Here is a list of outstanding resources on emotional awareness, or how to get in touch with and identify your feelings:
EQI.org – This site has so many wonderful resources to offer, particularly a list of "feeling words" (that's several pages long—and open to new words from anyone willing to contribute) and an interesting article by Lea Winerman about the cross-cultural belief that talking about emotional discomfort helps alleviate it.
EmotionalProcessing.org – Also chock-full of info., this site is more science-based than anecdotal. The page link here points out the "5 Levels of Emotional Awareness" (Lane & Schwartz, 1987) as: 1. physical sensations, 2. action tendancies, 3. single emotions, 4. blends of emotions, and 5. blends of blends of emotional experience. It's important to note that most external conflict starts at #4, and escalates exponentially at #5.
Edel Jarboe's Article – Titled "Emotional Intelligence," this 1999 article is still timely and important in correlating one's emotional state to one's ability to communicate with clarity. It lists 10 ways to improve your emotional intelligence—including my favorite, "Listen twice as much as you speak."
HelpGuide.org's Emotional Awareness Page – Anyone looking for a basic overview of emotions and their big picture purpose should start here. HelpGuide has a plethora of other resources, too, such as the page on Improving Emotional Awareness, which explains step-by-step how to experience and tolerate intense emotions.
In my personal time, I volunteer with a group called DBSA (the Depression Biplar Support Alliance), facilitating an advocacy and support group for people who've been diagnosed with Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder, as well as for their friends and family members. Our bimonthly meetings regularly focus on how to deal with emotions, especially in extremes. If you or someone you know has a particularly difficult time dealing with or acknowledging emotions, and you suspect Depression or Bipolar Disorder could be involved, contact DBSA for more information. The problem will never change until it's first acknowledged.
Whether or not you shut off your emotions, let them run your life (and sometimes the lives of those around you) or fall somewhere in between, emotions are the backbone of your personal communication style. If you review even one of the resources above over the coming weekend, you'll be that much more prepared on Monday to communicate with confidence and ease.
© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009