Most of us know that resisting our feelings isn’t the best of habits. Yet in-the-moment it can seem like the easiest way to deal with uncomfortable emotions.
The only healthy way to move through emotions is to learn to be present with what you’re feeling: welcoming and allowing that emotion to be in your body.
Any resistance you create to ignore, put off, down play or overcome your emotions will give you the opposite result of what you want. You’ll get more intensity. Greater overwhelm. And over time, there’ll be a need to express that emotion somewhere.
Rather than having those emotions spill out in a way that feels unstoppable or inappropriate (because they’ve been pent up for too long), a daily practice of allowing yourself to feel your emotions (as they arise), will help you reclaim your emotional health.
To help you do that, here’s three suggestions for how to approach your emotions:
1. There’s no right or wrong with emotions
There’s no rules about what you should be feeling, when you should feel it or for how long. Don’t put limitations on what you feel and experience in your life (we tend to do this with so called ‘negative’ emotions). If you’re feeling sad, fearful, frustrated or angry….feel it! Let yourself sit with it, and honour it as a part of your experience.
It’s only through resisting or repressing your basic emotions that they turn into something that doesn’t serve you (for example, the development of resentment or depression).
2. Focus on your feeling, not your thinking
Honouring your emotions is about feeling your feelings fully – not indulging in the drama of your thinking. When you feel an emotion come up for you, allow it into your body space. You’ll find in doing so, that the emotion is not as ‘overwhelming’ as you thought it would be. Overwhelm is usually created through your thinking.
When you can be neutral in your relationship to your thinking, accept your experience, and embody your feelings fully; that’s when you’ll release resistance and feel freer within who you are. By being truly present with your emotions, they will shift on their own.
3. Know that this moment will pass
Our emotions are fuelled by our thinking: we think a thought and it creates an emotional response. In knowing this, you can be assured that you won’t be ‘stuck’ feeling a certain way forever. As a new thought or perspective comes along, your state of mind will shift and you’ll experience a new feeling.
However, there’s no need to try and ‘force’ a newer (or better) thought to come along. Just be present with what you’re experiencing, and let your thoughts and feelings flow on their own.
Take just a few moments now to openly feel what you’re feeling; to be open to (rather than resist) your emotions. What do you experience?