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how are you feeling

F E E L I N G   G O O D ?

A summary of the operating principles of our emotions, with a brief outline of the two kinds of emotions and their functions.

Adapted from "Feeling and Healing Your Emotions" by Conrad Baars, pp. 80-81

1. Emotions are psychic motors producing motion and energy to make life easier for us.


2. Our "humane emotions," cause us to be moved. Our "utility emotions," cause us to move, to act, to do. Our free will is the chief mover. Our emotions need to be subordinate to its direction.

3. Our humane emotions are intimately associated with our intuitive mind (intellectus). Together they constitute the "heart." Our utility emotions serve primarily our thinking mind (ratio). Together they constitute the "mind."

4. Our ratio (thinking mind) together with our utility emotions must operate in the service of our intellectus (intuitive mind) and humane emotions, not the other way around. Our "mind" must function in the service of our "heart."

5. All our emotions, in their "pure" state, are good and necessary for healthy living. There are no negative or bad emotions.

6. Emotions are natural tools with specific functions, precisely as our eyes, ears, hearts, lungs, hands, etc., are our tools possessing specific functions.

7. All emotions have a need to be guided by reason and to be allowed to make their particular contribution to healthy living.

8. Any effort to interfere with the natural function of emotions will have adverse repercussions.

9. Every emotion is accompanied by certain physiological changes, which also must be recognised and allowed to be.

10. All emotions must be allowed to grow to full capacity and become integrated with and subordinate to reason and will.

11. Emotions must be cultured, educated and refined, so that they will respond readily to the will informed by reason.

12. Not every emotion must be expressed or gratified (beyond the naturally occurring physical changes which are part of all emotions).


When the above principles are respected and adhered to by parents and educators, the child's chances of becoming an integrated and mature moral person are much greater than they have been in the past. Nevertheless, because on this earth we will always live in the state of original sin (i.e., of imperfection), it will always be necessary to make many efforts to reach maturity. There will always be a need for ascetical practices, involving both humane and utility emotions, in order to attain self-control, unselfishness and virtue.

However, when the emotions are seen as integral parts of virtuous acts, instead of as enemies, the whole process of maturing will be much less painful and frustrating, and its successful end, other things being equal, will be virtually assured.

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S E L F - C A R E   G U I D E

You might like to try asking yourself these questions:

Of the things that I do, what nourishes me, what increases my sense of actually being alive and present, rather than merely existing? (‘up’ activities)

Of the things that I do, what drains me, what decreases my sense of actually being alive and present, what makes me feel I am merely existing, or worse? (‘down’ activities)

Accepting that there are some aspects of my life that I simply cannot change, am I consciously choosing to increase the time and effort I give to ‘up’ activities, and to decrease the time and effort I give to ‘down’ activities?

Developing a plan:

1. Do something enjoyable

a) be kind to your body

Examples: Have a nice hot bath; have a nap; breathe some fresh air; treat yourself to your favourite food without feeling guilty; have your favourite hot drink. Have a massage or other wellbeing treatment.

b) enjoyable activities

Examples: Go for a walk (maybe with the dog or a friend); visit a friend; do your favourite hobby; do some gardening; take some exercise; phone a friend; spend time with someone you like; cook a meal; watch something funny or uplifting on TV; read something that gives you pleasure; listen to music that makes you feel good; enjoy any natural beauty around you; sing.

2. Do something that gives you a sense of mastery, satisfaction, achievement or control

Examples: Clean the house; clear out a cupboard or drawer; catch up with letter writing; do some work; pay a bill; do something that you have been putting off doing; take some exercise.


3. Act mindfully

Examples: focus your entire attention on just what you are doing right now; keep yourself in the very moment you are in; put your mind in the present e.g. “…Now I am walking down the stairs…now I can feel the banister beneath my hand…now I’m walking into the kitchen…now I’m turning on the light…”; be aware of your breathing as you do other things; be aware of the contact of your foot with the floor as you walk.

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