One of the most common challenges I see with my clients is that they don’t know how to handle their emotions.
Some clients say their emotions control them. They perceive they’re stuck and unable to process through their feelings. Many tell me they don’t think they’re good at talking about them. Some simply try to avoid feeling them at all.
My simplest recommendation is to get good
at identifying and naming your feelings.
Why is this important?
Our actions are driven by our emotions. The results we create in our life come from the actions that we take and the habits we form. When you learn how to name and properly experience your feelings, you can avoid getting stuck in those habits that prevent you from reaching your goals.
That’s why, as a client, you’ll hear this guidance on repeat:
Get to know your emotions
like the back of your hand.
When we get to know the feelings in our body, we are better able to identify them before acting on or reacting to them. These sensations will be your signal that something is going on in your brain, i.e. your thoughts.
An example I often use is with the feeling of overwhelm. For me, when this emotion becomes intense, I notice a tightness across my chest, a lump in my throat, thoughts ping ponging in my head and the sensation that I cannot take a deep breath. As I recognize these sensations in my body, I am familiar that these are signs of overwhelm. Once I name it, I can pause, breathe, and identify what thoughts I’m having that are causing this emotion. From there, I know how to problem solve to address my thinking.
There are three primary responses that we have to an emotion. We react, resist (avoid), or allow them. The more you allow and process your emotions the better you will get at managing your reactions with intent.
Three Easy Steps
- OPEN UP
To Name means to use the word that describes the energy vibration in your body. As toddlers we are taught the four basic feelings of happy, sad, mad, and scared. As we grow it is important that our feeling vocabulary grows as well. In my office, I have been known to pull out a massive list of feeling words to help name the emotions. This list is one of my most helpful resources.
Being Open to feeling the emotion is allowing the sensation to be present. The intensity really occurs for a brief period of time. Neuroscience tell us an emotion will last approximately 90 seconds if we do not resist it. It passes through or reduces in intensity.
We can learn to Watch the emotion in our body and be willing to pivot when you see yourself acting out of line with where you want to be in terms of your behavior.
Feelings are what animate our lives.
If we’re not feeling everything,
we’re missing everything.