Do you ever feel overwhelmed by emotions? Sadness, happiness, anxiety, apathy…. No matter who you are, we all have moments when our emotions are all-consuming. This is a normal part of life, and as humans we are made to feel complex and deep things. But it’s not always easy, and if we don’t fully understand our emotions, we give them full reign or try to suppress them. It means life is like a giant-drop ride at a theme park, and at any given moment our emotions can cause us to drop and bottom out or rise too fast, so we fall just as quick.
This sort of emotional unhealth harms us physically and mentally and is detrimental to our relationships. Do you have a tendency to give your emotions control or suppress them? If you answer yes to any of these statements, then you might need some support processing difficult emotions.
IF EMOTIONS CONTROL YOU:
- I often feel out of control and lose my inhibitions, taking unnecessary risks.
- Sometimes I experience pure anger, sadness or pain and I have to physically act to get them out of my body.
- If I am feeling emotional, I can’t control what I do or say, even if it hurts myself or the people around me.
- I let big emotions consume me because it validates my pain and people have to acknowledge it.
IF YOU SUPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS
- I am scared of feeling intense emotions because I don’t trust myself to react well.
- I punish myself for feeling intense emotions for any length of time and believe I should ‘get over’ it and continue living my life.
- I will second guess everything I’m feeling and ask if it’s valid.
- I try to contain myself, but sometimes my emotions overflow and I break down, act without inhibition, or experience fits of rage.
- I drink, use substances, self-harm or watch pornography to numb my feelings when they start to rise up.
If you relate to any of those statements, it’s okay! You’re human, and we try to cope as best we can. But now, you have the chance to learn new, healthier ways to process your emotions. In fact, you may even befriend them. After all, if the movie Inside Out taught us anything, it’s that no emotion is bad. Here are five ways you can process difficult emotions.
Emotions demand to be felt, and the visceral experience of enacting them through physical exertion is a great way to process them. When you feel emotions rising up, get out of your head. Go for a run, try boxing, do some exercise, practice Yoga or pilates, dance – do an activity you enjoy that moves the tension out of your body. By doing this, you acknowledge your feelings and are choiceful about how you enact them.
- Write them down
Journaling is a great way to identify and process your emotions. However, if you only do this when you are in crisis, you will experience a big emotional hangover the next day. Instead, try to journal regularly about events big and small. Identify your emotions and leave them on the page.
- Watch a movie or TV show that makes you laugh or cry
Give yourself permission to feel big emotions by watching a movie that prompts you to empathise with the characters. If you need to cry but are scared to break down, watch a tear-jerker and release your emotions. If you feel low and are struggling to get out of your head, watch a comedy and laugh until you cry. This gives you a designated time and safe space to experience emotion and means that next time feeling things won’t be as scary.
Great art comes out of big emotions. Think about your favourite song, a piece of art you love, or a book that excites you – their creators poured their feelings into their work so you could experience something greater than yourself. Now you have the chance to do the same thing for someone else – or do it just for you. Draw, paint, write, dance, speak…create something from your feelings. Don’t judge yourself and don’t try to make it perfect. Just create so the energy and emotions flow through you and can be released.
- Let go
There are some experiences that sit with us for years. Childhood trauma, abuse, bullying, grief, heart break and rejection lead to deep and complex emotions that rarely have a simple solution. To start the process of letting go, we must feel our emotions first. And that means taking something that represents the emotion or experience and sitting with it. When we feel ready, we ‘let go’ physically, by throwing it away or (safely!) destroying it. You might do this by sitting by a river and throwing in rocks that represent your emotions. Or, you could burn a letter, a journal entry, or an object that represents that part of your life. Whatever you do, give yourself the time and space to sit with the pain before you release. If this feeling overwhelming, ask a person you trust to join you. Once you have let go, take a big breath out. This is the start of healing.
Would you like to learn how to process difficult emotions? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now.