Feeling overwhelmed or unable to name the emotions you’re experiencing? You’re not alone. Learning to identify and process our feelings is critical for well-being, yet it’s a skill most of us were never taught. By naming specific emotions and creating space to feel them fully, we can begin to release pent-up energies in a healthy way.


00:00:00 - Andrew Dewar

Welcome. Today's episode is called feeling your feelings. Our intention for this episode is that you come to understand more about what your feelings are and you're able to identify them and feel them in a healthy way that helps you deal with them as they arise. Welcome to the five year you podcast, a show dedicated to helping you become the best version of yourself one day at a time. I'm Andrew.

00:00:26 - Catherine Collins

And I'm Kat. And we promise to keep it raw, real and relatable.

00:00:32 - Andrew Dewar

Are you ready to grow? This podcast is intended to entertain, educate, and inspire you on a personal journey towards your best self. We are in no position to give advice and are hot messes on the best of our days. Clearly, we're in no position to offer health or medical advice or really any life advice, but we want to entertain you. Just a reminder, this is not a replacement for proper medical care or therapy. If you are struggling, please seek help from a qualified health professional. Let's jump in. A lot of people will talk about feelings. You know, you need to feel your feelings, and that's great. But if you're like me a few years ago, you hear this and you think, what does that mean? And more importantly, how do I do this? So, Kat, what's been your experience with how to feel your feelings?

00:01:26 - Catherine Collins

I have no problem. But I will say that the concept of feeling your feelings is sort of a newfangled thing. It's this thing that I think millennials and Gen X are very pro mental health, pro feelings, pro therapy, and it's because many of us didn't grow up that way. And there is so much more open talk about the importance of mental health and wellness these days. And a big part of that is managing the feelings that come up. We've mentioned in many past episodes, I've always been highly sensitive and have had plenty of big feelings. So I feel something and I'm in it and you know it. And there's no, like, gee, I wonder if she's upset. Like, there's no passive aggressiveness. Like, you know, you know how I feel, for better or for worse.

00:02:26 - Andrew Dewar

And I've worked with you a long enough time to know that. I know when you're happy. I know when you're frustrated or sad or anything else. You are very good at feeling your feelings. And some people may label that as bad, but I view it as, now, I did not view this as a great thing for myself, and now I view it as like a really, really strong version of health or part of your health that is just. It's a very, very healthy thing to do because, like, I've talked to you before, I don't know if we actually mentioned it on the show, but I was just really putting my emotions in the emotional garage, and I was not dealing with them. And that had, you know, its own implications and terrible buildups. Now, knowing how to feel my feelings and to process them in a healthy way, it's been a game changer, just in my mental state, but in also my physical state. Meaning, like, I'm not trying to suppress things.

00:03:28 - Catherine Collins


00:03:29 - Andrew Dewar

Like I did for the better part of my life.

00:03:31 - Catherine Collins

Well, I think that's important to note, because if you don't, and by you, I mean those listening, if you don't feel your feelings, they will eventually force you to.

00:03:49 - Andrew Dewar

Just speaking from personal experience, it'll hurt you. It will physically hurt you over time. An emotion is energy in motion, is what people commonly say. And when that energy gets stuck, let's just take the one that I think most of us will relate to and have a hard time doing. It's crying, right? I think that's pretty universal. It's a lot easier when you're angry in a car to let out that. That shout at the person who cut you off. But it's not so easy when you see a Kleenex commercial and you want to cry. And, yes, this is from firsthand experience. So I think what we have to do is just maybe, let's just go through a process of this so people kind of get what happens. And I was talking about energy in motion. And if that energy, like you feel that in your heart, you feel like a sadness of some kind. And I mean sadness, you can feel like joy. It'll come up. And, you know, for those of you that are listening, I am grabbing my throat right now because that's honestly where it gets stuck. And when I do energy work with people, I would say 95% of people have some sort of energy emotion stuck in their throat because they are not expressing themselves. And when you don't express yourself, that emotion starts to get stuck. It's harder to release. So it's a healthy thing for it to come out. You're meant to cry. You have tear ducts, you have these emotions. Your body is physically able to do it. I think a lot of us when we don't cry, it's because I know from my perspective, it's men don't cry. Well, you know, I have happily cried enough for the whole male population in the last couple of years, and I'm happy to do it. I will take that bullet for the team, so to speak. Yeah, I feel better every time it comes out, and I feel worse when I'm not able to, for whatever reason, I have a method for dealing with it that we'll talk about, but, yeah.

00:05:54 - Catherine Collins

Because there's certain times, right, that you might not be able to cry. You might have a big presentation at work. You might have any number of circumstances where it's. You're not able, in that moment, to express your feelings, and that's okay. I will say one of the benefits that I have of working from home is that I am able to, you know, if something comes up or if it's something I'm sad about, I can take a minute and let that flow through. And there's a couple of different ways that you can feel your feelings, or you can start to try. And I think the very first thing, and this might seem rudimentary, but you gotta, like, identify what you're feeling to begin with because they get kind of mixed up.

00:06:46 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah, it's. Again, I came from a whole. I was not good at feeling my feelings at all. I basically. There were two feelings I had, good and bad, and that was it. And it was very rarely good. So when good happened, I knew it. And then we were just talking before the show about this, how I initially went and sought a counselor about this, and she asked me, what are you feeling? And I said, I don't know, because I was just so locked down. And she said, well, have you ever looked at an emotion wheel or a needs wheel? And this is a great thing. We'll put a link to it in the show notes. But you were saying that your kids at the time were introduced to this, and, like, what was it? Grade one?

00:07:30 - Catherine Collins

So, yes, I was so amazed by this, because when my kids were in first grade, this was when they were, like, among the first kids to go back into schools after COVID. And they were in these tiny eight person pods, and they had put, like, the twins in the school in the same class to minimize, you know, cross contamination, all these different things. So there's eight kids and two sets of twins, and it was just a really unusual, strange year. And this teacher had, like, this first grade version of an emotion wheel where they each had, like, a little magnet of themselves, and they could put it on what they were feeling. And so it wasn't just happy and sad. For example, when you're happy, you can be joyful, exuberant.

00:08:20 - Andrew Dewar

They have it divided into six primary feelings, and then there's subsets of those and then subsets of those. So under happiness is joy is the big title. And then it's, like, enthralled, elated, enthusiastic, optimistic, proud, cheerful, happy, content. And then underneath content, it's pleased and satisfied. Underneath happy, it's amused, delighted. Underneath cheerful, joyful, blissful. So there's a wide range of these, not just good and bad.

00:08:48 - Catherine Collins

So I can just be content because I'm curled up on the couch with a new book, and I'm just, like, happy as a little clam, and I'm content and at peace. But that doesn't mean I'm necessarily, like, jumping for joy, right? So there's all these different versions, and the same thing with the sad emotions. Again, I'm thinking about my twins in first grade because there's a lot of different things. Like I'm sad because I miss my mom, because I'm at school, or I'm frustrated because, you know, this other kid took the toy I was playing with, or so tell me some of the sad ones on the wheel.

00:09:22 - Andrew Dewar

So under sadness, there's suffering, sadness, disappointed, shameful, neglected, despair. And underneath those is agony, hurt, depressed, sorrow, dismayed, displeased, regretful, guilty, isolated, lonely, grief, powerless. There's quite a few. And for any of you that are wondering, the six primary feelings that they have on this wheel, and I've seen several wheels that are all kind of different. So it's more just being able to identify than the characterization of it. So there's joy, love, fear, anger, sadness, and surprise. And I thought those are all very, very useful emotions. And then under those, there's like, you know.

00:10:04 - Catherine Collins

Yeah, subcategories.

00:10:06 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah. And then underneath those six, there's another twelve. So you could be feeling, let's just say, guilty. But you don't understand that that's a form of sadness. When you look at that, it's just really nice to know that, first of all, you can identify the feeling. Once you. Once you name it, you can tame it, is the. The axiom that people kind of say, and when you have those feelings and you can identify it, it's just then you can work with it. You can go, okay, you know, I feel lonely. That's a form of sadness. So, you know what is making me feel lonely right now? Is it the fact that I'm alone or am I with, you know, a group of people that I'm not my authentic self? And even though I'm with 20 people right now, I feel very lonely. And you can just start to kind of piece that together and, yeah, I.

00:10:54 - Catherine Collins

Think this is so helpful because I don't know if anyone else experiences this, but sometimes I might, you know, feel bad and, like, I can't really identify why. You know, I'm like, well, I'm. Why did I just get this wave of sadness? Like, what am I thinking about? Or what just came up? And you can look at the wheel and know that you're a little down, and you can kind of look at all the categories, and you could say, oh, it's like disappointment. And that's probably because, oh, I just got this email from this client that said this, and that's what's bubbling up, but I couldn't pinpoint it until I actually got to those definitions. And I'm really grateful for that teacher, for really caring about the mental health of my children during that year because that's just remarkable to me. And to give first graders, and now they're in fourth grade, and we still talk about this, the opportunity to take their little magnetic selves and move it around on the emotions also teaches these children that it's a perfectly normal part of being human to feel multiple different feelings in the same day. All are okay because there's no good and bad emotions. There's just emotions.

00:12:19 - Andrew Dewar

The other thing, and we didn't really talk about this beforehand, but knowing that you can feel two things at the same time was just a mind blowing thing for me when I figured that out. So I know you. You do a lot of speaking. And what I would think is, like, what happens is when you get a new job or a new gig, you probably have that excitement come up, and you probably have a little bit of fear of, you know, like. Cause it's public speaking, maybe you're over it or not. I know. You know, when you have those moments, it's like you have these two feelings, and you're allowed to feel that way. You know, you're allowed to feel excited, and you're allowed to feel scared or.

00:12:57 - Catherine Collins

Your parents going on your first maybe trip without your kids, and you're, like, so excited to be on a trip without your kids, but then you're so sad because you miss your kids. You know, you can feel those things at the same time. And again, remarkable part of being human is that we have these dynamic feelings and can experience so many at the same time.

00:13:22 - Andrew Dewar

One of the things I'll say about feeling your feelings, and I can't speak for the women in the group that are listening, but maybe some of them will be able to relate. I know for a lot of men, we just resist feeling things. And I see it. It's, you know, we have a lot of coping mechanisms these days. We've got, you know, we've got drinking, we've got drugs, we've got video games, we've got our phones, we have a whole bunch of ways to avoid feeling our feelings. And the thing that kept coming up for me is like, what you resist persists. So I always kind of felt like I was in this room and an emotion was trying to come in. Let's just say it's sadness, because I think that's the one that kind of scares us the most.

00:14:07 - Catherine Collins

Sure, we're great being happy and excited. None of us have any problems being like, this is awesome. It's the quote unquote negative. See, I'm even saying negative. There's nothing negative. It's the. I don't. The ones that maybe don't feel as great, that are hard to feel, it's.

00:14:23 - Andrew Dewar

The contrasting emotions to the more uplifting ones. And so I always looked at it, and this came to me in a meditation one day was. It was like sadness was at the door. And I was literally putting all my effort to keep sadness outside of the door. And finally I allowed myself for the door to open up and the emotion to come in. And as it came in, it really just passed through me and went out the window behind me. And that's all the emotion was wanting to do, was just pass through so it could be released and get back out there. Once I stopped resisting these things, they would pass through me. I would feel them. I would feel so much better. And I will honestly say, the harder the cry, the better I felt. The fear was always. It was the same fear every time. And I know you're listening to this right now and you're thinking, oh, is he going to say what I think he's going to say? And it's, yes. If you start crying, you're afraid you won't be able to stop. You do stop. You always stop. It might not be in the minute you want it to, it might be half an hour, it might be days on and off, but there is stuck emotion in you, and it is wearing you down from the inside out. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not having an impact on you. And when I work with people, that is one of the biggest things we work on is releasing these stuck emotions. And the stuff that happens after that is life changing on so many different levels.

00:15:54 - Catherine Collins

Yeah. And I think that's really important to say and also to let people know that there are many different methods of feeling your feelings. And what works for one person might not work for another. So I want to give a couple of examples, especially people sort of new to this. The first one is you can be the curious observer. And I learned this when I went to therapy in graduate school. Like, really early on, I was dealing with sort of the aftermath of feelings of Hurricane Katrina. I experienced Katrina. I was there in the New Orleans area as Katrina passed through and witnessed a lot of things. And in the couple of years after that, it took me a while to process that experience. And the therapist at the time told me to be a curious observer. If you aren't ready to quite feel it yet, you can sort of close your eyes, and as a feeling washes over you, you can sort of imagine that you're adjacent to it or above it, and just kind of watch the feeling, whatever it looks like. It can be a dark cloud or thunder and lightning if you're angry or whatever it is, or just this wave kind of rolling up to the shore and then kind of imagine it kind of being pulled out. I know that maybe it sounds silly to people, but these visual cues really do help. There's one that my daughter learned from a school counselor, which, again, perfect for children. She calls it sparkle rain, and it's how she allows herself to transition into a better feeling for her when she's in sadness or when she's in all these different things. And you imagine this, like, peaceful, sparkly rain coming down and sort of washing the bad away. So for adults, we say, like, cry in the shower. You know, just literally sob your eyeballs out in the shower. You're already in there. There's already water. Then you can actually visualize the shower washing all of these tears away, and they all swirl right down the drain. When you're done, it's just a complete release and they're gone. It's in the plumbing.

00:18:19 - Andrew Dewar

I love that visual and that experience. That's amazing.

00:18:23 - Catherine Collins

Yeah. So these are things you can use for yourself. These are things you can tell your kids, why don't you share? Because one of the things that you do, which I think is really great, is you will often say, like, for example, we're about to get on a phone call or you're upset about something else, and you're like, I know there's a cry in me, so I'm going to set up some time to do that later. And I'm always like, wow, I can't do that. Like, I'm like, I ought to do it now because I'm a mess. But, yeah, share your way of doing it, which I really like.

00:18:55 - Andrew Dewar

So what I've learned to do, and my closest friend taught me this because he had some grief earlier on in his life, and he was told this. And when I was starting to experience feelings, it just. It was overwhelming, right? Because you're feeling something and you're like, well, you start to get afraid to go out because you think you need to feel your feelings right in that moment. And that's not always possible. It's not always the right thing. So what I did and what I was told to do is to set time aside every day to just feel the feelings you couldn't feel throughout the day. So for me, like, let's say we're about to get on this call, and I. I get some bad news of some kind, and it really upsets me. I don't want to bring that energy in, and I also don't want to put that. I mean, my emotional garage is pretty much empty. I am not putting another box in. So I just kind of put a tack in it. And I'm like, okay, I know that I am very upset about my grandmother passing a few months ago, and I haven't had the cry that I need to have. And I can feel it in my throat, though, as I'm saying that. So I know that even though mentally, I'm good with it, I understand all the things that have happened. There's the thinking part of it's fine. The emotional part needs to be felt because that's a big part of it. So I will go. Okay, I am going to take some time tonight after supper, after I'm done my duties for the day, and I am going to let out that emotion, in this case crying, because it needs to happen. I have gone through so many bad digestion issues and other bodily ailments from keeping my emotions repressed for 30 plus years that I know that it has to come out. My way of handling things went from I am never going to feel anything to I need to feel it by the end of the day, and I have to let that happen or else it gets buried. So by giving yourself permission to feel things a little bit later in the day or the next day or whatever makes sense for you, sometimes you don't get to. Sometimes, you know, you're in Disney world with the kids for a week and crying. Yeah, that might do it for you just there. But, you know, if goofy's not, you know, acknowledging you the way you want to be acknowledged in the park. Go cry about that when you need to. It's not silly, it's just you feel what you feel. Honor that, because there's probably more there. And it's when you start to let. Let out your emotions that you really do begin to heal. It's not something we talk a lot about in society, I find, like, it's. I think a lot of feeling our emotions is perceived at large as a negative thing. I know that's how I felt, and I think it was more about what that feeling would bring up in me. Like it would be a weakness or whatever. And now, like I said, I've done a total 180 on it. Feeling your feelings is a form of strength and it's a form of evolution of yourself so that you can grow to be a better person. If you are being weighed down by all these stuck emotions, you're never going to achieve the things you want to do in life.

00:22:18 - Catherine Collins

Yeah, that's a great point. So if you're listening to this, here are the main takeaways that we hope that you get. If I were to condense it into some steps that might be helpful. The first one is to identify what you're feeling. You know, give yourself the gift of the time to identify it. And again, we will put an example of an emotion wheel in our show notes so that you can see it. And then once you identify it, give yourself permission to explore that feeling. Go ahead and think the thoughts that you have been pushing to the side because you had work and kids and phone calls and appointments and whatever it is you had to do, go ahead and like Andrew said, you know, open the door and let them in and let it flow. You can try a bunch of different things. Again, we encourage you to find what works for you, whether it's setting aside those 15 minutes a day or when you feel something overwhelming, using some of those visualizations, hopping in the shower, whatever you need to do. Mostly the final step is to make sure that you congratulate yourself and honor yourself and give yourself credit for doing something that is not easy to do, for doing something that, you know, we were never taught in school like my children have been, and for giving yourself those coping skills. Go ahead and give yourself a little pat on the back. And to me, those are the three steps. Would you add anything to that, Andrew?

00:23:58 - Andrew Dewar

No, I think that's good. There's two things that came up. The first thing was in grade four, I was told to not cry so we're gonna have to process through that on my own. But the other thing that might help you listening is tapping emotional freedom technique. Tapping. That was one of the first things that I started to. And it's a very unique way and very effective way of helping unlock your feelings and helping them move through in that doesn't involve, you know, rage, yelling, or sobbing uncontrollably there. It's actually been. It was kind of my gateway into feeling my feelings more, knowing that this would help. So that that was the only thing that came up as another method that I wanted to make sure we mentioned.

00:24:44 - Catherine Collins

That is a great method. Tapping is great for kids, too. And what is the app that we both used for that? Do you remember the name?

00:24:53 - Andrew Dewar

It's the tapping solution.

00:24:56 - Catherine Collins

Yeah, we both have that, and it's been great. And we've had many friends recommended as well, who use the same app.

00:25:04 - Andrew Dewar

Actually, I got recommended that app twice in the same day when I was going through this. You recommended it, and our friend Monica recommended it, too. And it was just like, okay, clearly, I'm supposed to be doing this. We never heard of it before or since, but. So, yeah, that would be the other thing that came up. I think it's time for glimmers.

00:25:21 - Catherine Collins

All right. Why don't you share what a glimmer is, and then maybe you can start.

00:25:26 - Andrew Dewar

Sure. So a glimmer is something that lights us up. It makes us. It brings us joy. It can be as small as finding a penny on the sidewalk or as big as just an elephant showing up in your backyard magically. Don't know where that came from. That was terrible.

00:25:46 - Catherine Collins

That would bring up so many more issues and.

00:25:49 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah, yeah, let's. Let's. Let's just leave that. Yeah, let's keep going. So my glimmer is, I was last week at the hay house conference, the I can do it conference in Phoenix. And first of all, getting into Phoenix when you are in the cold is just nice and warm was amazing. But I got to meet so many authors and speakers, and I made some new friends, and it was just such a nice thing. It's. I think you know what this feels like. It's like you find your people and you're like, oh, all these people are into growth. They're into all the things that I like. There's nothing weird that you taught you bring up or talk about. Everybody I shared my story with was like, wow, that's amazing. And, you know, and you feel the same way. It was just really, really nice. So finding the right, people is always a nice glimmer. How about you, Kat? What's yours?

00:26:44 - Catherine Collins

Yeah, that's great. Yeah. My kids had spring break last week, and I brought them to Louisiana, where I grew up, to see their grandparents. And same thing, like, you know, we're in cold Detroit, and I brought them down to Louisiana where they were able to swim in March. And, you know, my mom basically invited every single aunt, cousin, you know, my grandma, you know, because it was my twins 10th birthday and we had cake. And the period about four days, they got to really see a lot of different family members. My kids are incredibly fortunate that they have all four of their grandparents living, and so they were able to get some beignets, which is a very classic New Orleans treat. And, you know, I was able to get a photo of them with all four of their grandparents, which, as you know, children with divorced parents, I feel like is very glimmery that all their grandparents were able to get together and that they have that picture. And so, yeah, lots of. Lots of glimmers there. Lots of good food. And, you know, traveling as a single parent with twins is so much easier when they're ten. And so I had lots of contrast as babies were crying on the plane. I was like, this is so nice. Oh, my gosh. It's so much better having ten year olds. So that was my little spring break glitter.

00:28:09 - Andrew Dewar

Awesome. I love that. I really love that. And happy birthday to the twins because it's ten double digits.

00:28:15 - Catherine Collins

It's a big one. I know. I can't believe it.

00:28:19 - Andrew Dewar

It goes by fast.

00:28:20 - Catherine Collins

They still interrupt all of our Zoom calls, which they've been doing since they were four years old.

00:28:25 - Andrew Dewar

So they do. Bless them.

00:28:28 - Catherine Collins

Bless them.

00:28:29 - Andrew Dewar

So we'll leave today with an action step for you listening at home or in the car. The next time you start to feel a feeling, next time something comes up, instead of tamping it down or ignoring it, pull up an emotion wheel. That's all you have to Google is emotion wheel. There's tons of them on the Internet. And identify the feeling. Once you start to label it, things change. Like I said, once you name it, you can tame it. And once you let it flow through you, it doesn't have to be in that moment, but give it a try. It gets easier. Like all things, it gets easier with practice and repetition.

00:29:07 - Catherine Collins

I think that's great. Good luck, everybody, and let us know if you give it a try.

00:29:12 - Andrew Dewar

Well, thank you for listening. Remember, it doesn't matter where you started from or where you're coming from. It matters where you're going.

00:29:19 - Catherine Collins

And we are rooting for you.