Understanding our Feelings

Our emotional wellbeing is just as important as our physical and mental and is often connected. We have many different emotions and we can experience different emotions throughout the day. Our emotions relate to the way that we feel on a day-to-day basis, sometimes they last only a few seconds, and sometimes they last longer. In this section, we are going to discuss the main emotions, how we can learn to control our emotions and why it is important to be able to identify how we feel.


Inside out!

To start off this section if anyone has not watched the movie inside out I would highly recommend it, it helps us to learn about our emotions and why they are all important!

Our emotions range in intensity, sometimes they can be mild, this means it is a short small burst of the emotion and sometimes they can be intense which means the emotion can feel like it is filling up our whole body and can sometimes last a long time.

Every emotion that we feel is important, there are no good or bad emotions but it is important how we act when we are expressing each of our emotions. Here is a video showing examples of some of the more common emotions.



Although the video above explains our main emotions, there are also many other emotions that we feel, sometimes they are connected to our more common emotions.

Here is a list of some of the other emotions that you might feel. 



Steps to notice our emotions...

  • If something happens throughout the day make a habit of noticing the emotion that you feel. You might be nervous about completing a piece of work, excited to play with your friends, relaxed when you are reading a book. Try to name the emotions in your head as you experience them.

  • Think about how strong the feeling is, you might want to rate it from 1-10 or think about how much of your body is being filled up with this emotion.

  • Don't be worried about sharing your emotions with others! Sometimes when we share our emotions with others they can help us or they might even share the emotion with us. For example, if you tell your friend you are excited to meet up with them they can share that excitement with you.


Our emotions can help us understand how we feel and they help us know how to react in different situations when we react to situations we can do it by our facial expressions (making faces) other times we use actions. Each emotion that we experience will create a different action, for example when we are happy we will often smile or laugh, sometimes when we are sad we cry, sometimes when we are scared we will scream.

But what do we do when the feelings build up inside us and we act in a negative way because of our emotions?



Sometimes our emotions can gain control of our mind and body and we can react to a situation poorly. This reaction will often not help the situation and can sometimes make us feel worse. If this does happen (which it does sometimes) try to forgive yourself and think ahead to next time, ask yourself what could I have done better?

It is very healthy to be able to express your emotions but we have to make sure we do this in the right way at the right time.


The first step to managing our reactions is to notice the emotion that we are feeling.

(I am feeling angry).


Accept why you are feeling that way

(I didn't win the game that we were playing).

REMEMBER - It is okay to feel that way!


Consider your options and decide which reaction would lead to the best outcome.

(Try the small exercise below to see if you can pick the best reactions).


Using the examples above how would you choose to react? 

Would you... (choose the reaction's that you think are best): 


Throw the ball away at the end of the game and blame all your teammates.


Remind yourself that there are always more games and although you didn't win this one you are not going to let it ruin the rest of your day.


Get upset for the rest of the day.


Talk to a friend/teacher/coach "I feel a bit angry about not winning but at least I tried my best".

(Answers to reactions: B and D)
If you answered A or C don't worry! It can take time to learn and remember to manage our emotions and reactions this way, but we can always get better with practice. Expressing our emotions in a healthy way can help our emotional wellbeing, and sometimes all it takes is counting to 10 to help our emotions remain balanced. As we practice this more and more we are building something called resilience, it will help us with situations like this in the future.



It is important to remember that no matter what age or gender all of the emotions that we feel are NORMAL, it is always important to accept how you are feeling, if we ignore our emotions or try to push them aside then it can be harder to manage them and understand why we are feeling this way.

Why are we feeling this way?

There are lots of reasons why we might experience these difficult emotions, including:


(Changes with family, teachers, friends, any changes in relationships)


(Things like changing school or moving house, siblings moving out)


(About school, during our hobbies, pressures in social situations)


(In your life or bigger things happening in the world)


These are a few reasons why we sometimes experience these more difficult emotions but as we get older we understand our emotions better and this can help us to put our feelings into words. This is really important as it can help us to tell other people how we feel.

Sometimes we feel emotions that are beyond the everyday emotions that we experience, these emotions are sometimes stronger or stay with you for a longer time. They are also very normal and sometimes just can't be avoided but it is important to learn what to do when we experience these emotions.

Following the advice from above, it is still important to notice what you are feeling and accept why, (your feelings are there for a reason they help you understand what is going on).

Image by Grace Madeline

The bigger step here is TAKING ACTION:

The way you take action might vary for example you could talk to someone about how you are feeling, they might be able to offer you some support, try doing something that makes you happy, this can help lift us into a positive place, noticing the good things and focusing on them or exercise which can create a positive mood.

Many of our difficult emotions can be linked to the mental health aspects discussed under the mental wellbeing tab. Trying some of the strategies linked to maintaining a positive mindset can also help us manage difficult emotions.

And above all remember to be Kind to yourself!

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If you ever feel like you can't get rid of that difficult emotion and you have been feeling it for a long time please make sure you talk to someone you trust. It is OKAY to ask for help, sometimes we all need it. Managing your emotions is not something that you need to do on your own.