How to use awareness to deal with overwhelming emotions
Can you think of the last time you felt overwhelmed by an emotion?
The hurting words from a partner or friend, a memory that suddenly popped up, an unexpected loss, a few words spoken by a stranger, the nonsense behavior of a child or coworker… or partner.
Whether it’s our most blinding anger, that kind of anger that colours everything in red and covers all sounds with your inner (and sometimes outer yelling.
Or that profound sadness that cuts through your heart and flesh with the sharpest blades.
Or maybe it’s the bitter taste of rejection, that cringing whole-body sensation of “nobody wants me”.
Our emotions can be overwhelming.
And when that happens, we often end up in a loop that is difficult to break.
We are in extreme pain, both physical and mental, and... there is our mind!
Sending thoughts that are SO NOT helpful.
“When we are in the midst of an emotional storm, the mind feeds the pain instead of easing it”
In such situations the mind FEEDS the pain instead of easing it.
When you feel overwhelming sadness you may have thoughts like:
“why do I feel like this”
“this is never going to stop”
“I want this to go away”
“I’m so pathetic”
“I cannot take this”
“life is too hard”
“people always end up hurting me"
and more of the same.
All your thoughts seem crafted to KEEP you in that emotional state of pain and suffering.
When the emotion has originated because of an external event or interaction, there we are, stuck with the ugliest thoughts about ourselves, others and the whole world.
And the point is, this is NOT helpful at all.
It doesn’t help in dealing with the emotion itself.
It doesn’t help to bring perspective to the situation.
And it SO doesn’t help to live in balance and inner peace.
Often enough, after such an episode, we feel disconnected, unhappy, and that feeling of dread just lingers.
Sometimes for a little while, sometimes for hours and even days.
Mostly because those thoughts keep hanging around, keeping us stuck in an emotional loop.
What can we do to turn that around?
Awareness is your most powerful tool in such situations (and in many others, for that matter).
How to bring your balance back
In this video I will focus on how to use awareness to bring balance to overwhelming emotions, so that you don't get stuck in that loop of dreadfulness that often comes afterwords.
Modern society and often enough our upbringing apply a shaming quality to negative emotions.
They should either be NOT felt in the first place, or managed and controlled, usually in the sense of being strong enough to cast them away.
But negative emotions are simply a part of the human nature.
And more than that, they are a very important piece of information. A message that is SO important, that our whole being is affected.
Awareness helps us in 2 different ways:
#1 - Become aware that you are in the midst of an emotional storm
It may seem obvious, but knowing it, is not the same as being aware of it.
The simple knowing does not change the experience.
The being aware though, does change the experience in a fundamental way: it creates the inner space we need to state an intention related to this experience, instead of being overwhelmed and sucked into it.
“The more often you bring awareness to your emotional storm, the earlier you will be able to state an intention that supports you, that nurtures you, and that listens to what your whole being is trying to tell you. ”
You can craft an intention with words, or you can visually express it.
For example, you can think the sentence: “I welcome this emotion and I’m open to listening to its message”.
Or you can simply visualise in which way you are going to feel this emotion. I visualise my heart opening, even if it hurts, because I’ve noticed that otherwise my heart will automatically clench to protect itself and avoid any pain.
The moment you do so, you are opening yourself up to listening the message.
#2 - Listen and evaluates your thoughts
Listen to the thoughts coming WITH the emotion, and evaluate them, instead of automatically believing them. So that the mind stops feeding the emotion with negative thoughts, and instead helps you to get back in control. Back to balance.
A lot of our emotional storms SEEM to be in the present, but they are actually rooted in the past: linked to memories or past events.
And so a canceled lunch from a dear friend can trigger the burning pain of an absent parent after a divorce.
A word can be misunderstood as hurtful because it was spoken as such when we were little.
The biggest gift you can give yourself is to learn to listen and feel your emotions. They will stop being overwhelming.
They will TELL you something important.
And after allowing yourself to feeling them, you will be relieved, and you will know some more about yourself. Most of the times at least.
Awareness feeds deeper awareness.
When you are in the middle of an emotional storm:
* bring awareness to it
* state or visualise your intention
* allow yourself to feel the emotion
* evaluate your thoughts instead of buying into them automatically
* carefully listen to the message
You will feel relieved.
You will have learned something more about yourself.
Your awareness will lift a bit higher.