Before learning 5 ways to regulate your emotions, lets start by mentioning that through the five senses, at least physically, you are feeling all the time. Whatever you touch, smell, hear, taste and see provides a physical experience for you. Emotions, though, could be thought of as a state of being. It has something to do with your non-physical reality. The physical and non-physical are connected because anytime you feel an emotion there will be a connection somewhere in your body.
For sake of discussion I will say that emotions like anger, sadness and fear are already inside and are waiting to be experienced. As the experiences of life happen, these emotions are revealed in the same way that a room looks a certain way, regardless of whether the lights are on or not. What happens next is your relationship with it; whether you choose to recognize, engage or respond to that emotion.
Also, for sake of discussion, I will say that the majority of emotion is memory. It’s the past that you are coming in contact with, more than the present thing that brought it forward. Emotions are memories of experiences, of the past both positive and negative, that are seeking an outlet in you. The emotions that we struggle with, that we wish didn’t have, are the ones related to the memories of unmet desires and unprocessed suffering
You are born with desire and the results of your efforts to get those desires met determines how you “feel” about your life. Saying you only want happy feelings and not unhappy feelings is to deny the purpose of those unprocessed experiences. Those feelings and experiences are driving you toward your life’s purpose. When you consciously approach your emotional life, you are taking responsibility for the facts of your life and the purpose for the things that happen in it.
“Feel your feelings” is the most essential and basic message of both of my books and the power of transformation through Effiji Breathwork. Allowing emotion will change you but there is daily work you can do to regulate your emotions so you aren’t unnecessarily suffering by recycling and repeating unhealthy feelings. Learning that sadness can turn into joy, doubt can turn into awe, anger can turn into creativity are just a few of the great rewards of working with and learning to regulate your emotional life.
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5 Ways to Regulate your Emotions
Acceptance Won't Hurt You
Allowing your feelings will make you stronger. There is extra suffering when you are resisting your emotions. Allow them as much as you can. As they say, that which you resist persists. Allowing the difficult emotions like frustration, irritation, sadness, rage, anger, disappointment… creates movement and flow. That will change the intensity of those feelings over time.
Stop The Storytelling
Disincline from believing that the power of your mind can manage difficult emotions. They can’t. The mind can’t tell truth from fiction. Your mind likes to tell stories and most of what you feel is a memory of things that you don’t remember consciously. Your analysis is bound to miss the important reasons for its appearance. When you start to tell a story to explain or manage your feelings, you are basically lying to yourself as a buffer to feeling it.
Unknowingly when you start to explain your emotions to yourself and others, while you think you are releasing it, you are actually reenforcing the resistance and moving away from the power that the emotion has to keep changing. The key is flow and the mind likes to control so using your mind is not a good strategy.
Follow Your Breath
Emotions have a lifespan. That lifespan is twenty breaths. Breath is life as we say at Effiji. If you go to your breath you will go away from the mind’s control and the breath will allow the energy of emotions to move through you. Try it! Emotions will not last longer than 20 breaths if you follow your breath.
Being relaxed and allowing yourself to breathe is the most powerful medicine to regulate emotion. As breath flows so will emotions. Emotions are the weather, not the plains they pass over.
Make a list of things you like to do
When we are upset we often obsess and pick wrong activities like screen time and intoxicants like food, drink and drugs. Make a list of ten things you like to do that you can always do when you are emotional. Pick one and do it.
Sit on a three legged stool
Guidance, practice and life. These are three legs to a successful relationship with your emotions.
1) Get a guide.
Have an objective third party that you can go to when you begin to make meaning out of your suffering. Yes, you have to do your own work, it’s your life but don’t do it on your own. Let someone who can be objective help you to go deeper and understand why you feel the way you do. Thinking you don’t need guidance or support is actually the arrogance of one’s ego. Being able to ask for and receive help is a sign of letting go of control and allowing yourself your emotions.
2) Have a daily practice.
Driving down beautiful highway 1 just south of San Francisco you can see mountains on one side and the pacific ocean on the other. Every year the water will come up and hit the side of the mountain and slowly erode the rock. The water softens the rock. That is the purpose of daily practice. You are the rock. Emotion is water. The more consistent you are with your practice the more open, happy and flowing your life will be. Let your guide give you a practice.
3) Take your work out into the world.
Once you begin to practice and have the support of your guide go back out into life and practice that very thing in relationships and test out your capacity to feel.
Every one of these 5 ways to regulate your emotions is a way to harness and direct the flow of our emotions.
Being emotional is a fact of life. We have to deal with it. Regulating your emotions is a key to navigating life and the relationships in it.