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2: Size Up Your Situation

Feelings, Emotions and Thoughts

Emotions are physical responses. They are instinctive, which means they are triggered like your reflexes, and you don’t do anything to bring them about. Emotions help you fight when you are in danger, defend yourself when you are threatened, cry when you are sad or laugh when you are happy.

How do you feel about this situation right now

Feelings result once you begin to think about a situation. Feelings describe our emotions. Emotions happen in the body, while feelings form in the mind. When you take time to observe what your emotions feel like and describe the feelings in detail, you can step back from the chaos or panic of a sudden life transition, and begin to clarify what you need to move forward.

For example, if you just lost your job unexpectedly you might feel bitter, despairing, helpless or panicky. But your feelings will depend on your situation. What if you have wanted to quit for years, but never have found the courage to do it? Then losing your job might make you feel invigorated, free or relieved.

Transitions can happen at any time and they can signify welcome change or upheaval of the status quo, leaving you unsure of your next step. Regardless of the situation, your feelings likely depend on past experiences or what you’ve seen others do in similar events.

When the unexpected occurs, it’s perfectly acceptable to take time for yourself before dealing with the adjustment. The first step is sorting through your emotions and feelings, including those you might not want to acknowledge.

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