When we, as a group, challenged each other to present something in which we find MOST helpful to navigate these new and impressive waters, I immediately thought of my studies with the concepts of emotional intelligence by Karla MacLaren. Personally, I have found life to be a series of ebbs and flows….take in lots of info and suddenly, when we have a MOMENT in which we need to apply that info, let’s put it to the test! And from what I feel unfolding in myself day to day, as well as what I see going on around me, this is the perfect time to apply many of her concepts!

As a survivor of sexual assault, I found her work personally empowering because she reinvited me back to ALL of my emotions. From my assault and through my childhood years, I was disconnected from many BIG and life-sustaining emotions and subsequently, their gifts. Finding her work was like reading directly from my own heart, body wisdom and life-saving gut. Now, this didn’t mean that as soon as I read her work I was instantly emotionally intelligent – it isn’t just enough to read her words – what has increased my emotional intelligence is getting real and honest with myself about what I have been taught – both about emotions generally – AND what I’ve learned about each one. A sort of contract, as she references, and how these contracts are affecting the way I take care of myself and others.

One particular contract that I have worked on re-writing is that I have a choice over what emotions rise – which is cockymamey! I used to writhe here, feeling ashamed of many of the emotions I experienced – disconnecting, suppressing and avoiding the ones that I thought weren’t acceptable, fearing I may be less lovable for their presence. 


When learning that emotions could better be defined as: action-requiring neurological programs, it helped me return my power (and sanity) back to where it belonged.  




So, instead of wasting my energy on what wasn’t really possible, she taught me to listen and create a dialogue with each and every one of my emotions – that each one bears its own wisdom. She helped me to get curious with them so I could discover what action was needed to release their energy, instead of holding onto the energy by ignoring and suppressing it, only making my physical body more sensitive than it really needed to be. And better, these actions helped to safeguard my life by helping me check in on behaviors and attitudes.

So, during a time of swift and unforeseen change, where big emotions like panic,fear, and anxiety – just for starters – are thrown around heavily and in many cases, thrown out – can we invite them back in and see what they might have to say? 



The difference between fear, anxiety, and panic

Fear, anxiety, and panic are energetic emotions all by themselves, but when they team up, your emotional skills may be overwhelmed. It’s a lot going on all at once!

However, these three emotions are necessary right now, and each one has a very important job to do. It can help to understand what each of these emotions does so that you can ground and focus yourself — and help them do their best work.

  • Fear helps you focus on the present moment and access your instincts and intuition as you orient to your situation.
  • Anxiety helps you focus on the future and create the most intelligent plans and pathways that will help you arrive in the future successfully, with all of your skills and resources.
  • Panic helps to save your life when you’re in danger, and it helps you choose the perfect response so that you (and others) will survive.

All three emotions are necessary right now, and yes, you can learn to work with them together. Many of you already are doing beautifully, even if you didn’t know that you’re working with all three emotions at once.

These emotions will help you identify changes and hazards, plan ahead, and make life-saving decisions. They have a lot of energy, however, so it’s important to care for yourself and work with them skillfully.

There isn’t any better time than now for you to learn more about emotions and your personal relationship to each one and it certainly isn’t too late. Embracing your emotional wisdom and working with them can be the difference between merely surviving through these murky waters and thriving instead. 


To learn how, check out the links below.

Click here to read the entire article:


Additional Resources:

Book: The Language of Emotions

Book: The Art of Empathy

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KarlaMcLarenAuthor/


Gabrielle Warner

Massage Therapist and Trauma Touch Therapist

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