Feelings Are Not Tigers

When we feel an uncomfortable emotion, our brain sets off the alarm to tell us there is DANGER! As in, “There’s a tiger behind us that wants to eat us!” It does this so we can react quickly. However, we very rarely encounter danger like this in our every day lives, so it’s not useful to just react to our emotions. The problem is that since we realize it’s not usually helpful to react to our emotions we tend to suppress them. When you suppress them, it’s like holding a beach ball under the water. You can only do it so long until it explodes out of the water. A lot of us then come to the misconception that feeling our emotions causes explosions, so we suppress them even more.

What to do instead?? Just allow the emotion. Just feel it. Relax into it. Relax your body and give it time. There are many ways to do this:

One way is to describe the emotion in your body.

Another way is to imagine you’re watching yourself in a movie. What do you look like when you’re just feeling frustrated while you help your kids with their homework, but you’re not reacting to your frustration? What does a person look like who is feeling discouraged while they type up their work assignment, but is just feeling discouraged, not reacting to it or suppressing it? They’re just doing what they’re doing in a more subdued way.

One more way to just allow the emotion is to imagine it as water that is being poured into the crown of your head and the only way it can get out of your body is through your toes. Every time you suppress it, it’s like squeezing the way shut so it can’t get through. Sometimes though it can be a lot of water coming at once, and maybe it’s really tight as it’s going through. It may feel really uncomfortable, but you know you have to just let it slide or it will back up and be more painful, or it will stay around a lot longer, so you have to just feel the discomfort as it moves through your body until it can exit through your toes.

What way makes the most sense to you? Leave a message and let me know.