Are you fed up?
… with experiencing difficult emotions and struggling to deal effectively with them? Is your mind an overwhelm of tangled information and unwelcome thoughts?
Mindfulness is a way of life that lets you interpret your body’s moods and experiences more skillfully.
It’s a skill that gives you a way to untangle your mind and deal more effectively with difficult emotions.
We often react quickly to events and people around us. Our brains have already stored prejudices, judgments, opinions and beliefs. Our minds regurgitate reactions out and express them again and again, usually without thinking.
Yet you have the power to take a mindful pause and find out what these strong emotions might be communicating to you.
Stop and ask yourself, why am I feeling this strong emotion? What’s beneath this knee-jerk reaction? Where is this anger/fear/shame coming from?
Without stopping to look beneath the reaction of an emotion we continue to replay old habits, old fears, self-judgments and negative perceptions. Difficult emotions are full of information.
With a mindful approach you are empowered to make better sense of your cluttered thinking. When you stop and search within yourself you get to understand reactions and behaviours that are deeply entrenched and complex. You start to become more finely attuned to where in your body you experience the strong challenging emotions.
5 tips to implement when you are facing difficult emotions:
1. Bring your focus to your feet and ground yourself by feeling all parts of your feet against the floor.
Remember this connection to the earth is holding you here through the power of gravity. Let it support you and hold you safe.
2. Place a hand gently on your stomach. This is the area associated with fear and when we lose our sense of power and confidence. Breathe deeply into your abdomen, noticing what you are feeling and being aware of the bodily sensations.
3. You could move your hand up towards your heart centre which is in the middle of your chest. As you focus on your breathing see how the strong emotion may have begun to lessen. Remind yourself as you focus here at your heart centre, that you are loved.
4. Notice how a strong difficult emotion is not simply one emotion, but you might feel a whole host of emotions, one after the other.
Very often you’ll add your own stories to what has happened. If you’ve reacted without thinking, you may already be feeling regret and shame.
Let yourself see this whirlpool of emotions. If you are able to stop and direct that initial impulse you can watch the swirl of emotions and be kind to yourself.
5. This kindness and compassion is important. You remind yourself that you are a human being, yet you are able to watch these emotions and learn not to get caught up in them. This is the power of mindfulness.
The Skill of Dealing with Difficult Emotions
There is a skill to this work. You’re dealing with a lifetime of habits. That’s why sitting to meditate daily is like working the muscles of your emotions. It takes time, but it’s worth it.
How do you deal with difficult emotions?
Are they sometimes giving you a clue to changes you need to make in your life?
Find out more about learning to deal with your emotions and old habits through mindfulness and meditation.
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
Place of Serenity, East Hampshire
Updated 3 May 2018