Use your emotions as a guide to more happiness and fulfillment - Dr. Marianne van den Broek

Use your emotions as a guide to more happiness and fulfillment

"How do you feel about that?"

If you ever impersonated a psychiatrist or therapist, I am pretty sure you repeated this sentence a lot. And you would be right. Therapists and coaches often ask this question. Sometimes even a couple of times in a row.

Not because we're struggling to find a more original question, or as a space filler. But because emotions have the power to tell us things that the thinking brain can't always come up with.

Our emotions can lead the way towards a happy and fulfilling life.

And understanding how to leverage your emotions to stay on this path to happiness, can save you time, energy and heartache.


There are many different ways in which our emotions give us information, if we know how to listen. In this blog, I will tell you my top 3.

1. They tell us who to spend more time with.

Do you recognize this? You have spent an evening with friends, and in theory, it was a nice evening. You had some laughs, shared some stories, dinner was nice... And still you feel utterly deflated when you get home. You can't pinpoint what caused it. But your feelings don't lie. 

Or perhaps you don't even notice a direct correlation. But now that you analyze it, you feel extremely tired every time you have visited your parents. 

If you start paying attention to it, you will soon notice: spending time with some people will, in general, give you a good feeling, while being around others leaves you feeling worse than before you spent time with them.

Why is that important?

We are likely to feel and act roughly the same as the people we spend the most time with. And, a lesser know fact: the people they in turn spend the most time with. So you may be influenced by someone you have never met. (This blogpost summarizes the research involved, if you would like to learn more.

Once you start listening to your emotions, and spend more time with people who make you feel inspired, uplifted, filled with love and gratitude, your life will start to change!

2. They tell us when we are speaking our truth.

Just this morning, I caught myself doing this: Someone asked me how I was doing and before I knew it, I had started this whole story about how this plan I was really excited about fell through, my husband will be working all through the holiday weekend again, and the kids haven't been sleeping. 

And while I was telling this, I started to feel more and more depressed. I may have even cried a little.

And my first response to that was: "Well of course this depresses me, these are all facts and none of them are positive!"

But for me, and you may recognize this too, something else was going on: I wasn't speaking my truth.

When we get stuck in the daily grind, it is so easy to forget that all those little things we worry or get upset about, are not what really matter. 

They are not the truth of our being. Which is why our true inner self will not play along if we start throwing ourselves pity parties. (Abraham Hicks has some amazing content on this subject, if you want to learn more.)

Woman looking sad

So next time, when you are talking and you notice yourself getting upset, ask yourself how you can change the narrative, so you can feel uplifted again! My bad mood was over as soon as I realized I was doing it again, and that there must be other women who recognize this and may benefit from hearing this (again). 

3. They tell us how we need to change our thoughts to attract better things.

Our thoughts are energy. And one of the characteristics of energy is that it is attracted by alike energy. So if we focus our energy on the things we want in life, we are more likely to attract them. And if we focus them on all the things we don't want, or on the lack of the things that we do want, we are more likely to repel the things we want in life. This is often referred to as 'The law of attraction'. (Once again, Abraham Hicks is an excellent source if you want to learn more.)

We are not very good at controlling our thoughts.

In fact, often, we think our thoughts before we are even aware of them. Again, we can use our emotions to change this. Whenever you have subconscious negative thoughts, you will notice your mood changing for the worse. So if you notice negative emotions, check what you've been thinking! And as soon as you figure out what your negative train of thought was, stop it and replace it with positive thoughts instead.

There's one caveat: emotions are meant to be felt.

I am positive that being more aware of what our emotions are trying to tell us, leads to more happiness and fulfillment. But be mindful of the fact that emotions need to be felt. So if you feel sad, upset, angry, or exhausted, let yourself feel the feeling first. Take loving care of yourself. And then look for the lesson.

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