To some degree, we experience our feelings in a ‘come and go’ type way. Things occur throughout our day, thoughts pop into our head, daily living brings about nuanced experiences – and each of these things bring about some type of emotion. As a result, it creates an emotional energy flow; one that we can recognize as we pay attention to the coming in and out of emotion.
There are three emotions however that can threaten to consume us; taking over our system and potentially keeping us in limbo:
- Fear. When we are afraid of something, real or perceived – our fear response kicks in and will keep us in that state until we get to safety – either physically or emotionally.
- Anger. Nothing keeps us circling around an issue like anger can.
- Shame. When we feel shame, our inclination is to hide – and everything kept in the dark tends to be more intimidating.
The first step in countering feeling consumed by any these emotions is to recognize it. By acknowledging that we are, to some degree, willingly allowing an emotion to preoccupy us, we can begin the work of processing it. To counter these all consuming emotions:
- Be curious. The best tool in the kit for fear is to challenge it with the facts.
- Movement. If something is making us angry, make a decision, create a plan, find a solution.
- Light. Being a secret keeper doesn’t serve us – when shame keeps you in the dark, expose whatever you feel shameful about to some light. Tell a trusted friend or a therapist; the simple act of sharing the story is often enough to take away shame’s power.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@kjarrett