How to “Be” with Your Feelings
If you’ve noticed that from time to time (or maybe all the time?) you are operating from a place of stress or anxiety, then the first thing I’d like to say is Congrats to you! – You’ve noticed something important going on inside you – and now you can turn in the direction of managing that better.
To have awareness of your own emotional reactions is the first step to not being run by them. To notice your sense of anxiety or stress is to not be reactive to those feelings right off the bat, and is a manner of “being” with your feelings, giving you a better chance that you might truly move through them rather than be driven by them.
When I talk to people about allowing or being with their feelings first, I often hear from them that they don’t know how to; or definitely don’t like to (sit with feelings of anger, anxiety, loss of control, vulnerability, sadness, fear, etc.).
Yes, so many of our feelings are uncomfortable and our first reaction is to move away from them or avoid them. But it’s really important to learn to live with them and find that we can bear more than we think we can. It’s actually the efforts to avoid those uncomfortable feelings that contribute to our suffering about them. Our feelings of anxiousness, depression, loneliness, overwhelm, are not bad in and of themselves, but our ways of grasping onto them or avoiding them completely is what causes a struggle.
Think approach rather than avoid.
No one wants to feel humiliation, abandonment, fright, loss, etc. and so it actually takes courage and is a sign of strength when we allow ourselves to gently approach our painful or uncomfortable feelings by feeling what we feel, allowing them, and then letting them go.
Here are some simple ways to help you get in the moment with whatever it is that’s going on with you. When you feel it; allow it; let it be; then you can get about the business of moving on.
1) Mindfulness Practice 54321…
- Using all of your senses:
- Think of 5 things you see;
- 4 things you hear;
- 3 things that you feel or touch with your skin or hands;
- 2 things you can taste or smell;
- 1 breath your whole body takes together with all of your senses alive
2) STOP Practice from Elisha Goldstein…
S = Stop what you’re doing…
T = Take a breath…
O = Observe and notice how you feel, what you’re thinking, and how your body is…
P = Proceed with what’s right in this moment and with kindness.
3) Three Breathing Techniques to make your exhalation last longer than your inhalation, which is helpful for deeply relaxing. Do a series of five of these…
- Breathe in through your nose, and then out through pursed lips, as if you were pushing the air out, or blowing through a straw.
- Breathe in through your nose until you feel full, and then hum your out breath out until you’re empty.
- Breathe in through your nose and push out the out breath by whispering “ahhhhh” as long as you can. (You can even plug your ears and feel as if you were under water!)
Let yourself practice getting into the moment at hand, rather than simply reacting to some moment of conflict or anxiety that comes up; or trying to avoid the discomfort. Let yourself learn to approach rather than turn away from each moment of your life, no matter what it brings.
If you or someone you love is having difficulties managing the emotions of the moment, please contact me for an individual, couples or teen therapy appointment.
For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.