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Forget Woosaa – 5 Real Hacks for Dealing With Your Emotions

Kerry Fantelli
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How often have we heard “Don’t cry!” when we are in the midst of sobbing? How many times has someone told us not to be sad, angry, or upset when those are the exact emotions that we are feeling?
 
Tears, sorrow, grief, sadness, anger – sadly, we have all been told that we should hide these emotions. Don’t cry in front of anyone. Don’t show any emotions, because emotions make us weak. Or they make those around us uncomfortable . . .
 
How many of us have heard these statements? When did it become not okay to feel? Why is it acceptable to express some emotions, but not others, and why are some emotions okay for some people, and not for others?
 
Our society has ingrained in most of us that it is not masculine to show emotions.
 
“Be a man!” is often what is said if a male shows any sorrow, especially tears. If a woman cries, she’s just being emotional. But if a man cries, somehow he’s ‘less of a man.’ It is okay to show anger if you are a man. If you are woman, well not as much. You might be classified as a “bitch.”
 
How did emotions become something determined by society as being acceptable or unacceptable to express based on what your gender is?
 
Maybe we should all challenge societal norms and learn how to be comfortable with the wide array of our emotions.
 
These days we often see articles or blog posts with “ways to be happy” or “how to be positive and release negativity.” These are all great, but realistically, we cannot be happy all the time.
 

Maybe we should all challenge societal norms and learn how to be comfortable with the wide array of our emotions.

 
While staying positive and finding happiness from within is important, if we lean too heavily towards always striving for that ‘perfect happy’ all the time, we begin to send ourselves a damaging message: Don’t be upset!
 
Over time, we might learn to quiet what we need to express. Eventually we may even lose touch with our emotions altogether and become disconnected from them.
 
“Feeling your emotions means you may be tempted to show them,” says Deborah L. Cox, PhD, an associate professor of counseling at Missouri State University and co-author of The Anger Advantage. “Many simply stopped experiencing anger as anger: It became depression or frustration – emotions ‘safer’ to express.”
 

 
You don’t have to hide your feelings. Learning how to ride out your moods will allow you to pass through them with greater ease and ability.
 
Approaching emotions by either stuffing them down, or showing an alternative feeling, inhibits us from the full expression of our true feelings. When we articulate how we really feel, we naturally release what may be creating unpleasantness for us. If we are being honest and clear with others, this will in turn strengthen our relationships.
 
If you approach anything with denial, it will eventually surface. We all know this. We have all experienced it too, to some degree. You can only shove something under the proverbial rug for so long . . .
 

You don’t have to hide your feelings. Learning how to ride out your moods will allow you to pass through them with greater ease and ability.

 

Here are 5 simple steps to express your feelings authentically and empower the way you live your life:

 

1. Identify your feelings

Perhaps you have been ignoring your feelings for so long you have a hard time even accessing or understanding them. It may feel awkward to express how you feel. You may be out of practice or feel unsafe verbalizing your feelings.
 
The first step is naming your feelings and understanding where they come from. Someone says something that upsets you, but do you understand what that upset is really about? Understanding where the distress is rooted is a great way to process and work through whatever comes up for you.
 
Are you feeling angry, jealous or envious? When aggravated emotions like these surface, examine them. What history or memories are being triggered? If you are not sure how to do this or have trouble identifying your feelings, working with a therapist is always a great way to learn these skills.
 

2. FEEL your feelings

Express them too. Recognize that what you are feeling today is temporary. You may as well feel it now, rather than save it up for later. Our emotions can stick around and snowball into larger issues if we don’t feel them and acknowledge them in the now.
 
When you are angry, it is okay to be angry. A lot of us have also learned the reflexive “I am okay! I am not mad” statements when we are actually seething. We’re not saying that we should all go around flipping the bird or yelling at one another. What I am saying is, feel your feelings – don’t deny them. Allow yourself a good cry! Or a good venting session with a trusted friend or family member.

 
You’ve got to feel it to heal it.
 
If you cannot verbally express your feelings, write them down in a mindfulness journal. Write down the way you feel so the feelings can leave your body. Holding on to unexpressed emotions leads to a host of problems. Over time, the levels of stress in the body start to wear away at you and your immune system. Unexpressed feelings can certainly lead to feeling unwell and illness.
 

You’ve got to feel it to heal it.

 

3. Get creative

Draw, paint, play an instrument . . . whatever your creative outlet is . . . to release what you may not be able to express with your voice. Maybe you like to sing in the shower, or work with your hands. Adult coloring books have become extremely popular and have been shown to be very calming and meditative.
 
Creative outlets naturally calm us and allow us to focus with better clarity. Often, we can have a much clearer insight into our moods after we release some of the physical feelings that are riding on top of the emotional ones.
 

4. Find a physical outlet

Dance with abandon in your living room. Try a yoga or a spin class. Go for a run or a walk in the woods. Maybe you have been saying that you are going to wake up early to start that running program, but keep putting it off. Now is the time!
 
Get some physical energy out – getting your heartrate up and your blood flowing is an easy and effective way to decrease stress and release feel-good chemicals in the brain, which will in turn release some emotional energy in a healthy and productive way.
 

5. Talk it out

Find a trustworthy friend or a family member that you know will just listen to you and not try to ‘fix’ you. Allow yourself to feel safe enough to express all that you are feeling. When you share with someone and they listen and allow you to express, it will open the door to your healing and the letting go of that emotion.
 
If this is not something that you feel inclined to do, practice talking it aloud with yourself. You can do this in a quiet space, outdoors alone, or standing in front of a mirror. Have a good talk with yourself and see how that empties what feels overflowing and overwhelming.
 
As the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said, “Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.”
 
The next time you are triggered, try to identify the emotion and where it is coming from.
 

As the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said, “Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.”

 
Allow yourself to feel what you really feel. We don’t always need to be smiling or happy. That is simply not real every second of every day. Instead, be real. Be you and be gentle with all the emotions that you may be feeling.
 
As we have all heard, the only way out is through. When you feel your feelings fully, and more importantly address and express them, it naturally creates space for healing. Those around you will understand you when you share what’s in your heart and mind, and with that understanding can come a deeper relationship and safety zone for the full expanse for your future emotions.
 

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Kerry Fantelli

Kerry Fantelli is a medical professional, yoga practitioner, and instructor. Recently, Kerry has been reading her writing after her yoga classes and also has shared poems with her patients that she hopes may find solace in her words. She is a healer and loves to write with the theme of helping, easing, and understanding emotions. She lives in Burlington, Vermont with her beautiful daughter, Thabitha, who is a source of constant inspiration.

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