So you are upset or anxious, or overexcited, now what? Here are your potential options to rebalance your emotions.
Generally, we have 3 options while dealing with our emotions: option 1 turn towards our emotions, option 2 turn away from our emotions, option 3 express our emotions.
Option 1: Turn towards our emotions
1A: Work through our emotions with emotion comforting
This is what I am most familiar with. I expect myself or someone else to comfort me: saying kind words, letting me know everything is going to be okay, echoing my opinions. It works sometimes, but other times my ego gets in the way. My ego will tell endless stories and interpretations of the situation. This option usually takes solid half an hour or even longer and usually involves a lot of crying.
1B: Work though our emotions using logic
This is analyzing your way out of the situation. Maybe self-correcting some thinking traps. Proposing alternative understanding and solutions.
There is nothing wrong with it, but it does not work on me when I, a highly sensitive person, am in full emotional tsunami mode. I usually use this option after I have calmed down to notice what might have triggered me this time.
1C: work through our emotions using body calming techniques
This is the whole reason why I want to write this post.
When we are off balance emotionally, we perceive whatever situation we are in as a real threat. We are in full-on fight or flight mode, that is potentially why emotional comforting and logic might not work.
Calm our body down can let the brain and nerve systems know, okay we are safe. Then it’s much easier for our logic and emotion to bridge again.
Some ways to calm our body down:
Exhale twice as long as we inhale. This is one simple exercise we can do to almost immediately calm our nerve system. Long exhale was only reserved for our ancestors who successfully escaped danger, thus it sends signals to our body: we are safe.
A great 2:1 breathing resource https://youtu.be/Lysn2Zoio8Y
Shaking & Dancing
Shake all the excess energy and cortisol out. This approach has long been used by shamanic traditions. In modern days, somatic healing of trauma also has adopted this practice. If you have seen animals in the wild, after they have been chased by predators, they shake in their safe place. That is how they rebalance. Thus shaking & dancing can help us rebalance too.
Additional resource on shaking and dancing https://cmbm.org/thetransformation/resources/
Exercise and taking a bath also work great as ways to calm down our nerves and rebalance ourselves.
1d: work through our emotions using inner body
I just re-listened to the chapter on the inner body from ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckart Tole.
He stated that when we are facing a trigger, before our mind can go on to project all emotions and stories, turn all our consciousness into our inner body. This way we can reconnect with the peacefulness of the present moment.
I tested it out this morning while checking my canker sore. I tend to over-worry about every little body symptoms I have. I go on and on googling about possible diseases and always wind up thinking: oh what if this is cancer.
This morning I remembered Eckart Tole’s advice. I took a deep breath. Pay attention to my hand, then my entire upper body, then my abdomen, then my lower body. That is how you sense your inner body.
Magically all anxious thoughts disappeared. Maybe it is true that the mind and ego cannot exist in the present moment. By tuning into our inner body and the present moment, we short circuit all the crazy stories our minds could have told us.
Option 2: Turn away from our emotions.
This is when we use shows, games, shopping, and other entertainment to get away from our emotions a bit. There is nothing wrong with it as long as we are aware of what we are doing. Sometimes it is even necessary to move away from our emotions after we have fully explored them.
Unfortunately, this option does not work for me usually. Even with a short escape from my emotions, they come back tenfold.
Option 3: Express our emotions
Finally, we can always express our emotions to ourselves with journaling or express our emotions to other people. Calling for help is a natural build in response to threat and danger.
The key here is I am my emotional first responder. If I start to expect others to fill that role for me, I tend to get more upset if external help is not available immediately.
Meditation is a great container to let our emotions out in a safe way.
Hopefully, this blog post can help you rebalance. Remember it is okay to have bad days and we have lots of options and resources to face them.