‘’Let’s be honest… life can be a train wreck at times!
Cars break down, people get sick, events out of your control play out on the national and global stage. Loss, change, the unexpected… are all part and of this thing called life. It’s easy to feel discouraged, overwhelmed, confused, and anxious. If any of these just described you, then you understand what I am talking about. With everything going on lately, have you found yourself agitated, irritable, anxious, moody, or feeling low? Have you been trying to stay strong and just keep going only to find that some days, you feel worse?
All too often, our knee-jerk reaction is to think we should “just get over it” or we feel the need to ignore our emotions by consistently staying busy; only to find that we only end up feeling worse. Here is the thing: feelings are your internal alarm letting you know that something is going on. They are not dumb or stupid or pointless. Instead, view your feelings as an invitation to get curious and dig deeper.
The key to thriving, even amid chaos, is learning how to tolerate your emotions and process them rather than avoid them. Avoiding the uncomfortableness of your challenging feelings can lead to excessive, irrational, uncontrollable worry. if you think this could be you, please don’t suffer silently through it. I’m here to help. In the meantime, here are 6 ways to acknowledge and process your emotions.
Make space for your emotions.
Allow yourself a safe space to feel your emotions. Create a space in your home or your room where you can experience freely your emotions. Often I take my journal with me and I write out ALL my frustrations and brain dump all the thoughts swirling in my mind. I allow myself space to cry, pray, and reflect on my emotions. The most important thing is to acknowledge your emotions and process them in a healthy, safe space. Lashing out on your significant other, or your kids or the dog is NOT a healthy way to process. So create a safe space to do so.
Keep on swimming, keep on swimming.
Movement is key! Especially when you are angry or frustrated or feeling overwhelmed, step away for a moment. Walk the dog, walk alone, go for a jog, go for a swim, or get in a good sweat session. Whatever works for you. Fresh air, a change of scenery can be great outlets for that pent up energy. Moving your body along with the change of scenery and breathing some fresh air will help you change your perspective, calm down, and feel better able to handle the situation you are going through.
Laughter is marvelous medicine.
Be intentional about finding joy around you. Select a comedy from your Netflix queue. Deliberately turn everything off and watch your kids play or join in their imaginary game. Call that friend or cousin that always makes you laugh. Share a funny meme or quote. YouTube has tons of funny, lighthearted content to put a smile on your face. Again, be intentional about it. Specifically, search out moments to let loose and let out a big laugh!
Channel your inner Beyonce, Missy Elliot or Kari Jobe.
Music is an ENTIRE mood!. The power of music to shift your mood and lift your spirits has been scientifically proven. Retailers know what music to play in their stores to make you buy more. Your fitness trainer knows what playlist will get you pumped and push you through that rep. You should find the playlist that promotes your good vibes. Crank it up and sing! Whatever genre of music you are into, there are hundreds of feel good songs.
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
You have more power than you give yourself credit for. You have the power of choice. Life will happen, there is nothing you can do about that, but you have the power to choose your reaction to your situation. When your emotions are in turmoil, you could choose to respond in ways that make you feel worse like overindulging on junk food or eating foods that will make you feel bloated, lethargic, and fatigued. You can also decide to practice mindfulness eating by reaching for water, a salad, or some other healthy alternative that will keep your body strong and improve your clarity of mind.
You are strong in weakness.
In pleasant times, terrible times and in all the in-between, let your faith help you keep it together. Pray. Meditate on a verse. Be mindful. Mindfulness is such a soothing practice. Here is a simple way to practice this for yourself:
- Take a seat. Find a calm, comfortable place to do so.
- Set a time limit. In the beginning, I suggest starting with just 5 minutes and you can increase this 5 minutes at a time every other day. 30 minutes is a good maximum and 15 minutes a day is a comfortable average for most of my clients.
- Notice your body. Does any part of your body feel tense? Your shoulders? Feet? Back? Don’t critique it or judge it, just notice it. That’s all
- Feel your breath. Pay attention to the feeling of breathing in and out. Feel the rise and fall of your chest. Feel the breath from your nose on your top lip. Feel the energy you feel with each breath in your body.
- Notice when your mind is wandering from your breathing. Again, don’t judge your thoughts. Don’t get mad at yourself for letting your thoughts drift. When you notice your mind drift, that is perfectly normal. When you catch it, just bring your focus back to your breathing and how your body feels with each breath.
That’s it! While you practice mindfulness, you can choose to focus on gratefulness with each breath in, and with each breath out, you can whisper the things that invite love, joy, and peace into your life. The goal of mindfulness is to give you a space to process your emotions and thoughts in a non-judgemental, calm, and collected way.
Once you are relaxed, you are better able to navigate the circumstances you are facing in a proactive, confident manner free of crippling fear and anxiety. Life is unpredictable so I fully understand why you feel anxious. The great news is that you CAN gain control. With help, coping strategies like the ones above, understanding the underlying root of your anxiety, and someone to support you through it, you CAN overcome your anxiety.
If you would like to talk to someone, have questions, or think you may be experiencing excessive, irrational, uncontrollable worry contact us at ZRCounselingservices.com.