The most efficient way through an emotion is to allow yourself to feel your feelings. But that can feel pretty scary, because a lot of emotions are pretty darn powerful. It’s easy to get scared that you’ll get swept away by them, like a tsunami. They also come with a lot of thoughts that are also fairly intense. But don’t try to will yourself not to feel your feelings. Because that, sadly, doesn’t work out so well.
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Do Not Suppress, Express!
I read a funny quote about this the other day and I can’t remember who said it. And trust me, I did my research by trying to find it with an online search! (If you listened to yesterday’s episode, you know why I’m bringing this up). Anyway, the quote was saying that if you don’t feel your emotions they don’t go away. They go down to the basement and start lifting weights.
Yep, they get stronger. And they get a little weirder too — like the anger starts to come out as passive aggression, or the sadness as bitterness.
SO, let’s spare ourselves and the people we love of that, shall you? It’s time to feel your feelings! Here’s how to do it.
Be In Tune With Your Body
You can keep yourself more grounded during an emotional wave by paying attention to where you feel it in your body. It gets you out of your head, and pulls your attention away from those reactionary thoughts. Focusing on what’s happening in your body helps the storm in your mind quiet a bit and helps you practice the ability to watch your emotional experience, to witness it. And if you can do that it helps you not identify with it so that it can pass on its own.
Daily Tiny Assignment
That means your assignment is that the next time you recognize that you are feeling a particular emotion, that you get curious about where you feel it in your body.
If you feel angry…
Is it in your chest? Your head? Your hands? Maybe they ball into fists.
Or if you feel nervous…
is it more fluttery in your chest or heavy in your gut, like you swallowed a balloon made out of lead?
When you’re stressed…
What do you feel in your body? Is it your shoulders up by your ears? Or like there’s a too-tight belt around your ribcage that’s making it hard to breathe?
The negative emotions can really make themselves felt in the body, but sometimes it’s the positive emotions that take a little more sussing out. When you feel happy, how does that show up in your body? Do you feel buzzy, or warm? How do you feel when you feel relaxed and at peace?
Embrace Those Positive Feels
Knowing how the positive emotions feel in your body will help you pay them more attention and recognize them when they’re happening, and what we focus on grows. I’m not saying that you’ll never feel negative emotions again, nor should that even be your goal, but our brains are wired to pay attention to the negative stuff–it’s called the negativity bias, and it helped us remember which berries made us sick when we lived on the savannas, but it can mean that positive things just blow right past us. In all cases, your body has so much insight into how you’re feeling that by paying more attention, you’ll naturally help yourself feel more at home and at peace with whatever’s arising.