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March 25, 2013

Do you resist your emotions, or do you allow yourself to feel your feelings fully? I used to resist my emotions and only welcomed the good feelings, while fighting back the ones that seemed too much to handle.

However, I came to realize that it was my thoughts about those emotions (not the actual emotions) that I was fearful of. I didn't want to experience an intense emotion because the idea of losing control seemed frightening.

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For example, I used to worry that if I let myself feel sad, I'd spiral into unrelenting sadness. I tried to overlook my emotions, adopt a positive mindset and move on with my life. But it didn't seem to work.

I see now that it can be easy for us to get caught in a loop when it comes to our emotions, which causes us to resist them. Over time, though, resisting our feelings causes them to simmer and intensify.

I've learned a different approach. I've found that when we're willing to welcome our emotions and feel them in our body, we can liberate ourselves. When we don't overthink our feelings, emotion is simply emotion: movement and energy in our body. Without the thought of an emotion being good or bad, we can simply experience it for what it is. And while it might seem uncomfortable at first, being fully present with our emotions has many rewards.

Here's what I've found. When your intention is to feel rather than resist your emotions, you'll:

1. Feel freer within your body and self.

By letting emotions exist in your body, you'll create a sense of spaciousness and freedom within. While the initial experience may be uncomfortable or intense, emotions tend to contract or dissolve if you stay present to them.

It's when you resist your emotions that you'll feel trapped by them. It's helpful to remember that emotions are just energy in your body: nothing more and nothing less. They're neither good nor bad, but are simply a part of the human experience.

2. Be more balanced and grounded.

As you start to feel your emotions without resistance, you'll become more grounded internally. By embodying your emotional experiences, you'll learn to be present to the moment. By welcoming both positive and negative emotions, you'll have a more balanced perspective on life.

This ability to be present to what you're feeling in your body and self will carry over to all aspects of your life. Because you'll feel emotionally balanced and at ease, you'll experience greater clarity and certainty within who you are.

3. Create inner strength and resiliency.

When you stop resisting your emotions and experience them fully, you cultivate inner strength. While it seems paradoxical, as you experience a fuller range of emotion without resistance (both the comfortable and uncomfortable), the more resilient you become.

While you're not able to control the ups and downs of life, by opening to your emotional experiences you won't feel so knocked around by life. In fact, you'll feel empowered within who you are, and less dependent on things going right in life, in order to feel good.

Reflect on your own experiences: how willing are you to feel your feelings, and how would your life transform if you could feel freer, more balanced and resilient within yourself?

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Marissa Håkansson
Marissa Håkansson

Marissa Håkansson mentors women who feel out-of-touch with their body and authentic self due to chronic stress, exhaustion, burnout or chronic illness. She helps women reconnect with their whole body, using that inner connection to create space for healing, wellbeing and genuine fulfilment. Marissa's approach is practical and down-to-earth; inspired by her journey of living with a chronic illness, being out of touch with her body, feeling disconnected from others, and trapped in a life that was out of sync with who she was.