Exercise: Letting Go of Everyday Upsetting Emotions
© Excerpt taken from How to Love Yourself in Less Than 50 Years by Marese Hickey 2016, All rights reserved.
Here is a technique for letting go of everyday upsetting emotions such as guilt, shame or anger. (Remember that if there is trauma involved, it is best to go to a trained therapist for help.) The next time you feel any of these emotions, try the following approach:
- Take a deep, full breath and let it out slowly. (We often stop breathing when we feel an emotion strongly.)
- Close your eyes.
- Find out where in your body you are feeling the emotion. Do an internal scan, looking for tension or tightness in the head, throat, chest, abdomen, shoulders or back. These are the usual areas where strong emotions are stored.
- Use one word to name what you are feeling, e.g. I feel it in my chest, and it is guilt.
- On a scale of one to ten, where one is feeling okay and ten is an intense level of guilt, allow a number to arise. E.g. seven.
- Do not judge your feeling. Simply allow yourself to feel it fully, exactly as it is.
- Keep breathing in and out as you focus on the feeling.
- It will start to lessen. Stay with it until it is down to level zero or one and notice how your chest feels now.
- Now get up and move around, and do something that needs to be done. Also, drink plenty of water as releasing stuck feelings is a little like doing a body detox.
The 3 Top Ways To Tell If You Are Stressed
- You feel a knot in your stomach. This can happen when you think of something upsetting, or it can be there all the time if the stress is chronic.
- You are short-tempered and irritable especially with close family. You may make a big effort not to be snappy with co-workers or customers, but it leaks out when you are with family. Then you feel guilty for being ratty which in turn makes you more stressed.
- Your sleep has become disrupted. You have difficulty either getting asleep, staying asleep or wake up unrefreshed even after seven hours sleep.
3 Top Tips to Reduce Your Stress Right Now
- Take deep abdominal breaths as this triggers the Relaxation Response, the opposite of the Stress Response.
- Switch off your phone, and go for a walk in the fresh air. Keep your attention on where you are as you walk. This reduces the whirl of stressful thoughts. In turn, it then creates a space of time where your creative mind can help you produce solutions to reduce your stress. Keep it simple. Choose one of the simple solutions and implement it today. Taking action puts you back in charge. Feeling in charge reduces stress.
- Reduce your caffeine intake as it mimics the release of the stress hormone in your body. Life can be stressful enough without throwing coals on the fire! Keep hydrated with water or chamomile tea instead, as when we are stressed, we become dehydrated – which triggers a stress alert.