With everything going on in the world lately, I have been calling on myself and others to search for the larger assignment inside ourselves.
Meaning, to look for what has continuously come up during these magical times when things feel like they are out of control.
What we seem to be collectively finding are unresolved hurts emerging, letting us know we are ready to do some healing.
What feels like it might be falling apart or out of control could really be falling into place to help us be more in alignment than ever and to make some healthy shifts for ourselves and therefore the collective.
As a therapist, I often get asked:
>> Well how in the heck do I heal?
>> What does processing actually look like?
>> How do I process unresolved feelings and experiences?
Before sharing some tangible tips on how to heal by feeling your feelings, I first want to remind us of a few important things:
1. Feelings are actually sensations that are held in the body.
They are teachers, pointing us to something that would like our attention—guides to get us to notice and acknowledge something that we are holding onto. Feelings can be our greatest teachers if we learn to tune into them.
2. It is important that we acknowledge and move our feelings through us.
Otherwise they become stagnant energy in our systems that can cause other problems.
Our emotions become vulnerable spots in the body that can host other physical ailments. Additionally, when we ignore our feelings—which we often do if they are unpleasant—they become somewhat like a child in the back seat of a car. On a road trip. When they need to go to the bathroom. They will tell us louder and louder until they are screaming and have our attention.
Feelings are the same way. And they show up in sneaky and unconscious ways such as overeating, drinking too much, spending too much, picking fights, irritability, or lack of motivation.
3. We are feeling beings.
And when we continuously feel our feelings, we become more self-aware and clear our vessels (brains, bodies, being) to be able to carry more, therefore allowing us to move through our existence more peacefully.
So with that information, here are some ways to consciously process and feel all those feelings to guide your healing:
Designate uninterrupted time and space to sit in stillness.
Slow your breath, and turn your attention inward.
You can use a guided mediation to help you, or you can do it on your own. Starting with the crown of your head and working all the way down to your toes, begin to scan the body to notice any sensations.
Once you notice sensations in the body, do your best not to judge, label, or shame them. Make space for them. Meet them with curiosity. Just notice them. Ask what is it they would like to bring to your attention, and then actually pay attention to the first thing that comes through for you. It may come through in the form of a thought, an image, a whisper—whatever it is, trust it and meet it with kindness and genuine interest.
Imagine you are making space for it in your physical body. Then imagine a bright white light above beaming warm and nurturing light on you and through you, all the way to the spot where you are holding the feelings in the body. Imagine the warm light surrounding the area and creating almost an aura around it. The light is soothing, healing, and warm.
Ask our emotion or emotions what it or they need.
Again, whatever comes up, trust it.
Emotions need to be in motion, so to complete the process, engage in an intentional way to move them through you. You can:
>> Talk about it with someone you trust
>> Journal about it
>> Write a letter and never send it and/or burn it
>> Spend time in nature
>> Stretch or do yoga
>> Walk or run
>> Slam medicine balls, or punch a punching bag (great for anger)
>> Inner child work
>> Create, or make some kind of art
If you can, befriend your feelings.
Treat them like an important piece of the puzzle that is you and your life. They will guide you where you need to go. They will tell you what you need to know about yourself. They are there for good reason.
To feel is to heal.
The more you feel, the easier and more natural it will become.
One of the myths about feelings that I often encounter is the fear that acknowledging them will result in getting stuck in them.Or that they will become too powerful and overwhelming.
I promise you, you have everything you need inside of you right now to work through big feelings. Even the most intense feelings only last about 90 seconds. It’s the stories we tell ourselves surrounding those feelings that keep us stuck.
If you feel the feelings, without story or judgement, and breathe or move through them, they will pass.
And the more you work through your emotions, the less likely they are to burst out unannounced.
So, here’s to consciously feeling, my friends. May this serve in such meaningful ways.