Feelings are great. Until they're not. Some emotions are difficult to manage so we try to avoid them. Yet, there is no way to be completely without our feelings. Ignoring them can even make their effect on us worse! Read on to find out how to carry painful emotions in ways that help.
Yep. It might seem like the opposite thing to do when our feelings are making us so uncomfortable. Though calling out your emotions and naming them can lessen their negative effect. It doesn't have to be a 5 page journal entry, either. Just writing down the emotion can provide some release.
It can help to write out what you believe has caused the emotion - perhaps an interaction with someone, or a stressor that you're facing. Being as specific as you can will help you "clear the air" inside so you can move toward problem-solving and coping effectively. Knowing how to express our deepest emotions can help us ask for what we need in relationships and create more self-care options for ourselves.
There is no right or wrong way to journal about your feelings. Just let it flow!
Did you know that some people estimate there are approximately 30,000 different emotions? No wonder we don't want to feel them all! But, research shows that the more well-versed in describing our emotions, the easier they become to manage. Don't think you have that many? Go to Google and search "emotion wheel". You'll find several guides that help you identify those feelings.
If you've struggled to identify feelings in the past, I recommend checking in with one of the wheels you find in your Google search at least twice a week. Pick out 3 feelings you believe you've felt in that week. Soon, you'll see how much easier it is to identify them and develop coping strategies. It will even help you express yourself to others more effectively!
If coping with your emotions even after you name them feels like a challenge, it can help to talk with a trusted person in your life about how you're feeling. A close friend, a spouse, a chaplain, or even a licensed therapist can help you learn to process and manage your feelings.
Don't be afraid to "sit with" your emotional experiences. Increasing awareness of your emotional world can give you a sense of mastery over what otherwise feels like an intruder to your insides.
Emotions can be quite uncomfortable, but they don't have to spook you as much as you think!
Life can unfold in unexpected ways, leaving us with much emotional pain. There are negative patterns that develop which can be altered for the better if we know where to look. Because of that, I am always searching for material that might help in someone's healing journey. If you're interested in reading more on ways to heal from shame, recover from relational wounds, and improve your overall quality of life, check out what's on my bookshelf.
Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity, Shirley P. Glass, Ph.D. - a great read for anyone affected by infidelity.
Helping Her Heal, Douglas Weiss, Ph.D. - When your spouse has decided to move toward forgiveness and reconciliation after a betrayal at your hand, knowing how to support her (or him) can play a powerful part in healing for the relationship. This book can give you much needed guidance.
Grateful for the Fight: Using Inner Conflict to Transform Yourself and Your Relationships, Viola Neufeld - Find out how you can address the conflicts within yourself to achieve personal growth and improve the quality of your relationships.
Just One Thing, Rick Hanson, Ph.D. - Neuroscientist, Dr. Rick Hanson, has compiled 52 exercises for helping us remain mindful and gain peace in our lives.
Hold Me Tight, Seven Conversations for a LifeTime of Love, Dr. Sue Johnson - Couples in all stages of their relationship will benefit from reading this book on how to create meaningful attachments.
Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve, Lewis B. Smedes - Learning how to remove the hardness of resentment from our hearts is the most powerful step toward healthy living!
I Thought It Was Just Me, Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame, Brene Brown - Shame is the most difficult human experience we encounter. This book may help you begin healing and free yourself from the burden of shame.
Running On Empty: Overcoming Your Childhood Emotional Neglect, Jonice Webb, Ph.D. - Dr. Webb writes about a powerful, yet often unnoticed adverse childhood effect that leaves many adults wondering why their lives seem to lack meaning, believe they should have accomplished more, or just don't feel right. If you have been wondering why you can be so accomplished in certain areas, yet feel completely unraveled in others, this book might be for you.
Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jung's Psychology, by June Singer, Ph.D. - Having studied the great Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, June Singer was able to articulate in the most clear way, the underlying essence of one's 'personhood'. Want to know what many therapists hold in awareness as we help you live your best lives? Though quite an undertaking, this book is rich with explanation into what Carl Jung knew to be at the core of our humanness.
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, by Parker J. Palmer - a master teacher and leader, Parker Palmer wrote this book about finding the way into our purpose in life. He uses his own journey through depression and vocational confusion as an example of how we create a sense of meaning in our lives.
Where Is God When It Hurts? A Comforting, Healing Guide for Coping with Hard Times, Philip Yancey - This book does a beautiful job of helping us understand the answer to this common question.
The Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck - Another classic from my graduate school days. An in-depth and profound look at this journey of being human.
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