How to deal with frequent strong emotional reactions.
If you experience strong emotional reactions that rear their head repeatedly, if you’re tired of having outbursts, maybe battling with yourself or others on a regular basis, this 3 min read could interest you.
I’ll describe the cycle of events in your body and mind, it’s like a loop that gets stuck on repeat.
We’ll then go through a step by step process that you can use for any difficult emotions, or repeating thoughts patterns.
There are no limits to where, when or with whom you can use this subtle and powerful process. It’s discreet.
Its not nice and not helpful to experience difficult, strong emotions regularly. They often cause us to have knee jerk reactions because we don’t know how to tame the lion.
This means they then get in the way of us living a life that we truly desire.
We don’t like how we feel, or the resulting responses that happen so we turn to self medicating. This is a way of numbing them out, we do this via drink, food, sex, smoking, shopping, scrolling…..
Get the picture?
When we numb out strong emotional reactions we can’t change them, so we don’t process and eliminate the problem. It then lies dormant until the next time it’s triggered. And it escalates too.
Here’s an example
- Thought: “I am underpaid and not valued for the contribution I make.”
- Feeling: Anger, which has calcified over time into resentment and an attitude of entitlement.
- The thought is, “I’m underpaid and not valued.”
- The feeling is Anger.
- This physical manifestation of anger is heat in the face, heart racing, jaw tightening.
- Instead of allowing the feeling to flow through the body, in this specific example they use the energy of the feeling to fuel their belief (their thought) that they’re right about not being valued or adequately compensated.
Emotions => E Motion => Energy in motion.
Energy has to be directed somewhere.
At the moment they are using it to find evidence to prove they’re right, and as a consequence become more angry (feeling) which produces more heat, more tightness, and a faster heart rate.
The feeling isn’t being acknowledged, instead it is used as fuel, and the energy is funnelled back into righteousness (thought) about how they’ve been mistreated financially for years. They solidify this belief by comparing themselves to others who they believe have made far less of a contribution.
This anger is now moving in the direction of rage (feeling) and they fantasise (thought) about telling their boss off publicly and storming out of the office.
Can you see how this can easily happen?
Any context, at home or a relationship. Let’s say you’re the only one that empties the dishwasher. Where do your thoughts go, how does your body feel, and what do you do about it?
Let me take you through this process to interrupt the loop that is stuck.
Step 1 – Feel it
Step 2 – Question it
Step 3 – Flip it
- Feel it
Feel the feelings in your body when they are uncomfortable.
We tend to ignore them and numb them out. It resolves nothing.
Think the thought and allow the feelings to come up, stay with them. Its a form of energy and it needs to go somewhere. Follow it as it moves, verbalise the sensations, where they are, what they feel like, where they are moving to or from (check who might be around, give yourself some privacy)
They will dissipate.
Stay focused until it’s worked its way through.
Lets keep with the above example
The thought “I’m underpaid and undervalued” followed by the feeling of anger and the sensations of tightness, heat and elevated pulse, the choice is now to override the impulse to let the mind runaway to find evidence for those unhelpful beliefs, and instead keep the attention on the body.
They can rest their awareness on the heat in their chest or the tightness in their jaw or heart beating.
Simply noticing the physical sensations. Not stopping them or pushing them out, not to ignore them or feed them.
Welcoming them instead.
Gratitude goes a long way too. Thanking your body for communicating so readily with you, and thanking yourself for deciding to listen.
Observing the sensations as they move on and dissipate.
Sometimes when the feelings are particularly intense one might move (stomping feet, pounding a pillow) and even make a sound to match the sensation.
The key to interrupting the loop is to stay in, and with the body until the body is done feeling the feeling.
- Question it
When settled with the feelings, meaning the energy has transmuted, let’s question the thought, (belief) that went with the problem.
Ask yourself is it true?
Do I know it to be 100% truth?
How is having this through working out for me?
Choose curiosity over being right or wrong
“Im underpaid and undervalued”
Is it true that they should value me more?
Can I know for certain that they should value me more?
When I believe that thought, how do I react?
If I couldn’t ever believe that thought who would I be?
- Flip it
This is about finding evidence for how the opposites are as true or truer than the belief. Because that old belief has been causing pain, so lets discover something better instead.
My boss and my company value me.
I could value me more.
I could value my boss and my company more.
If these inquiries are done seriously with a desire to see the truth fully the thought structure will unwind and the stuck difficult emotions that had been causing physical symptoms will release.
We may need to choose to break the loop several times, to repeat feeling the feeling and examining the thought. Remember some of these reactions have been going on a long time so it may take a few cycles of feeling and freeing, The results are an internal freedom.
Suffering can and will end.
Life can be an amazing experience if we choose it. In the middle of suffering and joy is our mind deciding what it will be. Sounds weird but when you pause, we can consider how our mindset determines our experience.
Delve deeper into this choice of mindset, or attitude, with an incredible, inspiring and thought provoking read
Man’s search for meaning
Viktor Frankl – Book Summary here
If you take yourself through the stuck loop release, message me and let me know how you got on.
Feel free to share it with others.
We are already whole and complete, by doing this kind of practice we integrate parts of us that got disconnected through fear. Don’t worry about the why or how it disconnected. Strong emotional reactions can be seen as a gift, a gift to reconnect with more of ourselves.
Simply let it come back in again and know you are perfect, born that way and your belief in yourself leads the way to joy, ease and a life that is in flow.