People experience all kinds of emotions. Positive as well as negative. How we feel varies from moment to moment. And so it happens that we also experience uncomfortable feelings, like sadness or fear. More often than not, our first impulse is to reject these feelings. Naturally, we don’t want to feel bad. We don’t want to go through rough and painful events.
We often try various things to get rid of the feeling, like pushing it away, rejecting it as bad or wrong, using drugs or alcohol to feel better, or even slipping to much more dangerous behavior such as self-harm. Of course, all these things can temporarily provide relief and make us feel better. However, several studies state that emotional avoidance and suppression cause many psychological and somatic problems. Rejecting emotions can lead to long-term harm, but dealing with emotions is usually only a short-term task (although sometimes not the easiest one).
Luckily, with just a little bit of effort, it’s possible to break this habit of avoiding and pushing away emotions.
The emotions we experience and the feelings we have are a great source of information about us and the world. So, instead of pushing them away, it’s much better to learn to notice them and accept them.
The ability to accept emotions allows you to acknowledge them without controlling them in any way. This approach to your feelings has many advantages. It takes less energy than the never-ending attempts to suppress and get rid of them. Also – negative feelings can’t harm you. However, the things you try to do to avoid them might. And, most importantly, when you accept your feelings, they tend to lose their power, become more manageable, less scary, and less harmful.
How to do it?
Learning to identify and acknowledge your emotions takes time and practice.
This short exercise can help you. Start slowly and try this little exercise with not overly strong emotions so you don’t overwhelm yourself too much. Practice. And over time, you’ll get strong enough to manage even your stronger feelings. Find a few minutes of calm for yourself alone, sit or lie in a comfortable position. If it feels comfortable, you can close your eyes.
First, try to identify the emotion you’re feeling at the moment. What could it be? If you’re having trouble identifying it, explore your thoughts and physical sensations. What’s going through your mind? Where do you feel it in your body? Try to find a name that matches your emotion the best.
Now that you have a name for it, try to imagine the emotion standing in front of you. What would it look like? How big would it be? Would it fill the whole room? What color would it be? Red, or perhaps blue? It’s just a little play with your imagination. On the one hand, it helps you get a better grasp of your emotion and the ways to describe it; on the other hand, it creates a little bit of distance between you and the emotion. Don’t hesitate to take a good look at the image in your head. After a while, ask your emotion to come back to you, and accept it in its size and shape.
Then, explore how you feel once more. Have you noticed a change? Do you feel different?
Poppy can help you with getting in touch with your emotions too. She is very keen to hear about how you feel. Poppy can help you learn how to accept your feelings by talking about them, tracking them, or simply being in touch with them. Thanks to Poppy you don’t have to deal with them on your own.