We’ve talked about how we’re always feeling an emotion and how identifying your emotions is a great step towards understanding them. While describing your emotions are useful, it’s also helpful to know what you’re responding to in a situation. Since emotions are automatic, we’re quick to emotionally react to an event and even our thoughts about what is happening. Sometimes, though, we don’t have all the information we need to respond appropriately. Additionally, sometimes we are actually responding to how we think, believe, or are interpreting a situation rather than what is really happening.
Checking the facts is a way you can make sure you are respond to the actual event or situation. To check the facts, you have to ask yourself:
- What is the feeling I want to change? This is why identifying your emotions is so important!
- What happened that brought on this feeling or emotion? Think about what came right before you started feeling the emotion you identified.
- How am I interpreting, thinking about, or what am I assuming about what is happening? This is where we have to be careful with reacting to our thoughts and not to what is actually happening in reality.
- Am I jumping to conclusions that something negative or bad is going to happen? When we do this, we cloud our ability to see what is happening.
- Do my emotions match the intensity of the situation? This is where we can stop to check if we are catastrophizing or downplaying your own emotions.
When we can check the facts, we can respond to situations better and more in-line with what is actually happening. It also allows us to slow down and assess how we are really feeling in response to what is actually happening instead of emotionally reacting to what we think, assume, or how we are interpreting the situation. Lastly, it’s important to try and see situations from other perspectives – this can help you gain more information and insight into how your emotional response measures up to reality!