Understanding Emotions
Through the Senses

by May Bleeker, updated 24 Feb 2022

Recognizing and understanding emotions is the first step when it comes to acting with emotional intelligence.

Being effective in the emotional realm also involves being able to respond appropriately and helpfully to situations, regardless of what you are feeling.

But most of the time our feelings tend to derail us and cause 'upsets' in our lives, instead of being the helpful signals and information that they can be.

5 Senses - 5 Doorways

The only way you are really able to understand the world is through your own experience. You gain this experience through your five senses.

Explore emotions through the five senses

Can you think of anything at all that you 'know' that you didn't get to know through at least one of your senses?

Until you've experienced and understood things for yourself, everything else is just second-hand knowledge. Including what you read on this page. Understanding emotions is no different.

5 Practical Ways to Explore How You Feel

While reading or thinking about emotions can be useful, when you are looking for first hand understanding of emotions, you need to experience things for yourself.

This can be difficult if you are not accustomed to focusing your attention on your feelings.

People who know how to do it, do it automatically. Those for whom it does not come naturally, or who are more used to ignoring their feelings might not know where to begin.

What better way than through the doorways of your five senses?

Check out the 5 worksheets that provide different ways of exploring feelings. One for each of the five senses. They are constructed in such a way that you can use them to explore any emotion you can think of.

There is also an extra worksheet that deals with anger. A particularly difficult emotion. 

If you find these exercises useful, let me know what you discover!

A Note on Intuition

This 'Understanding Emotions' series of worksheets deals with the five senses. There is of course, also intuition, or what some people might think of as your sixth sense. But in my humble opinion the path to developing this type of refined 'listening' or 'intuitive sensing' is to first develop your ability to attend very closely to the everyday information coming in through your everyday senses. 

Intuition seems simply to be a much more refined version of this type of sensory listening. It has a mysterious quality, because it is very much a thing of the present moment. And the world and life are in fact very mysterious things. It is when you are fully present that you become deeply aware of this. 

When you are able to distinguish very finely between the subtle nuances of your own feelings and sensory input, and can make 'sense' of it in a holistic, but nameless way, you could call this being 'intuitive'. Knowing or 'sensing' this information is one thing. Trusting and following its guidance is another matter entirely!

Learning to be more finely tuned to your five senses may not only make you more self aware, it may develop your intuitive insights too!

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