Do you know how you feel? 1


Have you ever felt worried and not known why?                                   

Did you know that in Sanskrit there are 96 words for love; ancient Persian has 80, and English only one?

What have these in common?


They are about literacy. Becoming literate is one of the most important things we can do to make our lives happier. But this literacy is not about learning to read and write, but becoming emotionally literate: learning to recognise our feelings.


Why do we need to be emotionally literate?


A number of studies suggest we cope better emotionally if we can do this. Now it may seem that you're already emotionally literate – after all, you know when you’re happy and when you’re not. And yes, you can tell when you’re angry because of the objects leaving your hands and going out through the windows.


But you’re probably not as emotionally literate as you think. Most of us at times struggle to recognise our feelings: for instance, many people who over-eat are putting ‘fuel’ in their body when in fact they feel sad – not hungry. And experts recently said that most of the time (that’s right, most!) we don’t eat because we want food, but because we're thirsty (a very common one), stressed, bored, lonely, angry, and so on.


Judging by this research, most people have an easy way to control their eating – we simply learn to eat when hungry and stop when comfortable. If this is true (and it does seem likely) then the 60% have a simple way to reduce or even eliminate this problem. And others have a great chance of having a better life in other ways.


The Benefits of Emotional Literacy


Those who can differentiate between emotions tend to drink far less, are less likely to violently retaliate verbally or physically if someone hurts them, and even show less brain response to rejection. It seems we really can expect to deal better with life if we can identify our feelings more than we do now.


Sounds good. So how can we achieve this greater awareness?


 Click here for Part Two