Hey there. How is it going? It's Friday. I hope everybody had a fantastic week and are looking forward to whatever the weekend has to offer. I'm excited, I get to go to a conference on physician wellbeing this weekend that I'm really excited about and then we're going to a St. Patrick's Day parade so I'm pretty excited for what's coming up. And I'm also excited to share with you a little bit of content today on emotions. So that is what we're going to be talking about. And the reason we're going to talk about emotions is because many of us have a history of stuffing down our emotions and not really tuning into them or just letting them be. We often see unpleasant emotions as a bad thing and what I'm going to encourage you to do is shift your perspective to just that they're unpleasant. Some of them are unpleasant and they are such an important thing to learn how to feel and how to experience.

I'll share that for myself, when I learned the concept of feeling my emotions, it was a really important shift for me. So I went from trying to avoid my emotions to really just being willing to sit with them and for me, what that created, was really an opportunity to understand more about my thoughts and what was on my mind and one of the biggest benefits is that it actually helped to relieve a lot of my anxiety. So some of you may be like me in that we carry a bit of anxious energy and oftentimes that is related to not really experiencing all of our emotion and so that's what we're gonna talk about today. So really simply put, when we talk about what emotions are, is that they are a vibration in our body; they are physical sensations that are produced by brain activity.

Emotions have a wide variety of names and so some of the basic emotions are things like sadness, anger, happiness, surprise, joy, wellbeing, content, these are different names for the emotions that we feel and emotions are generated in response to our thinking and to our environment and many of us, when we were younger and as we've continued to grow up, have been taught not to feel our emotions. We're often met with how can we make ourselves feel better or if we see little kids get hurt we say, "No, you're okay." We really try to move past unpleasant emotions fairly quickly. We try to solve it, we try to move on from it and this is actually something that can be pretty harmful for us. And so the reason that it is a problem or a challenge to numb our emotions is that emotions are actually experienced in contrast.

So what I mean by that is our life is lived in contrast. The reason that we understand and enjoy pleasant emotion is because they have felt the discomfort of unpleasant emotion. So the reason we can experience joy and happiness is because we understand the contrast of sadness and hurt. And when we allow ourselves to feel more of the unpleasant emotion then we also open ourselves up to feel more of our pleasant emotion. This is actually very counterintuitive for most people because the truth is in order to feel more joy and more happiness we have to allow more of the unpleasant emotion as well. I think that's a really important reason for allowing ourselves to feel our emotion. We are unable to selectively numb. So if we numb one emotion we numb all of the emotions.

And the other concern that we have with avoiding unpleasant emotion is that when we push our emotions down and we try to avoid them, that actually can lead to more suffering and to greater experience of stress and anxiety. So that's like I had said, I had not been really feeling my emotions and part of that presented in the form of anxiety and irritability. We actually end up having a bit more suffering when we don't feel our emotions. And when we suffer we often try to self medicate with things like food or alcohol or shopping or social media and sometimes those things actually make us feel worse in the long run. So when we're trying to kind of get a quick fix for whatever the emotion is it can actually lead to more stress and more unpleasant emotion moving forward.

Okay, so it really is important to feel our emotions and a couple of the benefits to feeling our emotions, so those are kind of the negative things about not feeling them, but some of the other benefits of feeling all of our emotions, the whole range of human emotion, is that we do, like I already said, get to experience more happiness, but we also can then start to sort out some of our wants and needs and thoughts and concerns when we're willing to allow our emotion, then we have greater access to the thoughts that are actually creating those emotions to begin with. And other thing that may seem counterintuitive is that when we allow our emotions instead of stuffing them down, we are less likely to act out on our emotions in a destructive way. So if we're just able to allow some anger then we're actually less likely to lash out or yell or do something that may end up being destructive. So allowing can help you to avoid that.

And then the other thing is they have found that people who do allow their emotions enjoy more strength and more resilience, okay? So I see there's a lot of value. As I already mentioned, I have personally experienced a lot of value in learning to experience my emotions. One thing that I recognize for me is that I didn't really like to allow sadness and so that was one that I would try to kind of push down and often lived them beneath that anxiety. So a lot of value in feeling your emotions and so let me just go over a few of my basic steps on how you can actually do that. So you may think, "Okay, great. I'll stop stuffing and I'll start feeling my emotion but how am I actually gonna do that?" So there are a few steps and I will say the steps are simple but learning to do isn't necessarily easy so be gentle with yourself. This may take some practice.

The first step is just to notice that you are experiencing an emotion and so I like to do that just by giving it a name. So I just name whatever emotion I'm having and I just let it be there. Then I will actually describe it. So instead of trying to get away from it, I actually go into it and get really curious about it and I think, "Okay, how is this actually showing up? What does this feel like in my body?" And so if it's something like sadness I might feel some pressure in my chest, I might feel a bit of a pit in my stomach and I notice that I'm holding my breath. So you're just gonna go through and you think about, how would I describe this? What does this look like? What does it physically feel like in my body? And then I just kind of let it be there and I just feel kind of curious about it and I just pay attention to it until I can feel it shift.

And once it shifts, I might take a deep breath and let it out and kind of feel the emotion move out. Now, emotions come like waves so when we feel an emotion and we let it pass, we might notice that it then comes again and that's okay. It doesn't mean that you did it wrong. It doesn't mean that you're not learning how to do it. It's just completely normal. Until our neurotransmitters kind of balance back out we will feel some waves of the emotion. And so just getting really aware, just being willing to sit with it, just being present with it, can help you experience it and just be with it. And it does take practice. I'd encourage you to kind of try recognizing emotion at multiple times throughout the day. When I work with my clients, we often do this for a couple of weeks, we'll practice this skill before we move into the next thing.

So it's totally normal, if it takes some time and I just want to say thank you for watching and I wish you all of the best with trying this. I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know what stood out for you or what you found helpful and if you have any experience with feeling your own emotions, I'd love to hear that as well.

I hope everybody has a great weekend and I will talk to you again next week. Thanks. Bye!

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