Let’s face it, emotions can be messy things.
They can be confusing and complicated.
But they are also what gives life its richness in many ways.
They serve as important signals.
We use them to read and understand one another.
And we also use them to better understand ourselves.
What does it mean to be in touch with emotions?
When we think of someone who is in touch with their emotions, we think of someone who is good at understanding their feelings.
Rather than push them away, they embrace them.
Because of this, they are better at identifying their emotions, labeling them, and expressing them.
This awareness is what helps you to gain greater control over your feelings.
Being in touch with your emotions helps you handle your feelings in a healthy way.
9 signs that show you’re in touch with your emotions
1) You don’t try to avoid negative feelings
It’s easy to be in touch with positive emotions.
Who doesn’t want to soak up all that deliciousness of joy, love, and serenity?
That’s why the real test of how in touch you are with your emotions comes at those times in your life that sort of suck.
Being in touch with your emotions means being in touch with all of your emotions.
The good and the bad.
Because no matter how much we try to dodge upset or heartache, it’s going to find us at some point or another.
I’m not trying to put a downer on things.
It’s just that life truly brings a rainbow of emotions — and that requires both sunshine and rain.
People who are in touch with their emotions embrace the bad feelings along with the good.
They’re not afraid to sit with uncomfortable or even painful emotions.
This makes them stronger and more resilient in the process.
Plus, in doing so, they’re able to move on from those negative feelings far more quickly.
2) You process your emotions and let them go
Here’s the good news:
As we’ve just hinted at, being in touch with your emotions can make you far better at dealing with difficult times.
That’s because by feeling your feelings, you’re helping yourself to move through them and learn lessons.
That way, rather than hold on to painful events, you can then let them go.
Because being in touch with your emotions certainly isn’t about dwelling or stewing on things.
In fact, rumination can be very damaging.
Rather than create more distress, being in touch with your emotions can actually help you to cushion yourself.
It allows you to consciously put space around your emotions rather than becoming totally absorbed by them.
The more in touch you are with your emotions the easier it can be to step outside of them.
Importantly, this is very different from simply avoiding your emotions.
Instead, scientists say that when you analyze your feelings from a psychologically distanced perspective — it’s easier to move on.
University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross says studies have shown this technique to be very effective:
“It’s an invaluable human ability to think about what we do, but reviewing our mistakes over and over, re-experiencing the same negative emotions we felt the first time around, tends to keep us stuck in negativity. It can be very helpful to take a sort of mental time-out, to sit back and try to review the situation from a distance.”
3) You have empathy for how other people feel
It stands to reason:
The more understanding you have of your own emotions, the more likely you’ll identify with other people’s too.
Because you have plenty of emotional experience under your belt.
So you can quickly see when someone else is having a tough time.
You notice that deflated expression on your friend’s face. You can see the sorrow in their eyes. And you feel their pain.
It’s easier for you to tap into the wide range of feelings that people go through and quickly understand them.
This helps you to extend kindness and compassion more freely.
Which in turn strengthens your relationships with other people.
4) You tell people how you’re feeling
There’s no way of getting away from it:
Our emotions can leave us feeling vulnerable.
It’s the reason we may decide to keep certain things to ourselves.
For example, maybe we’re too scared to admit when we have a huge crush on someone in case we’re rejected.
And then there’s the practical side of hiding your feelings.
Perhaps you might hate your boss with a passion, but it’s probably not so smart to let him know.
Part of the practicalities of living in a society means keeping certain things to yourself.
After all, there is a time and a place, as well as an appropriate way to express yourself.
Being in touch with your emotions means finding a balance between holding back and expressing how you feel.
But nevertheless, revealing how you’re feeling takes real courage.
Being in touch with your emotions means the ability to share your emotional truth with others.
It may come more naturally to some than others.
But being able to communicate what we are feeling is a real skill.
And it’s one that people who show emotional intelligence have learned.
5) You’re honest with yourself about what you’re feeling
In many ways, the hardest person to be honest with about how you’re really feeling is often yourself.
That’s because defense mechanisms can quickly kick in.
People who aren’t in touch with their emotions may turn to distractions in order to hide.
Sometimes those distractions can be pretty unhealthy like drink or drugs. Sometimes they are more subtle, like deflecting with humor.
But the principle is the same.
It’s an avoidance tactic to dodge certain uncomfortable feelings.
Rather than admit those feelings to themselves, they try to sweep them under the carpet.
Denial can be easier.
So it’s a real sign that you’re in touch with your emotions when you can get real with yourself.
You can pinpoint what it is that you are feeling and you don’t run from it.
6) You take responsibility for your own emotions
When you have a good grasp of your emotions, you see yourself more clearly.
And you can use your emotional honesty to hold yourself to account.
This means accepting responsibility for how you feel.
Having emotional accountability means knowing that your emotions are your own — nobody else’s.
You don’t spew your emotions all over someone else and then blame them for triggering you.
You take responsibility for whatever you’re feeling.
You know that nobody can “make you” feel a certain way.
You take ownership of your own emotions and recognize they are created from within.
Of course, that’s not to say that the words or actions of others don’t affect us. Because clearly, they do.
But you prefer to empower yourself by taking full responsibility for the way you are feeling.
This allows you to show emotional maturity, in even the most trying of situations.
7) You’re able to keep your composure during difficult times
In the introduction to this article, I talked about the two sides of being in touch with your emotions.
The first is the awareness you have of them.
The second is how you use that awareness to cultivate greater control over them.
If we have a temper tantrum and flip our lids, it’s no excuse to simply say we’re just in touch with our emotions.
As we said earlier, expressing your emotions is important — but in a healthy way.
In fact, when you’re truly in touch with your emotions you probably find it far easier to keep your cool.
Because it helps us get to the bottom of why we react a certain way, and this helps you keep your composure.
You can regulate your emotions far better because you have greater self-awareness of them.
Rather than fly off the handle, you pick up on the warning signs before you get to that point.
You are better at understanding your triggers. You know how to take accountability for your feelings. And you can keep your emotions under control.
8) You’re not afraid to cry
I absolutely love crying.
Well, hear me out.
I think it’s such an amazing release of any tension that I feel physically in my body.
For me, it’s just as good as a sweaty workout.
Even if there’s nothing in particular that I’m sad about, sometimes I have a good old cry just to feel better.
The best way I can describe it is that it feels like a big exhale after holding your breath.
And it seems I could be on to something.
Because scientists have confirmed that crying is good for you.
As explained by Harvard Health Publishing when we cry emotional tears, we flush out stress hormones and toxins from our system:
“Researchers have established that crying releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids, also known as endorphins. These feel-good chemicals help ease both physical and emotional pain.”
Finding ways to release your emotions is key.
9) You know how to self-soothe
We all rely on others.
It’s important that we know how to ask for help.
In fact, talking to someone about your feelings can really make a difference.
There’s a lot of truth in the saying that a problem shared is a problem halved.
But the more in touch you are with your emotions, you’ll probably become better at self-regulating your emotions too.
For example, personally, I love to journal.
When I’m feeling stressed out or sad about something I can write it all out in black and white.
This has been shown to have a cathartic effect in itself.
But more than that it helps you to become your own therapist.
You can question and explore your emotions and make yourself feel better in the process.
Another good way to self-soothe is simply by labeling the emotions you’re feeling when they arise.
Studies have found that this can actually help to diffuse their effect on you.
Perhaps you like to give yourself a pep talk. Or maybe you try to consciously question your own negative thoughts.
If you’re in touch with your feelings you can discover ways to regulate your own emotions.