There are few of us who would deny that we could be more skilled at managing our emotions but what are the practical steps of being with our emotions mindfully?
Here are five simple stages that you can work through when you are feeling challenged by an emotional state that would normally throw you off your game. Work through these stages in your own silent meditation. Simply close your eyes and contemplate each step in turn.
Accept that your emotional state is calling for your attention. The longer you resist the call, the more challenging the emotion can become. When we accept our emotions they get their hearing and continue their journey. Think of emotions as the weather of your consciousness.
When sadness visits, if it meets no resistance, it will flow straight through allowing the next emotional front to move in. Like the weather, emotion doesn’t always make sense and isn’t always convenient. The only thing you can do is to be with what is.
Welcome the experiential feeling of the emotion into your mind, body and consciousness. Even if it is only for a moment, and if your circumstances allow, let the emotion to have its way with you. Get curious and discover what this emotion is all about. Really feel it.
Really feeling our emotions often leads to spontaneous expression, a wail, some tears, a smile, laughter or sigh. Give yourself some privacy and move the emotion into expression. Use your body, your voice. Do not worry if the expression is neither pretty or cool. If you have a creative practice, take lingering emotions into your artwork, music or journal. If you don’t – do a doodle.
4. Be Courageous
Some emotions feel too big and too painful to experience. At this point you need to tap into your courage. You have been through many challenges in life. You will also get through this one. Have faith in yourself.
Emotions bring wisdom. What is the lesson of this emotional state? Are you being called into a different decision? Are you feeling the outcome of a choice you made previously. Is there some aspect of your life you need to take better care of? However, resist the urge to predict and make meaning out of every emotion. Some emotions are simply passing through.