Life Is Measured In Emotions, Not Hours

Your personal story is written in the ink of every emotion you felt, every fear you overcame, and every moment of happiness that left a permanent mark on your heart and mind. At the end of the day, life is not about the number of years you lived but the emotions and sensations you experienced.
Life Is Measured In Emotions, Not Hours
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Life is measured in emotions, those moments in which intense psychophysiological reactions bring glimmers of true meaning to our existence. Joy, happiness, surprise, fear, sadness, amazement, longing. All of them, whether positive or negative, define who we are, influencing our behavior, and giving meaning to everything we do.

Writer and activist Helen Keller once said that the most beautiful things in this world can’t be seen or touched, as they’re felt with the heart. This was something she knew all too well. As a deaf-blind person, she learned to experience and understand her reality through the latent and invisible forces that many of us overlook: sensations, connections, and feelings.

It’s often said that we humans are social creatures. Our brains are rational organs – a mass of cells and interconnected tissues that shape our thoughts, decisions, and behaviors. However, the reality is that human beings are also highly emotional creatures. Oftentimes, the only language our brain understands is that of emotions.

This trait makes us truly incredible, but also unbelievably complex. Understanding life from this point of view can help us to gain more control over it, and to enjoy it with greater intensity.

A woman holding a handful of stars.

Life is measured in emotions: times of joy, days of peace, and moments of sadness

Emotions guide our daily lives in an infinite number of ways. These emotions affect how we feel physically, causing our hearts to race when we fall in love, or that pit in our stomachs in times of great stress. At the same time, they also influence the way we think and how we act in different situations.

Life is measured in emotions. They form the complex score that sets music to our lives. Understanding the importance of these psychophysiological reactions is the key to our well-being. Having a greater awareness of and control over your emotions will have an impact on your happiness in the long run. Let’s take a look at this idea in more detail.

Our emotions tell us who we are and how our lives have affected us

Sadly, our lives aren’t woven solely with the threads of happiness. In the unique fabric of our existence, we also find the colors of grief, loss, and sadness. But it’s in this intricate pattern of colors and contrasts that resides the authentic beauty and power of life.

Each and every emotion has the power to define our stories and the people we become. Let’s take a look at an example. A bad breakup can leave a lasting scar, a void that drains your energy. T his pain can become so unbearable that you may feel unable to start a new relationship.

While this narrative is far from uncommon, other people choose to weave a different emotional fabric, one of resilience, strength, and the unwavering desire to live, feel, experiment, and dream. Life is measured in emotions, and while some are painful, that suffering doesn’t have to become the only thread in your existence.

A womna holding a heart.

Well-being is feeling the right emotion at the right time and knowing what to do with it

Les Greenberg is a Canadian psychologist known for being one of the creators of emotion-centered therapy. One thing Greenberg tells us in his work, “Emotion-Focused Therapy”, is that people often feel lost when it comes to managing their emotions. We repress them, deflect them, struggle to put them into words, and let them overwhelm us without thinking about the consequences.

Something each of us must understand is that well-being is about feeling the right emotions at the right time and knowing how to process those emotions later on. But what exactly does that mean? For example, it means that, when someone offends you, you have the right to feel angry. But that anger doesn’t mean you should react with violence. Instead, it should be met with assertiveness and wisdom.

Also, it means that, in situations of great change and uncertainty, it’s okay for you to feel fear and anguish. Those emotions must be accepted and seen as something expected and normal. Understanding these principles of mental health will allow you to handle each new situation and personal circumstance more successfully.

Life is measured in emotions: never stop learning from them

Life isn’t measured in hours. It’s measured in emotions, in those little moments of happiness, longing, hope, excitement, and sadness. We’re made, not only of the experiences we’ve lived, but of the emotions we’ve felt. This is what makes each one of us unique.

Each person is defined by the fears they overcome, the tears they’ve shed, forgotten grievances, and dreams that take shape in the form of success and happiness.

While it’s true that we all must leave things behind along the way, the path ahead opens up new opportunities and exciting adventures. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what life is all about. Living each day to the fullest, and feeling every emotion in all its intensity.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Greenberg, Les (2002) Emotion-focused Therapy: Coaching Clients to Work Through Their Feelings. American Psychological Association 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.