I don’t want to walk. I’m cold this morning. I feel sluggish and still tired and I’ve been out of the bed and caffeinated for at least two hours. I have a bunch of things I have to do including writing this blog. It’s gray and drizzly out. Everything seems unappetizing. My energy is tanking and it feels like all the weight is in my chest and legs making every breath sort of its own ‘sigh’. Every step feels like it’s sinking into wet cement. Alright…I get this is sounding like the beginning of a dark European novel, but it really is a pretty good description of what’s going on for me at the moment, and it’s safe to say…I don’t like it. I can feel every ounce of my brain trying to lift me out of this all encompassing mood as quickly as it can…
Brain: Why do you think you don’t feel good?
me: I don’t know.
Brain: You could practice being grateful that you get to go for this glorious walk early this–
Me: Shut up.
Brain: You’ve had a lot of anxiety over the last year, father-in-law passing, broken bones, finding a house, then–
Me: Not helping… Actually, I’m feeling worse now.
Brain: I thought we weren’t supposed to ignore our emotions!
Me: Well first, I’m human, so sometimes “we” do, and second…sometimes I just don’t feel good.
It’s not a crime to not feel good. It also isn’t prosecutable (I believe) to want to have comfortable feelings like happiness, joy, calm, being centered, etc. But sometimes we want the latter so badly that we put the emotional ‘cart before the horse’, skip over the ‘feeling’, and go right to trying to find the solution (emotional hack) to avoid having to feel crappy.
Here are a couple suggestions for the next time that you feel your brain is racing to find the ‘solution’ to feeling down blue or simply just off, so you don’t feel it’s the end of the world when you do. Also, possibly you can shorten how long those pesky uncomfortable emotions last.
Shine your awareness on your Inner Critic. Your Inner Critic, that voice inside your head strictly created to help you survive, relentlessly tells you that you’re not enough, you’re not capable, reminding you that it’s ‘time to panic!’ 24/7. This voice has a field day when you have uncomfortable emotions. “It’s obviously your fault we feel crappy!” It says. “What did you let drop?” Or simply, “You’ve done this, now do we get out of it!”
When this voice comes up, and it will, you don’t have to battle it. Simply shine your awareness on it. It wants to be acknowledged and have that crappy feeling acknowledged. Your Inner Critic is not evil. In fact, it’s there so you didn’t get eaten by dinosaurs 200,000 years ago (it worked! You’re here. Your ancestors made it), but now any uncomfortable feeling, hairs standing on the back of your neck, whatever, has your brain looking for a T-Rex! You can quiet this voice by simply being aware of what emotions you are feeling in your body. Hilary Jacobs Hendel, author of, “It’s Not Always Depression,” says “…Most people are ruled by their emotions without any awareness that it’s happening. But once you realize the power of your emotions, simply acknowledging your own can help greatly.” Ignoring Your Emotions Is Bad for Your Health. Here’s What to Do About It | Time
You cannot ‘reason’ emotions away. Many Buddhist scholars use the metaphor that trying to silence all of your thoughts is the equivalent of trying to count all of the grains of sand in a desert. It’s no different with emotions. They are simply energy in motion in your body. However, the amount of reasons that you can come up with for the emotions are endless. Sometimes the reasons can help you understand that you are separate from your emotions. Through this kind of thorough examination you gain perspective and distance, so you have choices over your actions. But the reasons themselves are not a ‘cure’ for feeling uncomfortable emotions, your actions are. Try and honor yourself by identifying for yourself what could bring you comfort. A book, a song, inspiration, talking to a friend, or even just a hug from your friend, spouse or child (if they’re not a teen and are willing 😉).
I swore when I started my walk this morning it wasn’t going to help at all. It’s still cloudy. I still have the same problems that I had before. But I do feel a heck of a lot better. I know from all the training that I do that any kind of physical movement usually helps me process uncomfortable emotions, so that is another tool you can use. Plus, I got this blog done, so there’s that. 🙂
If you would like to learn tools and skills to help you improve your emotional aptitude, reduce your emotional isolation, lessen your avoidance of shame, fear, and anxiety, and enable yourself to reach your goals, break old habits, or create new ones, I can help. I provide emotional resilience coaching, so you can achieve your goals. We can meet either virtually or in person at my office in Waterbury, Vermont. Just click the button or the link below for a free consultation and let’s talk.
Click to Select a Date & Time for your free consultation.