Emotions are messengers – giving us information about our internal and external environments. We are meant to get the message and then release it. When we don’t listen, or get the message, it’s job is not done, and it will intensify (via sensations and discomfort) – until it gets our attention. The better we are at noticing the early signs of emotion, the quicker we are to respond and maintain comfort and equilibrium.
The following steps can help you engage with intense or uncomfortable emotions with more ease and resilience.
1. As soon as you notice the intense or difficult emotion, disconnect from the story. Intense and difficult emotions register in the same area of the brain that physical pain does – because it actually creates physical pain in the body. To keep thinking painful thoughts is like continuing to cut yourself with a knife.
2. Direct your attention onto your body, and notice how it responds to your thoughts. Do not go back to the story – become an observer and notice the sensations, energy, discomfort, pain.
3. Imagine creating space in your body for the sensations, energy, discomfort, or pain to be there and express themselves without judgment. Most importantly – DO NOT RESIST. Our natural response is to move away from pain, so this takes a little bit of discipline to let it be there without ignoring, suppressing, pushing it away, making it wrong, or wanting it to change – these are all forms of resistance.
4. Do not be a superhero or martyr and stay with the discomfort too long – this has the effect of re-traumatising your nervous system. Tiny little ‘doses’ is way more effective. Staying with the discomfort for just a few seconds can often be enough to make a difference.
5. Moving heavy energy through our bodies is tiring. Take time to rest if that is what your body needs. Toxins are also released as we move energy in the body, so drinking extra water help to flush them out. It will help you feel better, sooner.
Remember, when we listen to the whispers of our bodies, we don’t have to hear them scream.