Anytime that we experience something traumatic such as a break up, or losing our job, or fighting with our partners, we might feel emotionally deregulated and unable to do our daily routine. We jump into an emotional rollercoaster where we might have moments of sadness, fear, anger and maybe some clarity, but most importantly an enormous desire to escape and not feel.
Most of us try to do different things to help us cope with our feelings. Some of us act them out and have an emotional melt down or engage in behaviors that help us escape our current experience such as drinking, shopping, eating, and even healthy ones like exercise, study, and work. What most of us struggle with is feeling of feelings. Most of us know that we need to feel in order to heal, easier said than done, right?
In order to grow up emotionally, we need to practice feeling our feelings and develop the amazing quality to be emotionally present. Doing this does not require you to stay in bed for a month and cry isolating from the world. Most if us think that feeling our feelings is an all or nothing kind of thing and the truth is that we can slowly and gently honor our feelings without them becoming overwhelming.
Some things to try:
- Bring your attention to your body.
This is the place where we can connect with our feelings. As you bring your attention to your feeling self, take a deep breath in and a slow breath out. Do this a few times. Notice when your mind starts to fix things, or relive things. When this happens, just notice your mind and go back to your feeling self.
- Name your feeling
So many times we struggle with identifying what we are feeling and just label it as “good” or “bad”. Slow down and notice where in your body you are feeling something and label this with a feeling word. Is it anxiety, sadness, fear, excitement? Some times we feel different feelings at the same time, which makes it harder for us to know what we are feeling in the moment. Take time to identify each feeling.
- Accept your feelings
By accepting our feelings we begin to process our experience. Allow your feelings to be, remind yourself that you don’t need to do anything or fix anything. You are just being present with your feeling self. Give yourself permission to have feelings, we all do! Keep breathing.
- Do some self-care
From a place of self-compassion, when you are ready shift your attention to your mind and think of what you need to do next that will support your feeling self. You can go for a walk, call a friend, journal, or go to a yoga class. This is one of the most important steps and something that can’t be ignored.
Taking care of ourselves is what happens when we start honoring and taking care of our feeling self.