Here’s the wrong way to feel your feelings:
“Okay. I’m feeling overwhelmed and it feels like my thoughts are spinning and I can’t catch them. And it feels like there’s just too much to do. And that I’m too stupid to figure out what to do first. And it feels like this is too big for me and it’s just never going away.”
Here’s the right way:
“Okay. Wow. That’s a powerful emotion. I don’t like that. It feels very painful. Let me close my eyes, breathe, and turn my attention to the way my body is feeling the sensations of my body. Immediately, I feel like my chest is super, super tight. It feels like there’s something gripping my heart and weighing it down. My ribs are squeezing in. My shoulders and neck are tight also. And my skin feels crawly. That’s most of what I feel when I notice. And I’m going to stay with those feelings. I’m going to turn back to them and feel them again. I do notice that the intensity is lessening. It’s still uncomfortable, but it is getting a little lighter.“
Notice how in the first paragraph, I wasn’t feeling anything.
I was thinking, which means I was creating more emotions. This is why people are so terrified of feeling their feelings.
They’re used to creating this mounting building effect. That’s genuinely scary, but it’s not feeling.
This is also what leads people to “snap” in reaction to their heightened emotions.
So what do you do once the feeling is felt? And what happens when you don’t have time to stop and feel? And how does prayer fit into all of this??? Shouldn’t we pray first??
I got you guys.
Once the feeling is at an intensity that feels manageable/bearable, you ask yourself ONE QUESTION: What was I thinking when I started feeling this emotion?
THAT THOUGHT CAUSED THE EMOTION. And that thought needs to be RIGOROUSLY examined for truth and usefulness. (I can help with this).
If you don’t have time to feel…well first off let’s put this in perspective – it can literally take 15 seconds to get a grip on this. But if you literally can’t…cope! That’s what the coping mechanisms are there for! Eat the cookie, shove the emotion down with willpower or anger, etc. BUT THEN COME BACK TO IT AND FEEL IT LATER SO IT WILL PROCESS OUT OF YOUR BODY. You can do this by setting an alarm to review your day and FEEL.
And where does prayer come in? BOTH places. My prayers used to be painful because I would THINK MYSELF into desperation and quit praying. If I process my emotion first, I can talk to God with more ability to stay. And if I’m talking to God when I review my thoughts, I can instantly compare my thoughts to GOD’S. Win/win.
Your growth is a process. Come fall in love with it.