Mental Fitness Tip Twelve

Jul 1, 2021 | Blog, Mental Fitness Tips

TIP TWELVE – PROCESSING HARD EMOTIONS ☀️

 

Sometimes our harder feelings such as sadness, overwhelm, anger, grief will disappear quickly and easily but other times they will stick to us, waiting to be seen. If you find these emotions coming back over and over again, then it may be time to sit down and listen to what they are trying to tell you. All emotions hold valuable information, information we cannot gather when we try to quickly get rid of them.

Our emotions are part of our guidance system. However, just as we have thoughts but are not our thoughts, we are also not our emotions.  They are simply messengers alerting us to how a situation has impacted us. Acknowledging our tricker emotions and listening to the messages they are bringing us, allows us to take the necessary action to move forward. This is because often, our difficult emotions release their grip when we accept their presence.

Here are two methods we can try to begin processing these harder emotions (even when it is deeply uncomfortable). I hope these methods help you open up a conversation between you and your feelings, which deserve to be seen, held, and expressed.

 

Option One:

 

Find a safe, comfortable spot, where you won’t be interrupted, and follow these steps to try and determine why a particular emotion keeps coming back and how to move past it:

 

  1. Sit down and acknowledge that you are not feeling good. Scan your body sensations e.g. “I feel heaviness in my chest.”
  2. Name your emotions if you can – how exactly are you feeling? Stressed? Anxious? Frustrated? Jealous? Angry? Worried? Sad? Heartbroken? Scared? A mixture of several emotions? See picture below:

 

 

Side note:

Having access to a wider emotional vocabulary can enable us to name our more complex feelings and this can sometimes help us piece together the stories/narratives that go along with our emotions.

 

3. Rate how you’re feeling on a scale of 1-10 (1 being extremely bad, 10 being fantastic).

4. Notice the urge to protect against it. Stay with the feeling. “I can feel the heaviness in my chest, the sadness, the anger. It is safe to feel this.”

5. Ask yourself, “Why might I be feeling this way?” and give yourself time to fully answer the question. Spend a few minutes thinking through all the events, circumstances and reasons you may be feeling these emotions. Sometimes exploring whether our current emotions are a byproduct of a past vulnerable experience can help us understand why we might be activated in more significant ways.

6. Validate the feeling. Say to yourself “It’s OK for me to feel this way. I am human and it is normal to feel a wide range of things. No one is perfect – and no one is happy all the time – it’s OK for me to feel like this”.

7. Ask yourself “Now, what can I do to feel better?” This doesn’t mean if you’re a 1, you have to move yourself all the way up to a 10. It could be as simple as asking, “how do I move from a 1 to a 2?” Start small so that it is less overwhelming and go from there. Spend a few minutes brainstorming what you need to do and how you need to do it.

8. Write down your thoughts and answers and action them! Then refer back to them anytime you are feeling a similar way.

 

Option Two (for those creatives among us):

 

Draw your heart or brain as it is now! It is okay if you’re feeling contradictory things – there is space for everything.

 

Questions to explore:

– What makes your heart happy right now?

– What’s the hardest part of your life right now?

– What’s going on in different parts of your life? Career, relationships, family etc. You can also draw your brain or heart around a specific theme e.g. Covid brain, break up heart and so forth.

 

Once you have drawn your heart or brain ask yourself, “Now, what can I do to feel better?” Again, start small so that it is less overwhelming and go from there. Spend a few minutes brainstorming 3 simple things you can do to boost your mood and then action it.

 

There is no one way to manage and navigate our emotional world, but one thing is certain, our emotions matter and they long to be tended to and judging our emotions prevents us from working through our emotions. They will pull and tug in all kinds of ways until we create a safe and nurturing place for them to land, so let’s create that space for them.

 

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