Emotions can be tricky.
Many people judge feelings or try to suppress their emotions. It might be better just to stuff it down in a deep dark hole and not deal with it…right?
Unfortunately, it is this avoiding that often leads to stress and the development of compulsive behaviors. It is important to realize that taking care of you means taking care of your emotions.
All feelings are valid and give us insight into our intentions.
Whether it is to open us to love or shield ourselves from danger, emotions are an important part of our whole being. It can be helpful to repeat to yourself, “my emotions are valid and I accept them.”
Practice a nonjudgmental and observational stance when viewing your emotions.
When you feel an emotion, try to identify what emotion you’re experiencing and notice where it is causing physical and mental reactions. Mindful living is awareness in the present moment without judgement or clinging to what the moment should be or trying to change it. For example, labeling, “I am experiencing guilt right now and my chest feels tight. I notice that I am thinking ‘I shouldn’t feel this way,’ and I have an urge to run from the situation.” We cannot change that experience but by exploring it through observations we can begin to decrease our reactivity to it and begin to accept our emotion.
Get out of here stinkin’ thinkin’!
Our thoughts are powerful and often times we believe them to be fact. Our thoughts are not always factual or based in reality. They create a distortion of the world that allows us to perceive events negatively and in ways that do not help us. An example of stinking thinking is, “I should feel happy for my friend” or “I shouldn’t feel mad about this situation.” Should or shouldn’t by whose standards?! ‘Should or must’ cognitive distortions usually compare ourselves to an unrealistic standard and leave us frustrated. We place an unattainable standard on ourselves to be happy, go with the flow, and agreeable at all times (especially women). Once we can acknowledge this and release that expectation we are able to see reality more clearly and recognize the need to care for whatever emotion arises.