Quick one to remind us that it is helpful to keep in mind that emotions are largely temporary. It’s particularly useful to remember this when we are in the throes of an intense emotion such as anxiety, sadness or anger or a state of overwhelm.
They arrive, they surge, then they subside. And we can do ourselves a big kindness by allowing ourselves to feel those feelings and at the same time giving ourselves a metaphorical inner or literal hug and send some kindness towards ourselves.
Just remembering that they do pass can prevent us acting on an intense emotion (like a yelling email to someone!) and just be a little patient with them and ourselves.
What can we do to help ourselves during these times
- Remember the temporary passing nature of emotions
- Breathe steadily and consciously from deep down in the body
- Send some compassion towards yourself whenever you are suffering and make that an hourly, daily weekly habit
- Grounding – Become aware of what we perceive with our senses right now. E.G. I see the computer, I hear the traffic, I feel the weight on my body on the chair
- Notice the thought that evoked the feeling and enquire if it is true and if there is a more accurate way to view the situation.
- Get off the chair and do something, even just a little walk or putting dishes away or having a shower. We are not trying to suppress the feeling here, just letting it move and flow through us by using movement.
- Write about the feelings in a diary. Look back over your diary and notice that the emotion did in fact pass previously. (That’s what I do here sometimes!)
These little exercises work well for emotions that are the result of a thought we have had such as ‘I don’t have enough money’ or ‘they shouldn’t behave that way’.
For repeated recurring and intense or overwhelming feelings, asking for help from a professional can assist us to understand the origins of feeling. There is no shame in asking for support, it is an act of courage and self care. At times our feelings are trying to communicate something to us that we need to understand on our journey towards healing.
We are all to some degree traumatised from these last 18 months, and most of us also carry some amount of trauma from our lives earlier on too. So we all deserve the utmost kindness and compassion at this time in particular and also all the time.