I’d like you to try an exercise that I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. Take a moment to just notice how you feel. Try not to judge yourself for feeling this way, and do not attempt to change your emotions. Simply notice them. You may be tired, stressed and anxious. Maybe you feel cool and calm or powerful and energized. Or you may just feel numb or worn down.
I picture the word that best describes my current state written out across a black background whenever I do this exercise. It may or may not be written in hot pink bubble lettering, and it may or may not have shiny silver stardust scattered around it. Okay, it does and I’m quite fond of it. Imagining the word ‘angry’ this way does not change my mood, but it does take the edge off.
Write It Down
Once you have a good grasp of which emotions you are feeling (write them down if you like), tell yourself that you are allowed to feel this way. You’re a human who is allowed to feel emotions. As a human, you will not always be content, grateful, delighted, etc… You can read my post about how it’s okay to feel broken sometimes here.
That is ok.
I’m not suggesting that we allow ourselves to wallow in our misery. But for those of us who tend to unintentionally fixate on our thoughts/ feelings, attempting to ‘force stop’ them is often futile.
I have found it more effective to acknowledge defeating and discouraging emotions and give myself permission to feel them. Oddly enough, by relinquishing control it becomes easier to reframe a situation (look at it in a different light) or shift your thoughts to something more positive.
It can be helpful to reflect on why you feel this way. Try setting aside a few moments later in the day to hopefully gain some clarity if you do not feel able to at the moment.
There is no one tool or technique that works for everyone every time. It’s a continuous journey to learn ways to change our mindset.
I would love to make this a conversation. Leave your thoughts below!