How To Feel Your Feelings (Thoughts On Resistance & Distraction)
Posted Aug 29 2012 11:33am
“Resisting and avoiding pain sucks energy and time. The more you let yourself feel those minute-and-a-half hells, the quicker you’ll start feeling those minute-and-a-half happinesses.” ~ Leigh Newman
Can you identify with this cycle? You have an unpleasant experience, you make it mean something bad about yourself, you feel bad, you turn to food, ugh, you then beat yourself up over that choice, decide you need to “control” yourself, focus on “avoiding food,” remember that you once heard it’s a good strategy to distract yourself from food by taking a bubble bath or getting a manicure, but you’re still hungry, and you still feel bad about that unpleasant experience, and so you turn to food…UGH!
I don’t know about you, but I have spent a lot of time in my life resisting and avoiding so-called negative feelings by distracting myself with food…and then resisting and avoiding food by distracting myself with something else. It takes a whole lot of energy and, in the end, the feeling I was trying to avoid is still there…usually magnified. Now I understand that if I had just allowed myself to feel the damned feeling in the first place, I would have saved a lot of time and energy…and probably calories! Distraction as a strategy is just a form of delay.
Here’s how I feel my feelings.
Say it out loud.
If it’s a rather simple, in-the-moment feeling, I acknowledge it and say it out loud: “Damn, I’m grouchy and pissy!”
If it’s a bit more intense, I remind myself that my feelings can not destroy me and I allow myself to express it: “I miss my father so much!” I allow the tears to flow. I remind myself that this feeling will not stay with me, at this intensity, forever and ever.
For deep-seated scary emotions, I stomp and state : “I am so scared…my anxieties are taking over my life! I feel paralyzed!” I vocalize and move my body at the same time. I stomp around and pump my arms up and down and just start saying what it is I am feeling and why…it feels silly at first, but I just repeat myself over and over, and I observe what comes up. Then I am actually able to FEEL the emotion in a physical way…I feel it in my body. I notice where it is and where it goes. I continue to “stomp and state” until I feel it go!
Accepting the feeling leads to releasing it. Resisting the feeling leads to feeling it more.