Happy, Sad, Anxious, Scared, Excited, Grumpy, Joyful, Content, Guilty…and the list goes on and on. Emotions are a part of every moment of every day, and whether or not we realize it, they influence the trajectory of our lives.
Although most of us can probably agree that emotions are a part of our everyday lives, we can also attest to the nature of putting negative emotions on the back burner in order to create space for other things (i.e., jobs, parenting, societal expectations, etc.). We are taught from a young age that we should be tougher than our feelings and not wear them on our sleeves. We learn that those who can tough it out make the cut while the ones with visible emotions are seen as weak and left behind.
However, when we allow ourselves to first acknowledge and then experience our emotions, we find that we are much better off. Spending so much of our time trying to keep our emotions in check takes away from the time we could be using on other things such as time with family and friends, or time doing things that make us feel better and may actually alleviate the cause of some of our negative emotions. If you want to feel happier and more fulfilled, then follow these five steps and learn to lean into your emotions instead of running from them.
Step 1: Notice a difference. Learn about your body and what it feels like when things are going well. This will give you a good understanding of your baseline, which you can then use as a guide for determining when emotions are bubbling up.
Step 2: Acknowledge and Accept the feeling. Once you notice that you are experiencing something outside of your baseline, you then must acknowledge that you are experiencing a different emotion and accept it at face value. It’s not going to feel good when you have to experience things like guilt, shame, sadness, or hopelessness, but in order to change or move through them, you must first accept them.
Step 3: Validate and Experience that feeling. After you accept the feeling then you have to feel it. This is where the going gets tough. Sitting in an emotion can be extremely difficult but also intensely positive and powerful. Give yourself permission to feel what you are experiencing and express that in whatever form it takes (i.e., crying, laughter, stillness, yelling, etc.). After you allow this experience to occur you will notice the weight of that emotion lessen. The feeling won’t go away completely but you will feel as though you can walk through it and will have a clearer picture of how to manage the cause.
Step 4: Address the cause of the feeling. Whether the feeling was good, bad or indifferent there is a root cause to all emotions. Some are big and easy to find while others are less noticeable and take more time to seek out. Either way, addressing the cause provides insight, allows for greater understanding, and can create positive change.
Step 5: Let it go. This one is pretty simple. Don’t let that emotion latch on to you. Emotions are going to come back over and over again but when we release them we crate space for alternative experiences to exist.
You can keep running from your feelings because they are hard to accept and experience, or you can feel those emotions, learn from them, and then move forward and enjoy each day. Feelings are there for a reason and the more we can experience them, the less control they have over our day to day lives.
EMBRACE EACH FEELING!!!
If you are struggling with understanding your feelings or even identifying them, call The Center for Hope and Healing today. We would love to be a part of your journey in living the life you want to live.