Emotions are part of a healthy life, Dr Mary Wren

Dr Mary Wren
Dr Mary Wren
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In English culture I tend to hear two things said about emotions – either that people don’t have them or that they are controlled by them.

Neither is healthy. Emotions are a feedback mechanism to our soul in the same way that pain is for our physical bodies. Have you ever thought of pain as being helpful? If we didn’t experience pain we wouldn’t know when we stood on a nail or when we were too close to a fire. We would end up damaging our bodies physically without realising it. So both pain and emotions are helpful – if we see them correctly.

Emotions are a bit like the red warning light on the car – we can cover it up and ignore it, smash it with a hammer so it’s not there any more or we can look under the bonnet! If we cover up and suppress emotion it doesn’t go away – it pops back at another time or another way – maybe even in physical illness.

If we lash out at others and express our emotion we might feel better but others are damaged in the process. The best thing is to be honest and acknowledge the emotion, then look inside ourselves to see why it is there.

We can see emotions as a pointer to the health of our soul, just like pain indicates to our bodies. We can listen to the emotion and look back to see where it may have come from.

Maybe a situation in childhood made us angry and we were never able to express it – and now whenever we face a similar situation the anger comes out.

Or maybe we felt anxious when dad was drunk and violent – but we had to pretend and look OK. Now we feel anxious when in uncertain situations.

We would do so much better if we can learn that emotions are helpful and it’s healthy to express them – maybe wailing in the streets or smashing crockery is necessary sometimes.

However, they are also just indicators that something is wrong “under the bonnet” and if we ignore that we are setting ourselves up for problems.

Some adjustment of perspective, some exchanging of lies for truth can make all the difference.

It is possible to change how we think and see – and as we do so we become emotionally balanced, healthy people. Help is available and worthwhile. Give it a try.