To feel or not to feel, that is the question….

To feel or not to feel, that is the question….

Following on from the recent conversation about emotions , do you think that we can choose how we feel?

Do you feel that sometimes we can, and some times we can’t?

Some emotional responses are reactive to certain circumstances?

Choices Hope

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52 responses to “To feel or not to feel, that is the question….

  1. Scientists have conducted numerous experiments showing that we don’t really choose anything. Here’s one: Let’s say that we decide to lift a hand. Researchers have determined that nerves are firing, instructing the relevant muscles, before we are aware of the decision.

  2. I do think emotions are a choice – sometimes. But how we react and deal with emotions is what I think we do have control over most of the time. Although if I’m really stricken with something sad – I do wear my heart on my sleeve and I will cry, so maybe I’m just full of crap.

    • Also, read my post “Minnesota Nice, Is It?” to get my read on the emotional culture of the descendants of vikings here in the northlands. I have given this matter some thought….

  3. I think that we feel what we feel. How we deal with that emotion, however, is our choice. We feel angry and can’t help that but we can choose not to let it fester, we can chose to not let that anger come out in destructive ways, we can choose to talk it out or write or handle it in some other healthy way. I think the same goes for other emotions as well.

    • I really relate to your comment Momma. (Is it okay if I call you that?) I think that you have made some valid points, many that reinforce the opinions of others here that have also commented.

      Thank you for taking the time to drop by and share your thoughts!


    • Agreed! One of the reasons I think that if we hold back tears when we get that lump in our throats (you know the one I mean) we end up getting sick from it!

      Sometimes it is good work out ways to show how you are feeling.

      I feel a little bit lucky because generally if I feel hurt and want to cry I do, irrespective of who is around. It’s like a relief of sorts!

    • Another great point, Dave, thanks for sharing…

      Developing emotional intelligence and improving the ways we deal with our emotions take time and lots of experience…


  4. I think you can choose to be happy or not. If you focus on the negative all the time then that is exactly what you will be. Me, I prefer to focus on the positive, even when life is throwing crap at me. This dies t mean I’m never unhappy or angry, it just means I don’t hold on to those feelings and I choose to look around for things to make me smile. It’s probably very irritating to people who choose to be sad. 🙂

    • #Yes Marie!

      Great points! We may not be able to control the initial emotion, ‘Unhappy or angry’ BUT the idea of working hard to train ourselves to react more positively to the negative emotions – Love that idea, and it is consistent with my views too 🙂


  5. No; you feel how you feel and that’s what it is. Over time you can change how you feel by gathering more information to process, but even having that information doesn’t guarantee that something will feel “differently” after the fact. For example, imagine if you watched a video clip depicting a man giving another man a high-five to the face with a brick. Generally you’d feel that is wrong; after you’ve processed what you were presented with you find out that the man2 sexually assaulted man1’s wife or child. Totally different. (That’s also why I hate mainstream media)

  6. I voted yes. I am misophonic, which means I get the flight or fight reaction with certain sounds. Most people who have it get angry at chewing sounds, but I get the urge to run away. However, I choose to sit through the squids chomping as I want to spend time with family.

  7. We can affect them and we do often change them. Bitterness for e.g. is under our control if we nip it in the bud, but stems from disappointment. Sadness can become despair if we dwell in hopelessness too long. We have the choice to get treatment when chronically depressed but often we don’t realise that, precisely because we are depressed. And when treatment is successful, things don’t get us down quite so much, or rather, there is room in life for some more positive feelings.
    Different people have different outlooks that lead to negative or positive feelings. Trauma, especially in childhood or if it’s severe, actually changes the physical body and its chemicals thereby altering outlook. Chemicals and therapy can make an enormous difference and in time, change the body’s involuntary responses.

  8. No, I don’t. I think feelings are visceral and instinctive and therefore natural. But we can control how we RESPOND to these feelings, which is the salient point.

    Also, our feelings are governed and affected by our attitudes so that for example, if we have a positive and cheerful disposition, our emotions will follow suit…and conversely, the reverse would be true.

    Well, this is what I reckon, Miss Lou, in my not-so-humble opinion!

  9. I think that sometimes we can control how we feel, but sometimes we cannot. I can choose to not react to something that makes me angry, but I cannot always control something like depression or anxiety.

    • YES!! Great point! I think the analogy you made to controlling emotion during an anxiety attack (and or depression) is a very good one. I know I have had some terrible anxiety attacks, particularly during the time after a terrible Car accident I had in the 90’s. Some times it does take alot of work to calm one self. #FrighteningExperience!

      Great comment, thanks for that!


  10. Interesting, to some degree yes, if you’re ever had a job where you had to be cheerful and positive all the time, you’ll know that yes its often painful but, pretending to be that way will often change your mood to that.
    I’ve noticed too that people who have a particular mood pool together, depressives, cheerful people, that’s self perpetuating.

    • I’ve had experiences where being forced to behave in a certain way has become your mood, Scarlet.

      Customer Service Roles, or those times when YOU HAVE to turn up and you have to be professional, because the role dictates you do, and if you don’t there is too much riding on what you can loose.

      Interesting point you make about generally association, Scarlet – though so very true – at least in my personal life experiences.


      • Those situations can be a drag, you’ll either resent it or go with it, the latter I think is the best way, otherwise it just makes you bitter.
        I’ve noticed that, the general behaviour grouping online as well.


      • *nods* – yes and yes

        and absolutely yes to the behaviour grouping. I think it happens across all platforms and mediums to be honest.

        I find myself sometimes drawn into them without even recognizing it, having to make an intentional bold action to remove myself from such environments.


        Also, sometimes people don’t like it when you branch out of said environments. It can be confronting without you even realising it.


      • True, people like neat boxes, maybe that’s the whole problem with humanity?

        I’ll tell you a little story. When I first started as a working girl I had a customer who used to get several papers delivered – not unusual for a business guy but the section was. He had the financial review, a broad sheet and the popular News limited rag, plus a couple of those mad papers from the UK full of trash and alien stories. He said, its important to get many views even if they seem stupid or crazy, to keep abreast of how people think. He advised me to broaden myself, that it was easier to engage with people if I knew a little about everything. That proved to be one of the most important things I ever learned. I was able to engage with many more people. I know a lot of useless info now, I discovered that if I learned about what my clients where into I’d do better with them. That helps with writing too 🙂

      • I agree with the eclectic collection of weird and wonderful knowledge about all things being very useful – in many aspects of our lives.

        It helps us to relate and empathise with people more effectively. It improves the communication we have with others and the way we conduct ourselves during those situations where our relationships can be challenging.

        I also reckon it’s a pretty good demonstration of ones emotional intelligence if they are open to new ideas and consideration of things even if they do not necessarily have views consistent with them. 🙂


  11. As I think of this, I believe that how we feel can definitely be influenced by outside factors, as in conditioned response. Having said that, we also have “true” feelings that can emerge in spite of of those influences. A truly philosophical pursuit for an answer. Pit me in the sometimes category.

    • I agree, once we find ourselves experiencing whatever it is we feel, we can work to change those feelings (fight or healthy shift) or go with it. Sometimes I think going with it is healthy too. It’s good to cry if your sad – not so great if we do it every day, we probably need help at those times.

      I think we train ourselves how to react and reflect on things. This directly affects our experience of life.

      Our reactions to feelings can be productive/positive or destructive/negative. Those reactions can be altered over time.

      Great comment Joey, thanks.


  12. Every one can control there emotion it’s just that some are so strong that they take over you ( ie , love , hate and being scared ) we are all born with these emotion taped in to is but our brains process them in different ways

    • I agree theosthy. We do all deal with things differently. What affects one, may not affect the other.

      The other perception, is that how healthy is it for us to hold in, or try to control our ALL of our emotions?

      I know that I myself feel much better after a good cry if I’m feeling sad!!


  13. Re Brault; I would choose hope but with the comforting thought that, if I fell in to despair for awhile, it wouldn’t matter, because I would get ‘there’ in the end.

  14. If we had a choice in the way we feel we’d choose never to mourn the passing of a family member, friend or pet.We’d never feel outrage at injustice or war and never experience fear that makes a normal person a hero.Never feel the love towards a partner or child.
    I’d love to be able to programme my brain to feel joy all the time or just not react at all but I think the feelings are what make me human.

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