Feelings: Your Very Own Search Engine

GoogleWe live in an information rich time. 50 years ago, if you wanted to travel through Europe and Asia to visit Kathmandu, you were limited to information from a travel agent or your local library. Nowadays you get your computer out and just "google it". And you'll find out much more than would have been available in the 60s of the last Century.

The good news is, if you want to find out exactly how your life is going, you don't have to research it in a library or google it.You don't need a computer or broadband access.  All it takes is to listen inside your mind and body to how you are feeling. Feelings are like your very own personal search engine.

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Feeling Good or Feeling Bad

Giraffe Have you ever had somebody telling you that they ''feel good" or "feel bad"? A great variant of that is when someone says "Not too bad"!.  I get to hear that all the time. Of course, such utterings don't tell me anything. How bad is bad, or how good is good? And what on earth is "not too bad"?

Emotions are not just a handful of feelings. There are hundreds of feelings and distinctions that, when used wisely, communicate very well how people are feeling. In order to be understood and helped by a friend, partner, or therapist, you need to let the person know what kind of good or what kind of bad you are feeling.

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Understanding Feelings

Many theories about feelings exists and it can be a little bit confusing to make sense of all the different opinions (see Wikipedia). I am going to present a view that is informed by NLP and has proven useful in my practice over the years.

Stripped to the bare bones we can say that feelings are just information. They are feedback that informs people about their experiences.

Seeing feelings in this light, it doesn’t make sense to label them good or bad. They just are. Feelings tell you something about what is going on around you and propel you to take action. The following is a schematic view of how feelings come about. 

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Emotional Literacy


How do you know that you are using your emotions most effectively in your life? You will be on your way to emotional choice when you are able to experience a wide range of emotions and you begin to understand what each of these emotions communicates to you. The crucial point could well be to see emotions as meaningful information about how to improve your life rather than seeing them as random blows delivered to you by a hostile environment. (Click on the picture to see an enlarged wheel of emotions).Continue reading here