negative, using them as a means to evade emotions can result in an overall adverse impact on our lives. 
  • Allow – Embracing emotions involves more than mere acknowledgment; it entails naming the emotion and then cultivating curiosity about how it physically manifests within us. Developing this skill is valuable and worth the effort, particularly for those proficient in the habits of resisting, reacting, or avoiding. It’s a practice that involves dedication and patience. 

It took me months to really grasp the art of allowing emotions. Many times, I felt like I just wasn’t ‘getting it,’ but looking back, I realized the process was unfolding all along. To my fellow left-brainers, patience is key! Everyone experiences emotions uniquely, so I stopped comparing my journey to others. What truly matters is discovering your own emotional navigation style. Through working with clients and observing numerous coaching sessions, a consistent pattern emerged – uncomfortable emotions often translate into a sense of closed or tightness, maybe even a ‘sinking’ feeling. On the flip side, emotions we enjoy tend to open us up, creating a sense of expansiveness. A good starting point is asking yourself: Do I feel tight/heavy/closed off, or do I feel free/expansive/open? And don’t forget, neutrality can find a comfortable place between those extremes. 

So, how can one start practicing to truly feel emotions in the body and allow every feeling? Here are a few approaches to get you started: 

Close your eyes and say and think about the word “love” or think of something that brings you joy, then pay attention to what happens in your body. For me, I have a very expansive feeling in my chest. Kind of like one of those fountain fireworks where the beautiful sparks emanate from the base and bloom upward and outward. It’s warm and unfurling. It may be similar for you, or you may feel or sense things in other parts of your body. Now, close your eyes and say and think about the word “hate” or think of a time you felt shamed. What’s going on in your body now? For me, I feel a tightness in my chest. Often, I envision a heavy object like a lead pipe sitting vertical alongside my sternum; or a heavy rock lodged in my chest or throat area.  

Another activity is to name an emotion, then do a body scan while continuing to name and think of the emotion. Experience what happens in your body. These are actual vibrations, sensations, tingles, movements, colors, in your body, not just thoughts.  

This process mirrors learning a new language. It calls for time, patience, and a genuine willingness to be vulnerable and honest with oneself. Embrace mistakes with a light-hearted attitude, treating them as valuable lessons rather than failures. 

There are no good or bad emotions. Our bodies are designed to experience every emotion and process them. Emotions serve as information; they are the messengers. Emotions aren’t obstacles; they are the path. 

If you’re ready to begin unlocking the language of your emotions and embracing every feeling, I’m here to guide you. Book a call with me, and together, let’s navigate the path to a deeper understanding of yourself and your emotions. It’s a transformative adventure worth taking! 

Join the discussing and leave a comment below 😊. 

High Five! 


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Battle of the Brains

By: Terri Hayes

Battle of the Brains 

Have you ever witnessed someone who was a rockstar in one arena but once the arena was changed, they fell out of their zone of genius and floundered, sometimes affecting more than just themselves? 

Consider a top-notch salesperson who demolishes his/her sales quotas, bringing lots of $$$$$ to the company. Naturally, someone “high up” says, let’s make him/her the sales manager! The new sales manager beams with pride at the “promotion” but soon finds their zest for the work they do wanes and the whole department suffers as well as company profits.  

A similar thing happens with our brain. There are two sections in our brain that are experts in the role they play but when one of them tries to be the boss, the system can suffer. Here’s a brief description of these two segments: 

Thinking Brain (Prefrontal Cortex): This part is often associated with reasoning, decision-making, problem-solving, and conscious control. It’s often called the “Rational Brain” or “Smart Brain.” 

Protective Brain (Limbic System and Brainstem): This part handles basic survival instincts, emotions, and automatic responses. It’s sometimes called the “Reptilian Brain” or “Emotional Brain.” 

If you’re being attacked by a tiger or participating in a fast-paced athletic event where quick thinking is crucial, the instinctive response from the Protective Brain is beneficial in allowing us to react quickly without the need for deliberate thought. These incidences are a small portion of our lives if they even exist at all.  

There are times in our life where we want the rational intellect of our Thinking Brain yet the Protective Brain steps into the roll and the “system is compromised.”  

You’re having a discussion with someone and it escalates into an argument. Threat: Protective Brain to the rescue! Feelings of defensiveness or anger arise and the next thing you know, words are said that you later regret and possibly didn’t even mean.  

How about this one? Your child is getting into everything you’ve dubbed a “no-no,” and won’t even give you peace when you try and take a bathroom break. When the toddler throws a tantrum because you cut his toast in a rectangle rather than a triangle, you lose it. Threat: Protective Brain to the rescue! Frustration takes over and you end up reacting in a way you swore you never would.  

Perhaps you’ve been considering a big purchase and had plans to go shopping on Thursday after work. Thursday rolls around and you’ve had a terrible day at work. Your biggest client is unhappy and is considering other options and you had two employees call in sick. Threat: Protective Brain to the rescue! You’re tired but you’re going to keep your commitment to get this purchase taken care of. The next morning you wake with buyers’ regret. You spent more than you planned and didn’t put much thought into getting the features you initially wanted.  

One of my favorite sayings to remember is: When emotion is high, intellect is low. Of course, this refers to emotions that we generally don’t enjoy experiencing. Our knee-jerk reactions impair our response-ability. 

Keeping your Thinking Brain in its area of genius takes practice and tools. If you have areas where your Protective Brian shows up in the wrong job and want to diminish those occurrences, let’s visit about tools you can employ to keep each brain in their respective area of genius. 

High Five! 


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