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January 7, 2023

4 Steps to Emotional Self Care

4 Steps to Emotional Self Care

Emotional self care that leads to balanced living is a science. It’s the opposite of an intellectual science, because it is experiential. Since emotions are literally energy in motion, you are literally feeling your way to wellbeing. Emotional self care is the science of the movement of energy. So allow yourself to be emotional. The key is not to fight against or reject whatever feeling arises; just relax and feel into it. Every emotion and every thought is just fleeting energy in motion. And we can to learn how to identify that energy in our system to use it for personal growth.

But wait, isn’t that the opposite of everything that we have been taught? We are told to not let them see us cry. Males are told to man up and suppress emotions, that it is weak to show emotions. These myths are continued despite science showing that repressed, suppressed and otherwise unexpressed or blocked emotions result in mental and physical distress. So it serves us well to listen to the messages in the emotion and not “kill” — suppress, repress, or blame — the messenger!

One way to listen to your emotions is by tuning into the sensations in your body to name the emotion you are feeling. Here’s how:

  1. Sit or lie down in a quiet room with as little distraction as possible. Close your eyes and do a quick scan of your body from head to toe to search for any sensations such as tightness, heat or coolness, muscle pain, sweating, racing heartbeat, spasms, clenching, flutters, itch, etc. Now pay attention to whichever of those sensations are loudest or most obvious.
  2. Listen in. Start by taking a few meditative breaths — deep and smooth inhale, followed by a slight pause after the inhale to allow oxygen to circulate throughout the body, and finally a deep, smooth exhale. Let the exhale be longer than the inhale. This will put you in a more relaxed state of mind to begin the internal listening process. From this meditative state, observe without judgement. Notice what these feelings are telling you. Are you anxious? Are you content? Fearful? Angry? Nervous? Maybe you feel a combination of emotions? Emotions express themselves in the sensations that you are feeling. For example, the tension in your shoulders may represent fear. An itch on the skin over your lungs may represent grief. A heavy heart may represent sadness or loneliness.
  3. Allow the loudest or most intense emotion a voice. Naming it will help to make it real. My version of the Emotional Scale will help you to name the emotion. Imagine that this sensation is trying to give you a message. Research on emotional resiliency shows that to successfully navigate life, both naming the emotion you’re experiencing and describing the feelings that make up your experience are critical to helping you move the emotional energy through to completion.
  4. Write down what these emotions are saying to you and how you would like to respond to them. Journaling opens a dialogue of understanding between you and your inner expression. This information helps you respond to your circumstances in ways that keep you in harmony with yourself and the people around you. Now, write down the actions that came to mind that will help you process this emotion, and make a commitment to follow through with them in your daily life.

Challenge yourself to make that final push that moves you through an emotion and instead of becoming stuck in it. This takes focused energy! So begin to honor the power of transmuting energy — the power of focusing in on the message and energy an emotion has for you by just feeling what you feel and allowing it be fully expressed and completed. Thank the messenger. Even if you cannot yet be happy, a higher feeling emotion becomes available to you when you process how you feel.

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