How to release difficult emotions is actually an invitation to give yourself permission to love and accept yourself right where you are at in the difficult emotion. A negative memory creates a disruption in our body’s energy field and results in a negative emotion.
When we feel slammed by life whether that be from an unexpected episodic event like job loss, chronic illness or loss of a loved one the intense emotions are often highlighted in the container of peace on earth, good will to men. Because this season embodies so many memories and for some very heart breaking memories, we often find ourselves paralyzed by a flood of difficult emotions in spite of all the twinkling lights and peace filled lyrics that surround us.
Stress is the power we give to outside circumstance to define our worth, value and capability. As soon as we label an event or situation as threatening to our wellbeing, our body gets involved quickly some of the most common symptoms that take center stage are:
- Muscle tension
- Change of appetite
- Upset stomach
- Teeth grinding
- Disrupted sleep
- Inability to focus and stay on task
- Chest pain or tension/Difficulty breathing
The light of our awareness or high noticing when it comes to our unique manifestation of stress immediately offers an opportunity to shift our perceptions; conclusions; assumptions and judgments that fuel the monkey mind. As quickly as possible when we become aware that we are stressed by tuning into our body’s signal, we shine the light of our presence into the situation giving us an opportunity to identify and adjust our perceptions. We forget that we are the director of our dramas in life. Too often we cast ourselves as the lead role.
Get off the stage so that you can observe what is really happening and where you can shift your attention from the problem to solutions. The world is full of creative solutions it is simply our perceptions that block our ability to tune into them. For example, when I was diagnosed with advanced cancer one week prior to my final divorce court date I had a choice of response to the situation. At first, I threw myself on the ground screaming and crying out to God for help. As soon as I shifted my attention from the problem to possible solutions I regained my confidence in my ability to rise above the trauma. We are not our struggle unless we choose to be. As my 10-year-old son said as he found me crying in my room over the loss of my hair: “Mommy, don’t cry…your soul still has hair.” One piece of resurrected information has the ability to shift our perspective in the moment and calm the stress response.
When we are stuck with a sudden bout of stress, how can we reframe our thinking and turn the negative into a positive?
Let’s face it, life does not always show up the way we want it to. Our greatest place of empowerment lies in our ability to hold our own personal field in spite of the antics that take place in our near field.
Our personal field consists of our choice of response to situations. It is everything that resides inside our interior castle: our connection with the Holy Spirit, our perceptions, conclusions, assumptions and judgments about life. We are the director in the personal field or the landlord of our thoughts, this is the space of free will, by your choice of perspective (assumptions, conclusions and judgments) you direct how your body will respond…in fight, flight freeze OR in creative choices and solution based responses. You get to choose if life is for you or against you in your personal field.
Your near field consists of your relationships with those around you…those situations that exist outside of your personal field. This is where your choice of response manifests outside of you. For example, if I am driving on the road and someone cuts me off in my near field and I choose to take a deep breath, keep my internal lights ON and thank God for protection my choice of response to do so resides in my personal field. I could also choose to react from a “lights-off” or animal planet space and scream, curse and flip off the person who cut me off which always results in more cortisol (stress hormone) in the body, not to mention triggering the inflammatory response.
There are 2 questions you can ask yourself when you find that you are faced with a life POP UP that could potentially spin you into an emotional down spiral:
- Is this REAL or IMAGINED? Much of what we allow to spin us out of inner peace and confidence never even happens. For example…is it a story you are assuming into existence which is void of fact? Resist the urge to cast yourself as the main character in dramas that have not even occurred.
- Is this MINE or SOMEONE ELSE’S? This question gives you the pause needed to determine if what is happening is directly correlated to you or is it someone else’s learning opportunity. For example, you are driving down the road and look down at your phone only to find yourself smashing into the car in front of you. Is this situation a result of something you did? Yes, it is. Once you have determined it is yours the next step is to implement effective strategies and action steps to move you in a positive direction. If on the other hand, you speak up at a meeting and share your perspective about a situation and a co-worker strongly disagrees in a belittling tone of voice, this lesson belongs to your co-worker (the “someone else”). Your greatest strength in this situation lies in your ability to maintain your own personal field rather than allowing the unhealthy behavior of your co-worker spin you into a stress storm…which too often ends up on animal planet. Breathe deeply, tap on your thymus, located two inches down from the U-shaped dip at the base of your neck and hold your personal energy field. Remember, the definition of energy is your capacity for action, even if the action is to honor your truth in a calm and confident manner.
Observe when your body gets involved by tugging your emotional responses to life below the line and dumping cortisol into your system. When that happens, step back, breathe deeply and ask yourself: Is this real or imagined? Is it mine or someone else’s? If it is real and it is mine what strategy can I implement to move me in a positive direction that honors the person I am committed to being?
A very dear friend and colleague recently shared with me a reflection she wrote in the middle of her unexpected storm that she is moving through in her life and with her permission I am including it in this blog post. Keep in mind that nothing thrives in a state of war, as you give yourself permission to feel any and every emotion without judgement you free yourself to embrace the current of life which will pull you though into calm waters once again:
“Today marks the 40th day since November 1, 2017. I mark this day because in some religions there was a great flood. The 40 day flood. And on the 40th day, the rain and the winds calmed, marking a new beginning. I have cried for 40 days and experienced the five stages of grief. Today, marks the last day.
Denial, i didnt want to believe this was happening. It wasn’t happening. Denial is a default emotion.
Anger, the most dangerous of all stages, because it is the most fluid. It has the ability to weave through all of the stages, with the exception of acceptance.
Bargaining, the second default stage because this is where we become stuck. In this stage, we accept the poor behavior and treatment of others. It is the liar that tells you that your instincts are wrong.
Depression. This is the stage that determines your strength. Work through it and be honest. If you do not forgive right away, know that it is okay. Allow depression to only have a short span because like mold if it stays in darkness it grows and becomes chronic. So shine a light on it. Allow others to see your depression to help you come into the light. Cry and cry a lot to release the anger and pain. Remember to let others help you through it.
Acceptance. This happens when you least expect it. You wake up one morning not thinking about the other stages because unknowingly while you were in denial, angry, bargaining, and depressed, you had devised a plan and had put it into meaningful action all along.” – M. Holland
Dear God, fill the empty spaces with courage, power and love this season in the hearts of all who grieve and have experienced loss, for you are close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit.
Support Resource: We are not meant to walk this journey alone: