Monday, January 13, 2014

Life is Richer When You FEEL It (Without Getting Overwhelmed!)

Do you FEEL a lot? Are you overly sensitive, or ever get so carried away by your emotions that you feel crazy? I know I've spent days wallowing deep in tears, wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn't even seem to function like a normal person.

Hardly any of us have been taught how to understand and process our emotions – which are essentially just biological responses to stuff going on in our brains and environments. Literal energy pulses through our bodies. This is especially a problem to those of us who feel a lot in general. How do we deal? It's overwhelming!

When we don't learn to process or express our emotions in a healthy way... we do it in an unhealthy way. We stuff them down with food. We numb and soothe ourselves with alcohol, marijuana, shopping, drama in our relationships, Facebook. We distract ourselves so that we don't have to feel so much... but energy cannot be destroyed, only transferred. The emotions don't just go away when we ignore them. They manifest in our bodies as GI troubles, headaches, acne, eczema, teeth grinding, extra stubborn weight, high blood pressure, acid reflux, inflammation, tumors. I'm not trying to scare you, I'm just being real with you.

If we can't bury emotions or stop feeling them... How do we deal in a way that doesn't overwhelm us? I've been working with a coach, Joie Seldon, for the past couple months to help me develop more emotional intelligence – in other words, to understand how to process my emotions as information. She says “Life is fuller when you feel it.” We have to be willing to allow ourselves to feel them.

Being highly sensitive is actually a gift – we have way more information about ourselves and the world around us. We just need to know how to let that enrich and inform our lives, not drain our energy and wreak havoc in our bodies. We get to experience the full spectrum of living in more colors. And isn't that beautiful?

Joy is fully embracing all emotions and experience. Here are 3 ways I've learned how to have a more grounded, joyful relationship with my emotions:

  1. Find safe space and CRY. Who do you trust to talk to, cry with? I cry multiple times a week. I have friends who cry almost every day. And we're some high-functioning, ambitious AND highly sensitive entrepreneurs. Crying helps us release and move energy. At first, there might be a lot to come out, but then it COMES OUT instead of festering in your body. Letting my partner see me cry, even when I'm embarrassed about it or don't know where it's coming from, allows me to feel more safe, supported and open to be me. Men especially love to be fixers, it's a beautiful part of their helpful nature, but please tell people what you want and need from them during your cry and what you don't. You'll both be glad you did.
  2. Write. Brain dump. Putting a pen to paper is a deceptively effective way to process everything that is going on in your busy mind. What thoughts are causing your emotions? Are they based in 100% reality or are they just rising fear, anger, shame, guilt? All of our emotions are just messages about what isn't (or is) working for us. There is no such thing as a negative emotion – that is just a judgment! They all are here to tell us something, to protect us, to keep us alert, to tell us to let go. Be your own coach. Ask yourself what your emotion is trying to reveal to you. What is it's positive intention for you? What can you do to feel better, right now? Then stop writing and DO that.
  3. Get out of your head and into your body. Emotions are “energy in motion.” Moving energy moves emotions. For me this means getting into my body or into nature. Hiking, walking, running, laying in the grass at the park, yoga, meditation, taking a bath, stretching, dancing, hula hooping, smelling flowers... It doesn't have to be something energy-expending or time consuming. But don't stay alone in your room if you want to experience an energetic-emotional shift. I know I tend to want to isolate myself. It feels safe. DO take your time. And then find someone to call or just get out around the block.
When I thought about expressing or processing my emotions, I used to be afraid that I'd take the lid off Pandora's box and be washed away in a whirlpool of deep, dark emotion. I'm here to tell you it didn't happen. Did I cry more often at first, yes. But you know how good it feels to have a good cry.

As a coach, I hold space for my clients go there when they need to, or to find outlets and ways to process that feel safe. Burying and holding onto heavy, tense emotions is taxing. It takes a lot of energy to go around carrying a bag of bricks, yes? If you'd like to clear out the heavy, draining energy in your life, please give yourself the gift of Igniting Your Energy in 2014.

We are getting started soon - please join us if you know it's your year to feel lighter (in every sense of the word). If you feel like you'd rather have one-to-one support, contact me for a free consultation. Sending love to all you feel!

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