The good news is that you don’t have to stay in bed for a week and cry in order to really feel your feelings. You can feel things gently. Here's how.
1. Notice it.
Bring your awareness off of your iPhone and onto yourself. Are you feeling discomfort? Don’t worry about the “why” behind your particular emotion. Ironically, when we obsess about understanding emotions, we prevent ourselves from healing and moving forward. Simply stay present and notice the feeling instead. Where in your body do you feel it?
2. Name it.
So often we lump emotions into one big bag of crap. Take time to differentiate them. For example, when you think about your job loss, you may say you feel “sad.” But try breaking that down into parts. Is it anxiety about having unstructured time? Is it nervousness about finding a new job? Is it excitement about the possibilities that lie ahead?
3. Accept it.
It seems contradictory, but feeling an emotion actually helps to process it out of you. Notice it and allow it to pass through you. You don’t need to “do” or “fix” anything, just feel it. Often, we jump straight to a distraction or solution to make the feeling stop. By avoiding the feeling, it gets backed up in us (the equivalent of emotional constipation).
4. Be compassionate.
Acknowledge the fact that it is completely normal to have ups and downs. We all do, and it'd be weird if you didn't have variation in your moods!
But also remember that compassion isn’t the same as complacence. In fact, think of compassion as a secret weapon you can use to give yourself the love and care you need. And like most things, developing self-compassion takes practice.
So make a decision to cultivate your self-compassion practice! Whether that be through changing the words you use to describe yourself, staying present, or treating yourself like you’d treat a friend, there are many ways you can begin to add this in.
5. Act on it.
From a space of awareness, take action. It can be going for a walk, meditating, or calling a friend. Sometimes, action can be non-action. It can be not sending an angry text, having patience, or walking away. This is the time to make self-care a non-negotiable.
Feeling our feelings isn’t something we’re taught in school. It makes sense that we suck at it. We've emphasized learning skills that are “marketable,” and ignored the ones that make us happy. Isn't it time we changed that?
Take time to be gentle, be brave, and be compassionate.
To learn more download your free copy of 10 Tips To Become The Happiest Person You Know.