Feelings, we often want to live without them because we FEEL like it is a struggle to live with them. Do you ever FEEL, notice the word, like your feelings are in control of your life and your decisions? Anxious, sad, frustrated, angry, feelings can impact your health and your relationships mightily, especially when you feel out-of-control. Maybe you struggle with frustration at home or in your workplace. Or maybe you feel anxious whenever you need to attend a meeting with other people. Maybe you feel sad and upset because of things you can't control going on in the world around you. Sometimes, you might not even be able to pinpoint the source of your uneasiness. But you simply can’t shake the feelings.
You are not at the mercy of your feelings if you realize that feelings aren’t facts, they are simply information for you to analyze. Most us do not take much time discovering who we are, what are our strengths and what are our weaknesses. Often we are caught in a loop of stimulus-response. What you need is to put a box in-between that stimulus and your auto-pilot response. That is the only way you give yourself CHOICE when it comes to your feelings and how much power they have over you. Here are a few techniques that can help you manage your feelings and even gain more insight into YOU and why you are feeling them so intensely:
I know, you have heard this before but sometimes, you simply need to move your thoughts from ruminating in your head to a blank sheet of paper, your tablet or phone. Then you can reread your feelings and give them the proper thought and consideration that can help you find a peaceful resolution. The next time you feel anxious, first move the feeling into your frontal cortex where you can begin to understand it and yourself better. You can pour your heart out to yourself. What better person to listen to how you are feeling than YOU.
As you describe how you are feeling to yourself, you can better process the often chaotic information bouncing around in your head. Once you have it where you can read and analyze it, you are better equipped to create solutions to the problems that have been stalling all of your energy. Give yourself a real understanding of what thoughts are making you happy and bring you peace and what thoughts are disturbing you and making you unhappy.
What are Your Negative Thought Patterns?
We all have them but most of us don’t take the time to reflect and understand them. If you choose to write in a journal to work through your anxious, frustrated or angry feelings, you may notice that there is a loop, or a particular continuous negative thought that replays itself over and over in your head. This is called rumination. When we ruminate, we are not in our frontal cortex or solution and creative thinking part of our brain. Instead of spinning in painful and stressful thoughts, get them in a place where you can examine and analyze them and challenge yourself to be solution oriented, or talk to someone you trust to help you process through them.
Once you identify these negative loops, you have a choice to shift your attention to something else. If ruminating ever helped you solve anything, it might be worth your time, but sadly, rumination is not a friend of solution oriented thinking. Solution oriented thinking is creative, interesting and challenging, but it also makes more of us than simply FEELING our overwhelming feelings over and over.
Exercise Moving your body releases endorphins – these chemicals are proven mood-boosters, and they always help lessen the impact of overwhelming feelings. But exercising your brain works wonders too. That is why spending more time actually analyzing and understanding the narratives that create overwhelming feelings, gives you a feeling of power and personal control over them, instead of your feelings controlling you. All forms of exercise can help to take your mind off of your struggles, but exercise in nature, like taking a walk, or bike ride alters the way you look at the world. Nothing replaces a breath of fresh air. But you can also try forms of exercise like yoga, pilates, walking and cycling to help support your mental health.
What do You Love to Do? At times, boredom can is our worst enemy. When you don’t have much going on, especially anything that we enjoy, it’s easy to get lost begin to ruminate, and feel depressed and weighted down. What do you love to do? What would happen if you simply did more things that you LOVE to do? Sometimes, just staying occupied and entertained can help you find some temporary relief from ruminating on your anxious, frustrated or depressed feelings.
I love to read. If you do too, curling up with a good novel or interesting book will take your mind away from your ruminations. Music can be wonderful as well. Put on your favorite music and dance away your negative or anxious feelings. If you have a creative hobby like painting, drawing, sculpting, throwing pots or gardening they can serve as marvelous outlets for your ruminations.
Talk with Someone You Trust
If you can’t work through your overwhelming anxiety or fears on your own, consider having a conversation with someone you trust. Many of us are external processors which simply means we process our thoughts and feelings better when we talk about them with someone else. When your negative feelings overwhelm you, call up a trusted friend or book an appointment with a counselor to vent and process. Many times our friends provide words of wisdom and help us center ourselves. They can help us understand why our worries and fears may be unfounded. Or they might have a nugget of information that makes all the difference.
What Causes You to Feel the Way You Do? There are no classes on how to better understand ourselves and our feelings. If you would like to learn more about YOU, your personality tendencies, both good and bad you might want to look into taking a personality test that gives you a great deal of information all about what makes you uniquely you. Since you are the most important tool for allowing yourself to feel happy or sad, why not get a much better understanding of YOU?
Get the Answers You Need to Help You Solve Your Biggest Problems Like I mentioned above, there aren’t even high school or college classes that help us understand how to successfully navigate our relationships. You might want to look at some online, easy to take and utilize relationship and personality training to better equip you for the inevitable challenges in your life. RelationshipHelp.com is a great resource for articles and information. Also, RelationshipHelpAtHome.com is a comprehensive relationship program that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. The more tools you have in your relationship toolbox, the better equipped you are to fix things when you feel they are broken.
Relationship and Personality Expert, Dawn Billings is the author of over 15 books and hundreds of articles. Dawn is the Executive Director of RelationshipHelpResort.com and holds couples private intensive retreats at the resort in Arizona, and is also creator and the author of the RelationshipHelpAtHome.com online relationship programs.
To learn more visit RelationshipHelp.com Dawn is also the author and architect of the Primary Colors Relationship Personality Insight Tools. To learn more about Dawn visit: DawnBillingsConsultations.com