Our emotions can often hold us prisoner. When we’re angry, our bellies tighten, our hearts pound and nasty thoughts can haunt us for hours. Our emotions release chemicals into our bloodstream that pull our energies and focus away from things that matter.
While we may be tempted to label strong emotions the “enemy”, refusing to acknowledge them will simply postpone their negative impact as they continue to return and wreak havoc.
Emotions don’t simply dissipate because they carry important information. Research shows that you need to be able to both name the emotions you experience and describe them with accuracy to navigate through life with any degree of success.
This is where meditation can help.
By learning to slow down, observe, identify and respond appropriately, instead of just reacting, we can learn to recognize that anger is sometimes a signal that an expectation we hold is no longer viable.
When you’re able to understand your emotions and the message they convey, you’ll be able to respond to your circumstances in ways that allow you to exist in harmony with the world around you, as well as with yourself.
The following are 2 simple steps to follow to make friends with your emotions.
Step 1: welcome your emotion(s).
Close your eyes and envision your environment in detail: the air, the smells and the sensations. Now imagine your emotion walking into that environment. Go with the first image that comes into your mind - what does your emotion look like? What shape is it? Do they resemble a human? How old are they?
Imagine now your emotion sitting a comfortable distance away from you. Politely acknowledge them and engage them in conversation. Ask them this one simple question: what action are you asking me to take in my life?
Now take some time to think about that suggestion.
Step 2: welcome opposite emotions.
Every emotion has its opposite.
When you experience only one-half of a complete pair, you remain stuck in a one-sided experience. You can only break free when you open yourself to the full range of emotions.
Repeat the exercise in Step 1 - envision your environment and the emotion that first comes into it. When you’re ready, envision its opposite stepping into the same environment. Once they’re both settled comfortably, move back and forth between them. Observe how your body feels as you do so. You should experience a general sense of wellbeing.
Put these suggestions into practice whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions. Remember, emotions are messengers tasked with the delivery of information about action(s) that may empower you in your life.
There are always two sides to a story, however, and just as it takes time to strengthen your muscles, your emotional resilience also needs progressive training to be able to handle the full spectrum of human emotions.