Episode 12: Naming Emotions
This week’s episode contains:
’raise a cuppa
On the shelf
On the couch
Personal skill set
A time for hygge and
· Andersmillknits on IG and Ravelry
· Between Knits and Purls on Youtube
· If you have a question, comment, or would like to be a guest on Little Cabin Knits you can email me at littlecabinknitsAK@gmail.com
· Sign ups for The Merry Everything and Happy Always in July swap will be opening soon. All the details can be found on my Ravelry group “Between Knits and Purls.”
These past few weeks I’ve been catching up on an old favorite podcast of mine “Two Ewes Fiber Adventure.” The podcast is hosted by two friends living states apart: Kelly and Marsha.
The podcast follows the traditional knitting segments of what’s on their needles, finished objects, the multitude of other fibery crafts they get up to, and life happenings. I really enjoy the loving and supportive dynamic that Kelly and Marsha have for each other and the interaction they have with their listeners. If you are looking for a feel good traditional knitting podcast this one is for you!
In addition, you will find their website very engaging as they sell locally sourced, small batches of wool from the west coast area of the United States.
Raise A Cuppa
It feels as if we haven’t spoken in a long time my friends! I feel as if not much as happened since we talked and I wonder if that is the covid life talking. Much has happened in my knitting and work life and yet I feel as though I don’t have to much to report.
I have been up since 3 am today as there is a conference around Trauma and healing from trauma experiences that is taking place in Florida in which I wanted to be a part of. The Conference started at 7:30am Florida, or East Coast time, which made it 3:30 am for me. It has been well worth waking up for and I am really excited about tomorrows discussions and topics.
Jeremy and I took a drive and a walk, not really a hike, more of a walk, this last weekend to scope out the area I ear marked for our engagement photos. Alaska is beautiful, most of the year, however, spring is the one time that I am jealous of the folks in the lower 48. Snow melt comes later for us then the rest of the united states, but when it does it comes in like a lion, melting all the snow that has hidden all the sins of the winter. I have been cleaning up the yard a little bit each day and yet I still see areas that need my touch whenever I pear out my window.
Lastly, I’ll mention that my fiancé, Jeremy, or Mr. Radio as I tend to call him, appeared as a special guest on my YouTube Channel this weekend. It was so much fun, and I was just full of giggles and smiles as we chatted about how we met and my crafty adventures. I will link the episode in my show notes for you to see as well.
On the Shelf:
· Starfall by Jennifer Steingass
o Knit with knit picks City Tweed DK
o Us 5 and 6 needles
o MC: Kelp
o CC1 Harbor Seal, CC2 Artichoke, & CC3 Primrose
o Emily’s wedding Sweater
· Test knit for Alexandria Waigner (AKwaigner or wee_ewe_knits)
o Aegolious Top
o Knit with mad Tosh Twist Light in the Copper Pink colorway
o Knit on US 4
o Due Date: May 1st, 2021, finished on April 16th!
On the Couch:
· My second cast on of the Alaska Skirt by wee_ewe_knits
o Knit with my own hand dyed worsted weight silk and wool yarn in a sky blue and purple pink.
o Knit with size 5 and 6 US needles
o Knitting size 6
· Wedding Socks
o Pattern: Tea and Scandal by This Handmade Life
o Knit on US 1.5 needles
o Yarn: a mystery for now as I am doing a review on the yarn however, I will just say that I am in love with it!
o Knit on US 3 and 4 needles
o Elspeth Lovold Silky Wool in colorways: brown (54), Blue, and White
Personal Skill Set: Naming Emotions
I have been contemplating making a series for awhile now, on the topic of trauma. Trauma is not a topic that I just want to dive into right away, rather ease into it as I would ease into a warm bath. With that in mind this is the first in my series to introduce the topic.
I want to dip our toes into the water by speaking about emotions. Why start there you may ask? Naming your emotions is a vastly underused and yet very powerful tool and skill that assists us in managing our stress and trauma responses.
Our society is very emotional and yet we find ourselves shying away from the discussion of those emotions. Yet emotions are often the motivator behind action. (that is a personal theory anyway). I bet you can name a tie in recent past when you said to yourself or someone else “You need to think before you act.” I now put it to you that we need to think and emotionalize before we act.
When you can accurately name your emotion, it loses the control it has over your mind and body and puts you back in the driver’s seat. When we don’t name and tame our emotions, we are like flotsam on the sea being tossed around by the waves of emotions. We have no where to ground ourselves and we continue to flail around seeking purchase, exhausting our reserves. Naming your emotions is like the life vest. When on you can tread water and gain control of yourself and your surroundings without outlaying energy that is needed elsewhere.
Let’s get technical for just a moment. In a study out of UCLA, Dr. Matthew D. Lieberman found that subjects who put feelings into words make sadness, anger, and pain less intense. When we experience fear and anger, the part of the brain called the amygdala shows increased activity. By naming these feelings and emotions, activity moves from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that inhibits irrational behavior and helps us make better decisions.
The amygdala is a core function of the brain. It is responsible for receiving signals from the body and processing our emotions. It then sends warning signals or calm signals back to the body to instruct it on how we should react. This is linked to the freeze, flight, or flee response of which we will speak of next episode. When the amygdala goes into survival mode it is as if the lamp of our mind is blown out and our ability to process information and problem solving is greatly reduced, often times those abilities disappear altogether.
When we name our emotions, we take back the reigns of our mind, even if for just a moment, allowing the amygdala to in essence take a deep breath and us the opportunity to relight our lamp of the mind and gain control of ourselves and hopefully the situation. But how do we name our emotions?
The naming of our emotions is a skill, as I’ve said, and as such you cannot expect this ability to magically appear. It takes practice. What in the world am I talking about? I’m sure you are all rolling your eyes thinking, “I’ve been naming my emotions for years.” And you would be right, to a certain extent.
We are taught from infancy to speak up and say what we are feeling, however, the language that we have been taught has most likely, been limited. When you are upset you learned to say, “I’m angry”. When sad, “I’m sad.” However, those simple words do not accurately depict all the emotions rolling around inside you.
There is a tool I use both professionally and in my personal life. The Emotion Wheel (linked and depicted in my show notes on my blog). This tool is very helpful as at its core it names the four most dominant emotions. They are Anger, Disgust, Fear, Surprise, Happy, and Sad. These emotions are what we fall back on as our default emotions, while in the mental health field we call these four emotions, secondary emotions.
Secondary emotions are, in essence, reactions we have to other emotions.
The emotion wheel assists us in finding the words to more fully describe the emotions we were, or are, feeling. For instance if I were to take the area of the wheel dedicated to the secondary emotion of anger, and follow it outwards it would provide me with a plethora of words to more accurately describe that anger such as: mad, hateful, frustrated, provoked, etc.
Let’s pause for a moment and look at an example that we are all pretty familiar with road rage or anger.
Let’s say you and I are driving down the road. It’s icy out and it’s rush hour. Your moving along, carefully in your lane, when someone cuts in front of you, causing you to slam on the breaks. You swerve and almost hit the car in the next lane. You swear and yell at the car in front of you, but they are unaware of the chaos they caused and keep rolling along. When you get home you tell your partner, “I got so mad today! Some idiot cut me off and I almost crashed!”
Yes, you are mad, or angry if you will. However, that emotion is simply the reaction to the other underlying emotions you experienced in the moment. If we were to go back and analyze that moment you would recognize that under the anger what you felt were a myriad of other emotions: fear, loss of control, helplessness, extra. However, our default is to just tell ourselves and others is that we were/are mad. Mad just doesn’t do the experience justice does it?
When we are able to name our emotions, we are more accurately able to describe the experience thus filling in all the gaps that the word mad, or angry just couldn’t express.
So, here’s an exercise for you: Take out the emotion wheel and think back to a recent event in which you felt one of the four secondary emotions: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Surprise, Happy, or Sad. Then trace the section of the circle, or pie, with that emotion out and see if it helps describe the emotion you felt more clearly.
If you need a little help, here is something I often use. Use this word formula, filling in the blanks. “When you ______ I felt _____ Because _____.”
Let’s take the car example again. If I were to use that formula I would say, “I felt helpless when you cut in front of me because I lost control of my car.”
I invite you to practice using the emotion wheel and the sentence formula as you think back on your day. I daresay you will find relief and empowerment in the act of expressing your emotions more fully, if only to yourself.
You may be thinking, “that’s all well and good Emily, but how is that going to help me in the moment?” As I mentioned, naming your emotions is a skill and thus you need to practice it in reflective and calm moments before it can be put into practice in real time. You wouldn’t expect a 3-year-old to be able to go up to the chalk board and write their name in perfect cursive, would you? It takes years of practicing their lettering with dedication before they are able to do that. The same holds true here. You cannot expect yourself to be able to name your emotions accurately in the moment if you have not practiced naming them beforehand.
The more you practice the more you will see it seeping into the moment thus allowing you to express yourself more fully and accurately as time goes by. I practice this every day. I’m not an expert at it and I still find myself needing those calm moments of reflection in order to truly name what I felt and why.
A Time for Hygge
Naming Emotion Meditation from Naming the Feelings, Guided Meditation - MindfulnessExercises.com:
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” ― Helen Keller