I recently came across a really helpful mantra for managing intense, overwhelming emotions. In its simplest form, the mantra is:
1. Notice what you’re feeling when emotions are stirred. Don’t ignore what is happening inside your head and body. Don’t deny, or suppress, or trivialize your feelings. They are wanting your attention. They deserve to be acknowledged. They deserve to be seen. To be taken seriously.
You can do this by giving the emotion a name: “This is sorrow. This is sadness. This is anger. This is shame.”
2. Next, accept it’s your emotion. It’s your own personal reaction. The feeling is still yours, even if it has been triggered by a person, or a place, or an object, or a memory.
Also, remember there are no good or bad emotions. Our emotions simple are. There is nothing wrong with them.
You give them dignity, by accepting your emotions.
3. Check where you experience the emotions in your body. In your stomach? In your head? In your chest? In your feet? Also, keep checking in to see how this alters over time. Notice how the feelings change as they pass through your body.
Perhaps the feeling first presents as an adrenalin rush and then, immediately, you’re conscious of a racing heart. Perhaps it pulsates through your body … then it slowly dissipates … then you notice that your fingers and your toes are tingling.
There’s a pattern you can trace. What’s the sequence that’s repeated?
4. Stay with the emotions, and then ask yourself: Is there anything else you feel like doing – that could help? Do you feel you want to scream? Do you feel you want to cry? Can you, maybe, find a safe way of expressing what you’re feeling – so it doesn’t get repressed, or get trapped inside your body?
Working through this mantra is responding, not reacting. It can help you to recover, and prevent you getting sick.
“There is no one-size-fits-all template for healing; but there are steps that can be earned and practiced. Steps that each individual can weave together in his or her own way. Steps in the dance of freedom.” – Edith Eva Eger