”How to Release Emotions Stuck in Your Body and Let Go of the Pain”

surrealist_self_portrait_by_quell_117

“Whenever something bad happens, keep calm, take a few deep breaths and shift the focus to something positive.”

Someone crushed my heart pretty badly. It was one of those breakups you don’t see coming, the kind of heartbreak you never thought could happen to you. But it happened to me, and I lost myself for a while. I was in so much pain, I wanted nothing more than to get rid of it. So I did.

But the only way to heal emotional pain quickly is by running away from it. And I knew that wasn’t something I could do. One of the main messages in my breathwork teaching is to feel everything—even when it’s excruciating.

But I was so TIRED of feeling the pain. I just wanted it to disappear. We’re wired to run from pain. We want to get as far away from it as possible, whether that means pushing it away or finding a way to go numb. The problem with those approaches is that they create bigger problems, in the form of disease, anxiety, and emotional stagnation.

If you’re someone who wants to live a deeply fulfilling life, you have to learn to face your pain. I know it doesn’t sound appealing, but ignoring your pain will only make it worse over time. Only by staring it right in the face, and really dealing with it, can you find the richness, beauty, and joy that comes with true freedom. Which do you want for your life?

Colors-of-Mood

Why Do Emotions Get Stuck In the Body?

Any emotional energy that we don’t fully experience and process, can get trapped in the body.

  • When we talk ourselves out of feeling how we really do

    How many times have you told yourself it is “ridiculous to get upset over this!” or “not worth upsetting dad” to bring up. Those types of situations cause you to be at risk for trapping emotions. Emotions want a “voice” and if they are not acknowledged, they won’t go away.

  • When we are isolated at the time of the event

    When we are isolated while dealing with a stressful event, we are at risk for trapped emotions. I believe this is because it is human nature to find comfort in the sharing of our emotions — positive and negative. When we can’t reach out, we may be less likely to really feel them and experience them. It often feels safer to let go emotionally with someone else.

  • When we have never experienced something similar before

    Not having any coping skills for the specific event that’s bringing up negative emotions can really leave us “stuck.” If it’s the first time you are experience something, a death of a loved one for instance, you are more likely to “freeze” emotionally than you would be if you had coping skills for the situation. You would be more likely to have coping skills if you learned them during an earlier similar life event.

 

Feelings

The Top Most Commonly Stuck Emotions

The top  emotions on my list are the ones I see most often, in most people. Now, remember, these are just the ones that I commonly find to be lodged in the body. Certain events or years of your life can create different types of emotions, and even multiples of the same ones. These are just a general list of what comes up most during my sessions with clients, and for myself! Also keep in mind, they don’t all have to get stuck! Negative emotions aren’t bad. They can only harm if you don’t let them go.

1. Anxiety

While this is a commonly described “emotion,” my experience is that there is other, suppressed emotion under it creating a feeling of anxiousness. It’s best to find what is making you feel anxious instead of using the catch-all of “anxiety” to describe what you’re experiencing.

2. Disgusted

A feeling of loathing; when good taste or moral sense is offended; a strong aversion. Disgust is a feeling that is low enough on the radar to not say anything about. It’s not like anger where you can lose your temper and it comes bellowing out. Disgust is more of an internal ruminating that one often keeps to themselves and festers over.

3. Grief-stricken

Intense emotional suffering caused by loss, disaster, misfortune, etc.; an acute sorrow and deep sadness. A universal reaction to bereavement. Also can be feeling harassed, vexed or exasperated
Grief is something that we don’t often “have time for.” There are so many things humans have the tendency to grieve over. We often need to grieve over the loss of something we never attain (a job, for example), our expectations (the actions of a friend who doesn’t meet them) and many many other things. It’s easily overlooked because we don’t see things as important enough to take the time to say “we’re really feeling that loss,” unless it’s something we think is big enough like the death of a loved one.

4. Criticized

Criticized includes being criticized by others and also negative self-talk (e.g. “Iʼm such an idiot”), blaming the self, etc.  Illnesses can be forms of self-abuse (e.g., “I don’t deserve to be healed.”)
We are masters at this! This one becomes easily stuck because we do it so often to ourselves and we are usually the last people we will give a break to. Many people are willing to forgive others more easily than themselves. In addition, many people think this is a helpful behavior/emotion because it keeps them motivated and so on.

5. Unsupported

A lack of support, help or encouragement; not provided for by another; not defended when help is needed; feeling the burden is too heavy to bear alone. This one goes back to being isolated. Feeling unsupported is scary and makes us feel like we have nowhere to turn. When we have nowhere to turn, we don’t know what to do. And when that happens, we usually find a distraction and don’t really work through the feelings and let them go.

6. Unsafe

Feeling “unsafe” in the world is one of the energies that affect us most as far as our overall wellbeing. This can be feeling unsafe physically or emotionally. Feeling unsafe in the world leads to an overactive “fight, flight, or freeze” (stress) response in the body, which can create a host of emotional and physical challenges.

7. Overwhelmed

To be overpowered in mind or emotion; extreme stress; feeling overpowered with superior force; feeling excessively burdened. This is often self-inflicted. We live in a society where we never feel we’re doing enough, fast enough, good enough. So, we take on more. And then we get overwhelmed. Also, we can tend to be overwhelmed with emotion and if we don’t want to feel that, we can bury it and it can become trapped.

8. Worthless

Of no importance or value; without excellence of character, quality or esteem; serving no purpose. So many of us have given other people permission to define our worth. We are so caught in a pattern of this that we just hang on to how we didn’t live up to someone’s expectations, or that they thought “x, y or z” about us. We hold tight to those perceptions and are scared to let go of them, sometimes because we don’t really know who we are; and sometimes because other people’s perceptions of us serve us (let us “off the hook” for things we don’t want to do, for example).

9. Helpless

Helplessness is the sensation or perception that there is nothing one can do to fix, repair, or improve a situation. This feeling is a huge fear trigger which affects the mind and body greatly.
Feeling helpless in life is so common. And, such a scary feeling. But, we often don’t know how to get out of it. We don’t take the time to change our beliefs about “nothing will make a difference,” “it’s not worth it,” and “I don’t matter.” Changing long-held beliefs is a great way to reverse feelings of helplessness.

Advertisements

”Let the Soul Dangle’: How Mind-Wandering Spurs Creativity”

c8afd68e4f2acdc5fde9f2b286dd15d7

”Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.”

Wayne Dyer

From time to time, unconscious emotions – anger, fear, hate, jealousy, greed, lust, cowardice, etc, run our lives. Or it might be more appropriate to say they ruin our life.

They are unconscious because they take possession of us often for no rational reason, or with a strength that is out of proportion to the situation that provoked them. And they eat away at our energy – in the night they become nightmares and in the day they affect all our actions.

6ebd1bc20d61777d1b86e8c5bfc54adb46de7c23v2_hq

The only way we know how to deal with these unwanted emotions is by repression or expression.

With repression, the emotion, for example, anger, is there, flooding our body, but we are trying not to be angry. We control it, and in so doing, it doesn’t just go away, it is simply driven deeper into the unconscious, where it accumulates as a poison. The more we do this, the more poisoned we become. It is not healthy, and eventually, it drives us neurotic. And we know that at any moment the accumulated anger can explode, and then it is uncontrollable.

With repression, we hurt ourselves – we get stomach ulcers and worse. And we feel we are sitting on top of a volcano, so we are never at ease. We are restless, and all joy disappears from our life because if we repress the energy of anger, we become incapable of expressing anything else either – because everything is joined inside. There are no watertight compartments between anger and love. It is not that you can repress anger and express love; then your love will be false because it won’t have any heat, it won’t have the quality of warmth. It will just be a mild mannerism, and you will always be afraid of moving deeper into it, because then all the repressed energies may arise.

And we all know that the other alternative, expression – dumping these emotions onto someone or something else – does not help. In fact, it is even more destructive, perpetuating a vicious cycle that can destroy relationships as well as our health. And the more we express these emotions, the more difficult it is not to do it – it becomes a habit, a second nature. It brings great misery to us, and to others – and to no point. It creates ugly situations in life, which we have to pay for, and on top of that, we feel guilty, that we should not be angry. Out of the fear of expression, we repress. But neither is good for us.

Osho, the revolutionary Indian mystic who has turned so many accepted theories on their head, suggests a third way – understand the unconscious nature of these emotions, how they function and use their energy for creative purposes.

ef7cf6ed722cc6baeb35abe89ee8550b

Emotions are energies. And unconscious emotions, all unconscious energies, can be transformed by the alchemy of awareness into their opposite, positive values. For example, fear can become love, anger can become compassion, hatred can become friendliness, lust can become creative. It is the same energy, transformed through understanding.

So Osho’s way is not a question of trying to discard these unconscious energies, but rather accepting them and using them – they are a part of us, it is our energy, so to try and reject them is like fighting a part of ourselves.

We are either identified with the mind or we are fighting with the mind. If we are identified, then we will indulge in anger, in sex, in greed, in jealousy. If we are fighting, then we will create anti-attitudes. Then we will be divided. Because fighting is simply one part of mind fighting with another part so it cannot lead to transformation. On the contrary, you will become a madhouse – fighting with yourself, taking revenge upon yourself, yielding to yourself, being defeated by yourself. Fighting is a kind of cooperation – it gives power and a reality to whatever you are fighting.

creative-work

 

Instead, Osho says, except that the energy is there, and try to understand the mechanism behind it. If you can really see and understand the whole mechanism, it will automatically transform into an energy that you can use positively and consciously in your life.

For example, if you accept anger and use its energy creatively, it releases great vitality and passion in you. Then you are not standing back from life, afraid you might explode, but you can enjoy being in the thick of things, involved in the whole rich dance of life. Rejecting anger, recoiling from your own energy, you are rejecting the possibility of being vital. You will be dull. Similarly, if you reject sadness, you will not have any depth. Your laughter will be shallow because it will just be on the surface.

When we reject parts of ourselves, because they don’t fit with some ideal we have created, they don’t fit with the image we have manufactured for ourselves, then we become phoney. And afraid of life. When we don’t reject anything, all energies are ours, we are enriched. Then we have tremendous energy. And that tremendous energy is a delight.

How does it work? There are two steps: acceptance and awareness. If we really accept – that in this moment anger is there, or sadness is there, and this is my energy – then a relaxation happens. The fight stops. And in that relaxation, awareness of the mechanism of the unconscious is possible. This awareness automatically transforms, because knowing you cannot be angry, knowingly you cannot be greedy. For anger, for greed, for violence, unawareness is a basic requirement. Just as you cannot knowingly take poison, just as knowingly you cannot put your hand into a flame, so you cannot knowingly be angry, once you are aware of what it does to you.

The vital key to acceptance for this purpose is that you have no condemnation, no rejection of whatever emotion is there; that you have no interpretation of whether it is good and bad, you are simply acknowledging and accepting whatever is there, at that moment.

This is not as easy as it sounds – to see and acknowledge what is, without judging or commenting on it. It is only possible through meditation. It is not possible for the mind to be without judgments and comments – just try and watch your mind for five minutes. But meditation gives you the possibility to access dimensions of yourself which are beyond your mind – dimensions in which you can really see facts with awareness, without judging.

0_lrgWf9sBYFMYIeQk

Meditation gives you the possibility to watch the workings of the unconscious within you, objectively. It gives you the possibility to understand your unconscious energies – how they work, what are their functions. If you can really watch all the ways of the mind – greed, desire, ambition, jealousy, possessiveness, domination – one day suddenly you will find they are not there. Their power was in being unconscious. They have no other reality. So as soon as you shine the light of awareness on them, they disappear.

Meditation is needed because normally we are afraid to look at our own reality – we are afraid that if we come face to face with ourselves, all our illusions about yourself will fall down.

 

Another important point: acceptance does not mean resignation – for example, anger is there and what can I do about it. Acceptance means only that you accept the fact, as it is. See that anger is there, acknowledge it. Be aware that it is happening – watch it. It is a beautiful phenomenon – energy moving in you, becoming hot, bubbling, boiling, sizzling.

It is just like electricity in the clouds. Primitive people used to be afraid of lightning. Then science learned how to transform that electricity into energy that runs your air conditioner, the fridge: whatever you need. The electricity of lightning has become a domestic force, it is no longer angry and no longer threatening. Through science, an outer force has been transformed into a friend.

Through meditation, the same happens with inner forces. Anger is just like inner electricity in your body. It is electricity because you become hot; and when it is transformed, a deep coolness happens.

Electricity is hot – it becomes the source of air conditioning. Anger is hot – it becomes the source of compassion. Compassion is an inner air conditioning. Suddenly everything is cool and beautiful, and nothing can disturb you, and the whole existence is transformed into a friend. When you look through the eyes of anger, somebody becomes an enemy; when you look through the eyes of compassion, everybody is a friend. When you love, everywhere is heaven; when you hate, everywhere is hell. It is your own standpoint, which is projected onto reality.

So the moment you understand your anger, you can channel it: it will become your servant. Anger is energy. If you do not understand that, it can make you mad. If you know it, you can transform the energy and use it creatively. The energies of the emotions are always there – it is a question of whether you use them or they use you.

So if there is anger within, do not fight with it, do not repress it. Know it, understand it. When anger takes possession of you, shut yourself in a room and look at the anger – where it is, what it is, where it has taken hold of your being. Allow the energy to be there, boiling, bubbling. Don’t suppress it in any way, just watch where all the flames of anger burn within the consciousness. Watch your face get red, feel the anger in your hands and jaw. And go on watching it. Don’t support the anger by going into the reasons why you are angry – don’t focus on a cause outside, just focus on your own energy within. And you will be surprised – the more you observe anger, the fainter it will become. The more conscious you become of anger, the sooner it will evaporate. Then a moment will come when it will disappear, and what remains within is peace, silence, tranquillity. Like after a storm. This is the creative use of the negative emotions.

Anger depends on your cooperation. In watching, the cooperation is broken; you are no more supporting it. It will be there, for a few minutes, and then it will be gone. Finding no roots in you, finding you unavailable to cooperate in it, it will dissipate.

So awareness is the second step – first acceptance, then awareness. And you can be aware only if you accept totally whatever is there. If not, you will try to avoid it in subtle ways – you will think of something else, you will pretend it is not there. You will create a façade, or you will try to justify it. That is a dead end. If you do not accept that it is your anger, your energy, then you cannot be aware of it.

Accepting anger means, anger is not an act. Rather, you are the source. Accepting this means throwing away your self-image. And we have all built beautiful self-images. So this first step is the most difficult: to accept whatever you are, to accept whatever is there at the moment as a natural fact without any condemnation.

But if you can accept it, then you can watch it. And watching means, not being against it, nor for it. It means don’t cooperate with it, don’t indulge in it and throw it on others, and don’t suppress it. Just look at it, observe it.

-e8WtKOjcg5jaEy8YRuC_1082100387

Normally when we are angry, then our mind is focused on the cause of anger outside. Someone has insulted you-you are angry. So inside is your energy of anger, outside is the cause which has provoked your energy to come up, and you, the watcher, are in between. The natural way of the mind is to be focused on the cause outside, rather than being aware of the source of your energy inside.

Just move your focus in – watch it patiently, just let it rise and see what happens. And you will be surprised. You will see that if you wait, anger becomes compassion. Just as night becomes day if you wait, in the same way, anger becomes compassion if you can wait for a little. The same energy – just patience is needed.

A few more things to understand. One is about the root causes of anger: Anything that comes as an obstruction to your desires creates anger. You cannot drop anger unless desires disappear. People want to drop anger, and they don’t understand that they are wanting to drop a symptom – anger is only a symptom. It simply shows that somewhere your desire has been obstructed: something is coming between you, your desire, and the object of your desire – hence the anger. Anger means, “I will destroy the obstruction!”

And another thing: never take any action in the mood when the negative emotion is possessing you; just wait. Don’t act when anger is uppermost, otherwise, you will repent, and you will create a chain of reactions to which there will be no end. Negativity provokes more negativity, anger brings more anger, hostility brings more hostility. Wait. When you are angry, this is the moment to meditate. Don’t waste this moment – anger is creating such great energy in you – it can destroy. But energy is neutral – the same energy that can destroy can be creative.

This is not repression. Osho is not saying to repress the negative, he is saying watch the negative. There is a tremendous difference. It is not about sitting on top of the negative, ignoring the negative, or doing something against it. It is not that when you are angry, you should smile – no; that smile would be false, ugly. Instead, close the door and be with your anger. There is no need to show it to anybody else. It is your business, it is your energy, it is your life. Keep looking. You will see that anger cannot be there forever – try it. If you don’t do anything, what will happen? Can anger hang there forever and ever? Nothing hangs forever. Happiness comes and goes, unhappiness comes and goes. Everything changes, nothing remains permanent. Anger has come – it will be going. Just wait. Let anger be there, but wait, watch.

Don’t repress and don’t act according to the anger, and soon you will see that your face is becoming softer, your eyes are becoming calmer, the energy is changing… Don’t force the change, wait for it to come on its own. This is the secret – this is learning to transform your poisons into nectar.

That is what the ancients called it – transforming your poisons into nectars. If you can change your greed, your anger, your fear, your lust – the poisons – with awareness, they transform into nectar. The same thing that was your disease, becomes your health. The same thing that was your bondage, becomes your freedom. All that is needed is to bring awareness to the dark parts of your being.

”Hiding Emotions Makes People Less Likable:Stop Saying I’m Fine”

I’d rather be honest and authentic and disappoint some people than to exhaust myself trying to keep up the façade of perfection.” ~Crystal Painetoo_many_thoughts_____by_marjol3in1977-d4xapih

In casual conversations, we are frequently asked, “How are you?” The most common response to this question is “I’m fine.” But what if you’re not “fine”? What do you say then?

I won’t lie: I drop the “F-bomb” every once in a while.

But it’s not the one you’re thinking of. I’m talking about the word “fine.”

Why is the word “fine” so awful, you might wonder? Well, this measly adjective is more than just that.

When that word is used in tangent with the contraction, you enter a new realm of danger, one that’s defined by passive-aggressive behaviour and emotional reluctance.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re defensive by nature or just a little closed off: You’ve probably used the classic phrase at least once.

12things_Main

Maybe it was to avoid a mushy emotional conversation, or maybe it was to see if your partner, friend or colleague could figure out the extent to which they screwed up on their own. Either way, dismissing your emotions to encompass this one little line can take its toll.

The words “I’m fine” can fester in your mind, building up little grievances until they all finally add up.

Apparently, it’s better to just tell people how you really feel than to give an offhand, polite response to a question like “How are you?”

Crying woman with a smilling mask in front of her face

Researchers found that when people masked their feelings—even if they were trying to avoid sharing negative emotions with others—they were perceived as unpleasant, distant, less extroverted, and less likeable. In other words, putting on a happy face and trying not to dump your bad mood on your partner, friends or coworkers might actually backfire. So don’t do this, What people would rather hear? The truth. Imagine that! So instead of just saying “I’m fine,” you might want to try “Eh, I’ve been better.”

“It’s been a rough day” and “Not my finest hour” would work too. It might take some getting used to, but it can improve relationships between you and those around you. It might help benefit your mood too: Researchers found that holding back negative feelings only made participants more upset, and those who did this reported less satisfaction with their social life and a tougher time getting close to others.

”What I Feel’ Do You Feel The Same”

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world
but then I thought, there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do
I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too.
well, I hope that if you are out there you read this and know that yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” 
― Rebecca Katherine Martin

There are so many feelings to name. Try coming up with some of your own.

No matter how you feel — good or bad — it’s healthy to put your feelings into words. Talking about feelings helps us feel close to people who care. It helps us feel better when we’re sad or scared.

Putting feelings into words helps us use self-control when we feel mad or upset. If your little brother took something of yours, you can say, “Hey, I’m annoyed that you took that without asking me. Next time, please ask.” No need to get into a big fight over it. Just say how you feel and why without yelling.

whatdoyoufeel230w_0

Know Your Feelings

It’s easier to talk about your feelings if you know how you feel and whyThink of the name for how you feel. (Let’s say you feel nervous.)

  • Think of why you feel that way. (Let’s say you are nervous because you have a spelling test tomorrow.)
  • Put them together into words. (Say to yourself, “I feel nervous about my spelling test tomorrow.”)
  • If you don’t know why you feel a certain way, you can still talk about it. You can say, “I feel upset, but I don’t know why.”

feel_free_by_cagataymetin

Pick Someone to Talk to

A parent, grandparent, or a friend can be a good person to talk to. It’s easier than you think. You can start by going to the person and saying, “Can we talk for a minute?” Then say how you feel and why.

Let the other person listen. Maybe they will give you advice. Or say something kind. Maybe they will help you laugh, or give you a hug. Or say, “Don’t worry, I’ll help you study your spelling words.” Just saying how you feel and why helps you start to feel better. It helps to know you are not alone with a problem or worry.

Tips-to-destress-and-feel-happy

Talk About Feelings Any Time

”So he tasted the deep pain that is reserved only for the strong, just as he had tasted for a little while the deep happiness.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, All the Sad Young Men

You don’t have to wait for a big problem to talk about your feelings. You can say how you feel any time. It’s a good thing to practice.

Talking about feelings doesn’t have to be a big talk. You can make a short and simple comment. Like this:

  • “Dad, I’m really glad we’re having pizza tonight! Thanks!”
  • “I’m excited about the game tonight. I think the coach will let me start.”
  • “I’m so relieved because I did really well on my math test!”
  • “I felt so awkward when I asked pretty women to the dance, and I was so happy when she said yes!”

You don’t have to talk about every feeling you have. But noticing your feelings and saying how you feel and why is good practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Talking about your feelings is a healthy way to express them. And when you have difficult feelings you need to talk over, you’ll be ready.