How often were you told as a child to calm down? Don’t get upset.
Don’t cry, it’s not that big of a deal? Often, I’m sure. I think we all were.
Allowing and processing our emotions isn’t something that we are taught in school or at home.
Instead what we do is shove down our feelings and bury them. We do this by overeating, overdrinking, over shopping, over Netflixing, over Facebooking and/or overworking.
Yet every time we do this, our emotions keep getting bigger and bigger until one day, our body says enough is enough and lets us know. It typically shows up in the form of anxiety, overwhelm, burnout or we have physical pain in our body.
It’s similar to trying to hold a beach ball under the water and it can only be held underneath for so long. At some point, the beach ball has to surface.
So how do we start feeling and processing our emotions?
First, we become aware. We recognize that the feelings that we have whether they are anger, frustration, sadness, grief, fear, joy, love, excitement, etc are simply vibrations in our body and that they are nothing to be afraid of.
All emotions are all worthy of our attention. There aren’t “good” emotions or “bad” emotions. There are just emotions that we feel as a human. Yet some of the emotions we feel, we don’t necessarily like feeling, because we haven’t grown accustomed to feeling them so they feel heavy and uncomfortable and our brains want to avoid uncomfortable at all costs.
When we are feeling a certain emotion, I encourage clients to stop and just allow the emotion to be there.
Get curious and ask questions like, where am I experiencing this in my body? Does it feel heavy, sharp, tight, buzzing? Just describe it. If you had a sharpie and could draw a circle around where it is in your body, where would you draw? This is not the place to judge how you are feeling. This is where you open up to the emotion, you allow it to be there and welcome it in. Our emotions are here to tell us something.
In the beginning, awareness happens after an event. For example, you have an argument with your spouse and you are angry. You feel tightness in your chest and you feel hot all over. After you have processed the emotion and allowed the anger to be there, you can ask yourself, what was I thinking that made me feel so angry?
As your awareness grows, that same argument, you can see you are angry in the moment because of what you are thinking. You can still choose to feel the anger because you like your reason. If you don’t like your reason for getting angry, then in the moment you can change the way you think to create a different emotion.
The ultimate awareness is:
Recognizing what your spouse says to you and then deciding on purpose how you want to think, feel and react. This all takes practice and understanding that circumstances don’t cause our emotions. Our thoughts do.
When clients learn that they can change their thinking to feel a different emotion, they sometimes start to do this before they actually have processed the emotion. This isn’t the goal. FEELING our feelings is the goal. Feeling is one of our privileges of being a human. Sometimes we want to feel anger, frustration, disappointment or whatever emotion we want to feel in the moment.
True power comes from understanding that our emotions are always because of how we are thinking not because of what is happening to us.
Erin Gray is a mindset coach for high achieving women who want to stop existing and start creating the life they truly want, on their terms. Erin is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, August 12th @ 12 CST where she will show you what is keeping you stuck and how to take actionable steps to start creating a life you love and are excited about. You can register here: https://linktr.ee/eringraycoaching