Fear, Anger, Courage, Love, Responsibility,
Pride, Confusion, Ambition, Confidence, Overwhelm
What do all these feelings have in common? They are the reason behind everything we do and don’t do in our lives. They are the reason we go for our dreams and also the reason we don’t. They are what get us out of bed in the morning, what makes us labor long hours to complete that degree, and what also causes us to pull through the McDonald’s drive in.
Yet a lot of the time, we are not even be aware of what we are feeling. When we are not aware, we can find ourselves reacting to our emotions or trying to suppress them. How can we be so unaware of this most powerful facet of ourselves?
Stomping Around The House
Just recently my daughter and I got in an argument and I was slamming doors and stomping around the house. I was acting just like the 10 year old I was arguing with! Instead of feeling my anger, I was reacting to it. Looking back, I was also feeling disappointment and frustration.
Other than the times I’m feeling an emotion very strongly such as anger or overwhelm, I often am not aware of the nuance of my feelings. This is something I’m working on.
Why You Need To Feel Your Feelings
I have learned that what I’m feeling is behind all of my actions and inactions in life. Feeling an emotion is different than reacting to it. Me stomping around the house slamming doors was reacting to my anger. I was taking it out on my physical environment.
The opposite case is when we stuff or suppress our emotions. The most common way we do this is with food and alcohol. These things actually numb us so we do not feel what ever it is we don’t want to feel. When we resist actually feeling our feelings, that will ultimately cause us more suffering.
Feelings Check In
I recently learned a cool little practice called a feelings check-in. This is a quick technique to check in with yourself and begin to understand your feelings.
- Sit down with your feet on the ground. Close your eyes and breath slowly and deeply, focusing on the exhale.
- Start with your feet and work your way up to your head. Identify all the physical sensations you are feeling – aches, pains, pressure… Then identify all the emotions you are feeling and where in your body you feel them. Chest, stomach, face…
- Try to name all the feelings you are having. You can have seemingly contradictory feelings at the same time such as anxiety and relaxation. It is common to have several different feeling at one time.
- Focus on them and take responsibility for them. Just let them be there with your awareness.
Your Body Remembers All
When our emotions go unexpressed for long periods of time, it will effect us. I recently heard someone say that your body remembers all! What they meant was that our body will store and remember our unexpressed emotions even when we don’t. Often it will show up in a physical way such as exhaustion or unexplained chronic aches and pains.
What emotions have you been suppressing? Or what emotions have you been acting out? Start doing the feelings check-in to find out!