Leading with positivity, optimism, love, and joy are a super important part of living a full, meaningful life. However, we are human, designed to experience a full range of emotions. It can even be harmful to our mental health and overall wellbeing to only express positive emotions.
I've spent a lot of time learning how to express my full range of genuine emotions. Smacking a smile on my face came very easy for me, but emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, disappointment, etc... were more difficult. I was the type to say "yes" to too much and bottle it all up until I was about to explode. I'm still a work in progress, but let's just say, a mindfulness practice is VERY worth the time (and the financial investment too)!
Anyways, a bunch of difficult emotion arose for me this past week and I imagine I'm not alone, as I was feeling SO FRICKIN' much! I found myself in tears scrolling through my Facebook feed, seeing what happened in Las Vegas, then to Tom Petty, then the lack of relief efforts in Puerto Rico, and then MORE tragedy in my personal network. It felt never-ending. And I continued scrolling through Facebook, going deeper and deeper into a spiral of fear and sadness. Until I saw my yoga instructor's class schedule post for the week.
I realized I had a choice. Fear doesn't have to win.
I could easily continue down the tunnel of darkness or I could exert a dose of willpower to close my laptop and head to yoga for a break.
Thank goodness, I chose the yoga, led by my fantastic instructor, Allison English, who had the PERFECT centering theme to heal my wounded soul. I shed a few more tears in my down-dog, felt exactly what I needed to feel, talked to Allison a bit after class about some new, exciting things going on in our lives, and I started to feel a bit lighter and more joyful.
As I said before, this was a choice. Because let's be real, choosing the yoga is not always easy, but WE ALL have the power of choice. It takes consistent practice, genuinely feeling all your vibes and mindfully acknowledging the productive benefits.
Try applying my 5-Step Mindful Awareness Practice to a difficult situation you're experiencing, whether it's specific to your life or if you're feeling a lot of heavy emotion for other people:
- Step 1: Ask - What difficult emotions are you feeling? Label them: anger, frustration, fear, disgust, sadness, helplessness, etc?
- Step 2: Acknowledge - Give your emotions your undivided attention. Feel them. Cry if you need to cry. Scream if you need to scream (preferably in an enclosed space, but up to you:)).
- Step 3: Self-compassion - Tell yourself that your emotions are warranted. They are your current reality and they deserve to be respected and not resisted. It's ok to be feeling WHATEVER you are feeling right now. By focusing on your emotions, you can learn to process, take action and prevent anxiety. (Note: journaling can be a very effective way of processing difficult emotions if you're having trouble focusing your attention directly on you).
- Step 4: Choice Is there anything around you showing up as a choice to move to light or love? Anything you feel grateful for? Anything that could provide some relief from this madness? A giant hug from a friend? Meditation? Music? (Note: A lot of us resist joy with guilt, why should I get to experience joy when others are suffering? Unfortunately guilt is not productive - it stalls us from moving to the next step.)
- Step 5: Action What can you do to make a difference in the situation? Can you volunteer time? Money? Send love to those around you? Show gratitude for someone or something? Can you volunteer politically or get in touch with your local government? Instead of dwelling, take 5 minutes to Google how you can help the situation. Taking action makes you more resilient and will contribute to meaningful change.
- Feeling helpless/hopeless about gun laws in the US? You can text RESIST to 50409, or just click here to tell your Representatives or Senators what you think about this or any other issue before Congress. It's super easy and one way to let your voice be heard.
Remember, meaningful action comes in the love mindset, not while stuck in fear. Energy attracts more like energy - if you're stuck in a fear based mindset, you crave more fear. If you can see the love, you can bring love and action to a situation. I couldn't have written this post from a place of love if I dwelled in the fear.
Choose love, but make sure to feel all your genuine emotions to get there. Lots of love to you.
Stuck in fear and looking to bring more love and excitement into your career and lifestyle? Click to get in touch with Liz.