Everyone has emotions and understanding them helps us cope with our thoughts. Our emotions even have physical feelings in our body and there are things you can do to express and manage your feelings. Remember there are always people you can talk to.

What are emotions?

Emotions are feelings that create our moods. Understanding how you feel is important for your health and wellbeing.

Being aware of your emotions means that you can name and understand your feelings. This is called emotional awareness. Sometimes it can be difficult to say how we feel, and it can take practice to be able to understand or change our emotions using our thoughts.

Most of our emotions are a mixture of a few of the most powerful emotions or feelings.

Some examples are:

  • Happiness – tells us what we like or love.
  • Anger – tells us there is a problem.
  • Sadness – tells us to connect with people we love.
  • Anxiety – tells us we are worried or excited.
  • Love – tells us to care for or be affectionate with someone.
  • Curiosity – tells us to explore and learn.

Why is emotional awareness important?

Developing emotional awareness allows you to clearly understand and communicate how you feel to yourself and others.

Being able to name emotions and feelings means that you can help yourself change how you feel.

Recognising your feelings helps you to move through difficult times, making it easier to think clearly and cope with negative or overwhelming feelings. It also helps you notice when good things happen and hold onto those feelings of joy, love and happiness.

Emotional awareness helps you bounce back. Over time, practising emotional awareness makes you more aware of yourself. It can help you think about your wants, needs and putting yourself first.

How to sense your emotions

The funny thing about our emotions is that they have physical sensations. This means we can feel them somewhere in our bodies.

If you focus on your body and be mindful of the sensations you feel. You might notice that things like your heart rate, body temperature and energy levels change depending on how you feel.

An example of this is feeling a sensation like you have butterflies in your stomach when you are excited or nervous.

Some other examples of physical sensations are:

  • Blushing or feeling flushed.
  • Sweating or having a dry mouth.
  • Shallow breathing or short breaths.
  • Tingling sensations or a rapid heart rate.


Mindfulness means being still or calm and bringing your attention to the present moment. It’s a bit like giving your brain a break.

You can use mindfulness to focus on sensations in your body and process how you’re feeling. If you are having difficulty recognising your feelings, keeping a journal that you update regularly can help.

Journaling can be used to express your feelings, thoughts and experiences. Looking back over journals means you can reflect on your emotions and think back on positive and negative things that have happened.

Reflecting on the little things you worried about that turned out to be not so bad helps build self-confidence and reduce negative feelings like self-doubt.

Don’t worry if it seems hard at the start. Mindfulness can take some practice.

Other ways you can practice mindfulness are:

Colouring/ drawing/ sketching what’s on your mind.

Any form of exercise, including yoga and breathing activities.

Meditation – this helps calm your mind and overall wellbeing.

Counting your breaths and focusing on your body and how it feels.

Focusing on your feet striking the ground with every step.