If historians study the Civil War, theologians study the sovereignty of God, and astronomers study the night sky, what do psychologists study? One professional topic that recently fascinated me is emotional expression. While working with some of my people on the skill of emotional expression, I discovered that my emotional expression is less than expert. I determined to see what practical steps I could take to improve my own emotional expression.
Here's what I found, and I can commend it to you. I found an Emotion Wheel like the one in this link. This is not like a dream catcher-there is nothing mystical or mysterious about this. It's just a subjective way to organize emotions. The link above depicts 32 emotion words, but of course, this list could easily be increased or decreased based on interest and utility. From this list, I choose one emotion a day to write about.
I write long-hand in a notebook and usually write in the morning along with my other morning routines. In about three or four sentences, I write about the most recent or prominent time I can recall feeling that emotion. And that's pretty much it. Of course, I cannot help but reflect on my experience in this process. I also think about the meaning of the emotion word and, in some cases, whether or not I even agree that it's an emotion. The point is that I will dedicate about five minutes a day for about a month to thinking about a range of emotions. There's something about this discipline that affects a person's broader experience. Much like walking a mile a day will improve not only my ability to walk a mile but also my physical and mental health (i.e., things not directly related to the task of walking a mile), I expect my five-minute writing routine to affect other aspects of my life positively.