Learning to deal with difficult emotion is one of the most important skills anyone can have. Even when life is good, problems and challenges still arise.
Achieving the ability to skilfully deal with negative emotion so that we don’t let it control us takes some know-how, a little bit of courage, and dedicated practice.
If you’ve never learned a systematic way for dealing with negative emotions like fear and worry, this may help you.
The good news is that your body is an emotion-processing factory and can help you handle whatever comes up even when your mind is a little lost and overwhelmed.
Every experience you have is processed by your body even when you are not aware of it. These things happen in the body at a subconscious level. It is when we bring our consciousness to focus on what is happening in the body that emotions become manageable.
When we consciously allow the physical body the time and space to process the emotions we are faced with, the body can do amazing things with it.
It is critical to consciously allow the body an opportunity to process feelings. Otherwise, emotions get stored in our bodies and held there. If enough negative emotion is stored in the body it will surface later on as illness and pain.
So how can you help your body efficiently deal with emotion?
It starts with the awareness that the body processes emotion as physical sensation and as energy.
Imagine your body is a factory and emotions are the raw material that are used to produce the final product. Our life experiences cause emotion to enter the body. In order for the body to process this raw material, it needs to be given support and attention. When we pay attention to the body in the right way, the emotions are handled, converted, and used to generate the final products.
One of those final products is wisdom.
When our life experiences are processed mindfully the final products also include: calm, serenity, life-force, vitality, motivation, and joy.
If the body is ignored, the energy of the emotions gets stored instead of processed. This results in stress and ill health.
So how do we prevent negative emotions from stagnating and being stored in our bodies and causing damage later on? By taking the time to let mind and body connect in a deep way.
There are two ways to enable this connection:
- Yoga. The word yoga means union. Through yoga we bring together body and mind. Practicing yoga in a mindful way allows the mind and body to integrate and do their work. That’s why some people find themselves crying at the end of a yoga practice. The crying is the result of the stored energy of emotions being accessed and brought to the surface.
- Meditation. Not all meditation will help process emotion in the way I’m referring to. There is a special way of opening up during a meditation to let the processing happen to its full extent.
Below is a specialized meditation to get you started. Keep in mind, you can take this process much deeper and get significant results. The steps below are a place to begin getting to know your body and the way it experiences emotion.
MEDITATING ON THE PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION OF EMOTION
This can be a challenging type of meditation. It can also be highly rewarding. If you’ve never systematically dealt with difficult emotion before it will be a new experience.
- This process can be as deep as you want it to be.
- Be prepared for whatever comes. See if you can allow it to happen.
- If it is too much for you today, come back to it another day.
- Be kind and gentle with yourself.
Here are the 9 basic steps:
- Set aside a time and place where you can sit quietly and not be interrupted.
- Take a few minutes to pay attention to your breath. At first, just notice your regular breath. Then take some deep full inhales and do some complete exhales.
- Now start to pay attention to your body. Notice the feeling of the support beneath you. Notice how your clothes feel against your skin. Notice any other physical sensations you are experiencing. Take a few minutes doing this step.
- Then bring to mind a difficult emotion that you have been dealing with lately…..anger, frustration, disappointment, fear, anxiety….keep breathing deeply. Don`t think about the causes of the emotion or let your mind get involved in a storyline about it. Instead just focus on what the emotion is: this is fear, this is worry, this is anger.
- As you focus on this emotion, notice where it is felt in your body. Place your full attention on the physical sensation(s) the emotion creates. Keep your attention resting on that part of your body.
- See if you can stay with that physical sensation as long as it lasts. It may get stronger. It may dissipate. It may change.
- See if you can let the emotion be fully felt. This may be difficult so just do your best for today. If you can, let it reach its peak. If you are not able to do that today, be compassionate with yourself and come back to it some other time when you are ready.
- It may take a few minutes for it to dissipate or it may not dissipate today (that’s okay too). When the physical expression of that emotion dissipates, give the part of your body where it was experienced your gratitude and thanks.
- Spend a few more minutes doing deep breathing.
Be kind to yourself with this practice. It may take some time to develop the ability to connect to what is happening in the body. There is no right or wrong. It is a practice and a journey that enables us to get to know ourselves better.
I hope you find this method for dealing with difficult emotion helpful. In my program, Self-Love Superstar, I help women through this process so they can become free from being controlled by fear, anger, and worry.