Emotions are there to tell us something. For example, anger alerts us to injustice, sadness signals a need for us to comfort ourselves and love tells us to draw closer. DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) has taught me that sometimes it is more helpful to ‘act opposite’ to the emotions. For example, when loving someone who is actually hurting us, it is vital to *not* get closer, even though that may be the intense urge.
In this video, I share one of the paintings I have in my flat by Kathryn Watson from ‘my illustrated mind’. Having this artwork up on my wall reminds me that it’s useful to look at what my emotions are telling me rather than ignoring them.
I also did an interview with Kathryn about how she uses art to help her understand her emotional states. Have you tried being curious about what your emotions are telling you? Let me know what you think!
Useful book about DBT with lots of detail: DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets by Marsha M. Linehan. Guilford Press; 2nd edition (9 Dec. 2014).