“How are you feeling today?”
Have you ever felt confused or puzzled when someone asked you this question?
Perhaps you had the quiet realisation that you didn’t actually know how you felt. Maybe you were tired, hungry or a bit stressed, which can explain it.
Unfortunately, many of us constantly struggle in understanding our emotions.
As we are social beings this can lead to difficulties in interpersonal relationships, resulting in mental health problems like anxiety, depression, to name a few.
The most common cause of this is the quality of the relationships (attachments) with caregivers, when growing up.
Emotions are not universally expressed and recognised, and are not hardwired brain reactions that are uncontrollable (Dr Lisa Feldman, The Theory of Constructed Emotion). Emotions are learned.
Babies learn emotions by mirroring the people around them.
If the parent(s) was struggling with mental or physical health problems, or was absent, the child may grow up feeling confused regarding their emotions.
Counselling can help emotional development by using mirroring between client and counsellor, and help the person understand how they, and others, feel.