Negative emotions when you meditate

Negative emotions when you meditate

When I teach my courses in Mindfulness and Meditation, those new to it can be surprised or even overwhelmed by the depth of emotions they feel.

Quite often you may not know where these emotions have come from and it feels confusing and scary. It’s not unusual to experience what you perceive as negative emotions when you meditate.

Our Lives

We’ve all experienced upsetting and challenging things in our lives. We all hold the reverberations of those times within our bodies.

We keep busy with our lives because stopping might mean these upsetting experiences may re-surface. Why would we want that?

When we stop to meditate and acknowledge our feelings as they appear, we are freeing what has been locked up and suppressed.

This is not ‘ruminating’ over the feelings. Rather, a gentle observing of the emotions that arise.Place of Serenity | Negative emotions when you meditate

Notice where in your body you feel them. You might feel stifled at your throat or sick in your stomach.

‘Cradle your heart’ in meditation by simply allowing yourself to sit with the experience or emotion that still needs to be heard. Be kind to yourself.

Meditation is an act of courage

Sometimes you may not even know where the emotion has emerged from, and that’s OK too. It can be an act of courage to sit still.

Our usual reaction might be to keep busy or shut ourselves off. But as all things pass, so do these experiences. View it as emptying out the excess, like clearing out old clutter.

Often, you sit and meditate and the stream of thoughts can feel constant. It’s often described as a waterfall.

I like the way poet Mary Oliver describes a waterfall as ‘unspooling’.  Emotions like grief, can sometimes feel like this:

‘while something howled like thunder,

over the rocks,

all day and night –


like ribbons of snow …’

(Mary Oliver: The Waterfall)

Stop trying so hard

Settle into your meditation. Let yourself befriend your emotions. Have courage to sit with them.

As each moment moves on, so do emotions, thoughts and feelings. Let them all go.

Stop trying so hard to do better, be better, be more. Who we are and the way we do things is good enough for today. Who we were and the way we did things yesterday was good enough for that day. Ease up on ourselves. Let go. Stop trying so hard.

(Melody Beattie: ‘The Language of Letting Go’)

Don’t be afraid of negative emotions when you meditate!


The Poetry of Mary Oliver

The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Mindfulness and Meditation

Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach

Place of Serenity



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