Verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense, according to a new brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists. We know from experience that this is true, and now we know why.

Virtually all negative emotions are fear-based, despite what we might otherwise try to justify. This puts these emotions under the influence of the amygdala – a region of the brain which serves as an alarm to activate a cascade of biological systems to protect the body in times of perceived danger. This alarm goes off whenever we experience anything negative.

One of the ways to turn off the alarm has been confirmed to work, which is to verbalize whatever negative feelings we have. This is not a process of explaining them, but simply identifying them and naming them accurately.

What happens when we name the negative emotion is an activation of the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, which turns down the emotional levels, and a decrease in activity in the amygdala, which reduces the negative emotion and the fear underlying it.

Paying attention to what we are feeling requires reflection, and then labelling the feeling might require learning some new vocabulary – words that describe feelings.

We need to remind ourselves that while verbalizing negative feelings is beneficial, justifying or rationalizing them is not. When we justify the feelings we have, we affirm the intention of keeping them. Defending their presence within us only intensifies their activity. We do not then make the shift to the higher functioning parts of the brain in the prefrontal cortex but reinforce amygdala activity.

It is often helpful to verbalize your feelings to someone else or to write them in a journal. It does not matter how you do it. The process itself is what is important.

We can take this a step further if we want to enhance the process to a point of transformation, thus integrating personality with soul to a further degree. This step is to find the meaning of what we are experiencing, realizing that a negative state is some kind of imbalance or resistance. We can do this by answering the following questions about the negative emotions we are experiencing so we can move beyond them.

1. What do I need to understand?
2. What do I need to let go of?
3. What do I need to open up to?
4. What different choices do I need to make to
experience something different?
5. What soul quality do I need to express?

Author's Bio: 

Are you prepared to serve the new consciousness? As individuals, our ultimate service is to help others raise their consciousness. Let The Soul-Based Counseling Training Program guide you on how to attune to the souls of others, identify and respond to their needs and do it authentically, your natural way. Receive a comprehensive manual, the 4 progressive levels of The Soul Journey and free membership to access ALL of Andrew Schneider's online materials at the NEW Soul Journey Library. For over 30 years Andrew has worked in the metaphysical field having formally studied Theology, Philosophy, Psychology and Education.