Want to Get Off the Emotional Rollercoaster?
Do your emotions get the better of you sometimes?
Someone says something that triggers you and you can’t stop the automatic emotion bursting forth.
Or you’re drowning in them and can’t seem to catch your breath?
Humans are emotion making machines. As long as we’re alive, we’re feeling something!
We don’t want to become robots and not have emotions, but sometimes we can sure feel that way.
Emotions are not good or bad, it’s our perception of them that makes them so.
Some of them have a bad reputation. Especially the ‘not so nice’ ones to feel or as deemed by society (anger or rage for example)
Heads shake or “tsk tsks” are muttered when someone has an angry outburst in public: toddler meltdown, Mama meltdown, or your type A boss at work losing it.
Yep! Make sure you stuff that one down, or feel shame if it explodes out of you!
BUT, anger is a great emotion for getting you moving. It’s a great motivator when you’ve been stuck in a situation for a long time.
One day you finally hit the pause button and scream
Bang, you’re moving forward, in a different direction, allowing change and clarity to enter your life again.
When Emotions Get Stuck
Our emotions are energy in motion, e-motion. If they’re flowing freely, no problem.
If they get stuck or you feel they’re running you, then, we have a problem.
Emotions get stuck for various reasons:
- We choose to suppress them or stuff them down because we’re uncomfortable expressing them or it’s socially unacceptable to express them
- We’re fearful if we start to feel a particular emotion, it won’t go away, that it will suffocate us, or
- We can’t seem to stop reacting automatically when triggered.
Once stuck, they can burst forth at inconvenient or inappropriate times, feel like they’re running your life and impact our relationships…with others and ourselves.
How Do I Get Off The Ride?
Depending on the situation, I’ve found two ways to work with emotions to ensure they keep flowing through me and don’t get stuck.
Step 1. In the Moment – The Art of Detachment
When a challenge arises in our life, our survival instincts activate and we can drop into a state of fear. When in this state, there’s no clarity, ability to make logical and rational decisions or even see a way out of it.
Like when someone says something and you react in what in reflection afterwards, feels like it was over the top and out of control!
In being able to detach from the sting of what’s happening, we’re in a more calm and rational state and our ability to think clearly and stay centred and grounded remains.
Practicing the art of Detachment is a powerful way to actually ‘detach’ from the sting of the emotion so you can step back and instantly see a new perspective. It enables you to ‘be the observer’ rather than buffeted around by the emotion or finding it has complete power over you and your next actions.
I first read about detachment in Deepak Chopra’s book ‘The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success’. I love this book! It’s short, so a quick read but every sentence is filled with so much to reflect on.
The chapter on detachment had the biggest impact on me. Here’s the intro to the chapter:
The Law of Detachment
In detachment lies the uncertainty…
in the wisdom or uncertainty lies the freedom
from our past, from the known,
which is the prison of past conditioning.
And in our willingness to step into the
unknown the field of all possibilities,
we surrender ourselves to the creative mind
that orchestrates the dance of the universe.
This law states you can still have an intention to create your desire but give up your attachment to the result. Attachment is based on fear and security which is the opposite of freedom.
How do you detach from emotions?
If we imagine our emotions are like raging rapids in a river, when they have a hold of us it’s like being caught in the rapids.
By asking the following questions, you immediately pull yourself into the shallows and start detaching from them.
- First, when you feel emotions rising up, state
- “Hmmm isn’t that interesting?” (Be the Observer)
- Ask “What is the emotion I’m feeling right now?”
- “Where does it sit in my body?”
- “Are there any other sensations?”
- “Is it mine or someone else’s?”
- As soon as you start to question and be the observer of what’s happening to you rather than being swept away by it, you’ve detached.
Step 2. Acknowledge, Feel and Release
After you’ve been able to detach from the emotion rising up, in the moment of your argument, say, and you find yourself with a spare 10 minutes, the next step ensures the emotion is fully released and doesn’t get stuck.
- Close your eyes
- Put your hand over your heart chakra
- Take a few deep breaths, all the way into your lower belly
- Take yourself back to when the emotion was fully present, and start to really drop into it. Feel how angry/sad/frightened you were.
- You may need to use your voice to vocalise, shed more tears, do whatever it takes to drop in and allow the emotion to be really present.
- Keep breathing deeply.
You’ll know when you’ve really dropped into it as it will quickly start to dissipate.
Rather than putting a garbage lid on emotions we’re too scared to feel and squashing them down to where we feel ‘safer’, give yourself permission to deeply feel what’s there for you.
In the act of acknowledgement, we give our emotions the freedom to be released.
What ways do you use to work with your emotions?