Emotional check-ins can help you recognize, identify, and understand what you’re feeling and what prompted you to feel that way. When your emotions are rising, it’s important to know what’s behind that response before you can begin to address those feelings. Here are ten questions to ask yourself while journaling to improve your emotional wellness and make better decisions.

Do your feelings feel out of control and unmanageable? Connect with a therapist at NYC Therapeutic Wellness for help as you heal and grow to thrive on your chosen life path.

Journaling about Your Emotions

Journaling has been proven as an effective way to deal with distressing emotions. Writing about your feelings, how you experience them, and the life situations that trigger them is a productive way to deal with uncomfortable emotions. Once you better understand what you’re going through, you can improve your decision-making, too. Your emotions effect your thoughts and behaviors. A better understanding of them will ultimately help you gain more awareness and understanding of yourself as a whole.

The only problem with journaling for some people is that they don’t know where to start or what to write. By starting with an emotional check-in list, you can get into writing more quickly and address the questions most important to your emotional well-being.


The Top Ten Questions to Consider

Having trouble figuring out what to write? The following questions will help you start journaling and develop the habit of writing and thinking about how you feel.

1. What word describes your primary emotion right now?

What is the main emotion you’re feeling right now? Would you say you feel angry, afraid, embarrassed, hurt, overwhelmed, anxious, or some other emotion? Recognizing the core emotion you’re feeling right now is a good first step to feeling better. You might not realize how to identify the emotion immediately, but a therapist can help you.

2. How would you describe that emotion?

Now, think of the exact nature of your main emotion at the moment. How intense is it? What does it feel like? How is it affecting your thoughts and decisions?

3. How does your body feel?

Although your feelings are emotions, they affect your physical body, too. You may feel tight muscles, an upset stomach, or other physical manifestations of that emotion. Do an emotional check-in with your body to recognize how your emotions, such as anxiety or disappointment, are affecting you physically at the moment. Emotions can have a profound effect on your body.

4. Is there an event, person, place, or thing that might have caused this response?

Starting to build awareness around what activates an emotion is a very helpful tool to support you in managing your emotions. Getting in tune with what causes you to react or feel a certain emotion gives you the opportunity to learn more about what is causing this response. Some triggers will be easier to identify then others. Start to practice awareness and triggering events or people will start to reveal themselves to you and become more obvious.

5. How did you react to that trigger?

Once you identify the trigger you can then start to process your response to it. How did you feel? What emotion did it illicit? What did you do with that emotion? If you responded in a way that perpetuated a secondary emotion (e.g., shame or guilt) then processing and bringing awareness to the trigger and response can help you develop new ways to responding and reacting that do not illicit secondary emotions that may make you feel even worse.

6. How will you respond now?

Now that you’ve given yourself time to process whatever triggered your current emotions, what could you do now? How can you respond to similar circumstances, and what can you do to resolve the issue to reduce your uncomfortable feelings in this case? Once you’ve gotten to this point in the emotional check-in, it’s important to take time to slow down and consider the best options for moving forward – rather than becoming a victim to your emotions.

7. Are you taking care of your physical well-being?

Taking care of your body is essential to your emotional well-being. For example, if you are having anxiety, it can cause you breathing problems, sleeping problems, aches and pains, higher blood pressure, and even nausea.

Other emotions can affect your physical health, and vice versa. So, take a moment to ask yourself if you’ve been getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise, and avoiding unhealthy habits. If not, focusing on your physical health may improve your emotional well-being dramatically.

8. What is on your mind today?

What you’ve been thinking about today may explain why you feel the way you do now. After all, your thoughts contribute to your emotional well-being. Write about your thoughts, and notice if there are any connections between those thoughts and the emotions you’re experiencing. Are there consistent narratives or messages that bring about the same emotion? What are you saying to yourself and how does it make you feel? Tune in.

9. What can you do to feel calmer?

Emotional distress is the opposite of calmness. If you’re feeling angry, sad, hurt, or overwhelmed, you probably don’t want to feel that way for long. Recognizing the feeling is the first important step, but you can also benefit from taking steps to reduce those feelings. Here are a few examples of things you can do to feel more at ease.

  • Drinking herbal tea.
  • Taking a walk outside in a natural setting.
  • Chatting with a trusted friend.
  • Listening to soothing music.
  • Creating artwork.
  • Talking it over with a therapist.

10. What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude can make a significant difference in your emotions. Even on your most stressful days, you can probably think of something you’re grateful about. Make a list and dwell on these things for a moment.

How to Develop a Positive Support System

Life in NYC can be extremely stressful, so having a support system is essential. Consider your friends and family to determine which of them you can rely on to help you feel more self-confident, relaxed, and happy. Then, look further to find other people in your community who can support you in reaching for better emotional well-being. Although your work and other activities may feel overwhelming, having others who support you can help you have a more positive outlook and better emotional regulation.

Could a Therapist Help You Learn to Manage Your Emotions Better?

A strong support system can help you on your journey to better understand and regulate your emotions. A therapist can be an important part of that support. You can partner with a therapist who gives you the time, tools, and techniques to help you overcome and understand negative emotions realistically and effectively.

Self-awareness can segue into opportunities to improve your emotional condition. You can start with the emotional check-in questions above and refine your list with a therapist who listens to understand what you want and need. Then, you can make the decisions that contribute to your overall success and happiness.

At NYC Therapeutic Wellness, we focus on helping you find ways to meet your emotional needs. Whether that involves building a better support system, understanding your emotions better, or learning to make better decisions, we are here to help. In therapy, you can gain a deeper understanding of how you feel, why you feel that way, and how you can better respond to those feelings and the events that triggered them.

Would you like help identifying and managing intense feelings? Schedule an appointment with a therapist who will provide insight and support as you deal with emotional challenges.