What Are You Feeling

Hannah Clark

How are you feeling?

Are you happy? Angry? Sad?

How many times a day do you smile?

Do you feel down or trapped often?

Do you feel that your emotions are being repressed by society at all?

Do you have trouble expressing yourself and your emotions?

What do you do to help recognize your feelings?


When questioned like this, it is rather likely that all of us are able to tell which particular emotional state we are in at that current moment; however, every day we feel surges of different emotions and feelings, and they are very much the same for every human being. As teenagers and young adults, our emotions are sometimes looked down upon by older people, meddled with hormones and crazy thoughts, the list goes on, but our emotions and feelings should not be ignored or drowned away; they are extremely important to pay attention to and comprehend.

Emotions have specific powers over our brain and processing, and the fact that emotions appear pre-cognitively is actually quite helpful. Under impending threats and anxiety-inducing situations, there simply is no time to “think”, hence, our emotions grasp control and trigger immediate behavioral responses in milliseconds, preventing negative outcomes and keeping us out of harm’s way. Emotions support decision making and serve as a vital source of inspiration and motivation to select and take appropriate action.

Emotions help us survive, help us take action, strike, and avoid danger; to strive to make decisions for the better and to understand others. Moreover, they assist other people in trying to understand us. From an evolutionary standpoint that has existed for thousands of years, mind structures that process cognitive information are way younger than other brain areas that are modulated autonomously, one could say that the effect of emotions on human behavior is much greater compared to cognition and rational decisions. Further, other human’s emotions affect our own by virtue of the information they convey. When we decipher someone’s facial expression to reflect fear, we tend to instantly scour for treacherous or hazardous stimuli lurking in the environment. Likewise, we settle downs and feel comfortable and safer when sensing happiness and tranquility emanating from others around us, allowing our walls to come down and open up. Consequently, emotions, cognitions, and behavior of human beings can easily be affected by emotional stimuli, it is more frequent than not.

While that is all well and good, nowadays, some emotions are seen as a burden, bad, or troublesome to deal with: It’s easy to categorize them as being good or bad, although, feelings in themselves aren’t positive or negative. It’s what we choose to do with those emotions that can make the difference. Anger, for example, gets a bad reputation. While some people make horrible choices when they’re mad, other people choose to use anger in a proactive manner. Many of the world’s positive changes wouldn’t have ever occurred if activists hadn’t gotten upset about cruel and heinous injustices, now would they? It is a healthy social skill to be able to behave professionally even when you’re not at the top of your game, breaking your guard down at socially appropriate times is most definitely not a sign of weakness. In fact, being aware of your emotions and making a conscious choice to deposit those emotions with others, (of course when it’s socially appropriate to do so), can be a vibrant symbol of strength and can impress others to do the same so that you’re all on the same comprehension level.

Developing an awareness and understanding of your emotions can be complicated when you’re not used to pondering about how you feel. Just like most lessons and skills in life, with practice, your ability to recognize, tolerate and regulate your emotions will inevitably improve. Escalating emotional self-awareness is definitely a way to improve anxiety, depression, and muster up more genuine smiles. Nevertheless, what are you feeling now?


Devona Lewis – Grade 11

“I’m feeling happy. I smile often every day; my friends make sure of that. Sometimes I do feel down, and I do feel as though I have to hide behind a smile because people will judge me, I have to act as though I will always forgive and forget because I am in the wrong if not. Often I find myself struggling to explain the emotions that I feel but everyone does sometimes, people also take some of my positive actions and turn them into negative one hurting others. I take time to myself, I make sure my friends and family know I’m not just trying to block them out and push them away but that I need a little time to myself.”


Destiny Kaminsky – Grade 9

“I’m feeling happy. I smile a lot I can’t even keep track of how many times I smile. I do feel often or down often because issues I have with family and even some friends. I do feel that my emotions are being repressed by society and my emotions because it all piles up and it’s just hard for me to handle it with society being such a big problem now with emotions and not understanding how to control it. I try to recognize my feelings by stopping myself from listening to a certain type of music and just trying to talk to friends about what’s going on and just taking a break from all the pressure.”


Madison Poole – Grade 11

“I’m feeling alright because I’m looking forward other parts of my day. I was feeling upset, but it’s turned around. I’d say at least 32 times to give out a random number. There are always reasons I feel down or trapped, but I usually try not to focus on it too much. Somewhat, yeah. I mean there are certain points where I worry about what others think about how I react to my true feelings. No, I think I express myself too much, if I’m angry, people know, if I’m sad, people know. I’m not good at hiding it, and I just recognize a problem when it comes naturally.”


Derek Atwood – Grade 11

“Right now happy. When it comes to smiling, it depends on the day. No, I never think about that, I don’t feel repressed or trapped, nor do I really feel I have trouble expressing my emotions, but I suppose sometimes I do. And I recognize my emotions and take some time to think about it and calm down.”


JD Hawes – Grade 11

“Right now I feel on the happy and content side. Probably, give or take 50 times or so. It depends on why I feel down, so yes, I do feel trapped at times. It depends on the person that I talk to, I suppose, worried about being judged or looked down upon. I feel that I have control over my emotions well, and if there’s a problem with my feelings I face then head on and try to solve the problem.”


Alexandria Monks – Grade 11

“Right now I’m honestly not feeling anything.
It differs, but usually about 10 times. Yes, I feel both of those often. Yes, I feel that society is pushing me to be robotic. Yes, I feel I have trouble expressing my emotions sometimes. I just, I don’t know, I feel them so much that by now I just know them and I calm myself by listening to music.”

How about you?