Use These 4 Steps To Stop Avoiding Your Feelings

MICHELLE’S STORY: Ever since I can remember I’ve been using writing to process life. I sat in trees listening to mix tapes and writing poetry. I hid journals under mattresses and wrote letters to everyone I loved. I have always been someone who has felt deeply and who has sought to uncover life’s meaning. My heart bled for strangers before I knew what an empath was. I felt the longing of my soul constantly pulling me, but I didn’t know what it meant or what to do with it. I tried to use my mind to figure it out, and when I didn’t get anywhere I shoved the feelings away. I was often stuck in my head, confused, and frustrated. Mitchell runs
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This morning I woke up with a heaviness in my body. I did a short Breathwork session, and with each breath I felt my body opening up. I felt emotion rising to the surface and bringing with it thoughts of another life. I let myself cry. I found myself surprised by how deep my sobbing went. 

Shouldn’t I be over this part by now?

I am well aware that the judgements of my mind are habit, and I don’t allow it to concern me. There is no supposed to. There is only what is. In that moment I felt deep sadness well up in my body, and I let it come out. I felt a little lighter afterward, and I moved on with my day. As the hours progressed the weight of my feelings seemed to get heavier. 

I went through half of my day with my mind spitting out memories of beautiful moments spent with someone who is no longer a part of my life. I didn’t want them to be there because I just want to be done with it all — the hurt, the betrayal, the missing him, the deep sadness, all of the pain. I just want it all to be over and done with.

But it’s not. 

And this is where we wake up. It’s not done. Even if I want it to be over, it’s not. So if I want it to be over, meaning if I want to be healed, then I have to face into everything that’s coming up. 

So I took my sadness with me to the laundromat this afternoon, brought it back home, leaned against my door and cried it all out. Again. For the millionth time. I let it out until it felt like there was nothing else to let out. And guess how I feel now?

I feel great. I feel light. The sad memories aren’t surfacing. And if I want to I can look at the memories, and they don’t feel so sad. The heaviness is gone. 

When we avoid feeling the difficult feelings that our souls are asking us to deal with, we develop anxiety and/or depression.

I have struggled with both of these things throughout my life. They are extremely unpleasant, which is why it’s not really logical that we’re not facing the uncomfortable feelings — because anxiety and

depression are not really better solutions.

But some part of ourselves is deeply afraid to face the feelings that need to surface, and it’s because they run so deep that we don’t know what to do with them once they come up. They are so overwhelming and all-encompassing that we have some unconscious fear that they will consume us. And we are so afraid that allowing these emotions to surface will define us. We will become a weak person, an angry tyrant, a blabbering idiot forever.

What actually happens when we face into our feelings and accept them for what they are, is that we release the pain.

Crying and screaming allows our bodies to purge the pain. We don’t stay trapped in these emotional states, we move through them. On the other side is our lighter selves. 

So here’s what you can begin to do to transform your emotional state:

  1. Begin to pay attention to how your body is feeling throughout the day. We first need to become conscious of our state in order to know when we need to heal ourselves. Breathwork is a great tool for developing a connection with your body. Mindfulness practices are also really important tools to connect you to what’s occurring in the present moment. 
  2. When you find yourself feeling anxious or depressed take note and focus on your breathing until you can take a moment to be alone with yourself. Often times we’re note even aware of the symptoms. For me, when I feel anxious it feels like my nerves are shot, I have a short temper, things agitate me easily that normally wouldn’t when I’m balanced, and I am very airy (up in my head). Depression symptoms feel more like a heaviness weighing my body down, I feel lethargic, I lack motivation or care. 
  3. Find a quiet place where you feel safe and can be alone. Sit silently and focus on your breath. Allow it to regulate naturally. Begin to ask yourself how you’re feeling and simply listen for the response. Be willing to be honest with yourself. Acknowledge the feelings that come up. 
  4. Be very present with your emotions as they arise. Continue to embrace them and release any judgement that comes up from the mind. Allow your body to express the emotion as necessary, but do so in a safe way (i.e. punch a pillow instead of a wall). 

When you’re done you’ll know it. Allow yourself to be still for a few moments afterward and give yourself love. Don’t engage with any judgemental thoughts that may come up about how you just acted. Let it be ok that you released pain that you were holding on to. Take note of how you feel afterward. And if you feel really good, celebrate it with a dance party

In order to live the incredible lives we’re here to live we have to learn to communicate we’re our entire systems — not just the mind.
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