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  • Sabrina Trobak

The "E" Word...Emotions.

How does a person feel emotions?  Emotions are created by thoughts.  A person has a thought, which then creates a chemical reaction which a person feels physically in his/her body.  Some people talk about not thinking about anything, but still feeling emotion.  It is important to remember that most of a person’s thoughts are subconscious, meaning people aren’t aware of many of their thoughts.  These subconscious thoughts can also create emotion.

Shutting Emotions Off

Most people don’t allow themselves to feel emotions.  Instead they push the emotions down in order to avoid feeling them.  People can use a variety of strategies to push down the emotion; anything used to distract from feeling the emotion.  Common strategies to avoid feeling emotions are alcohol, drugs, shopping, avoiding, self harm, control, TV, music, cell phones, video games, stealing, keeping busy etc.  Basically anything can be used as a way to distract and stop feeling emotion.

A very common tool people use to stop feeling emotion, is actually an emotion…ANGER.  Anger is an emotion but it is also a strategy used to stop feeling other emotions.  Our society has accepted anger as an emotion so for many people, they are more comfortable expressing anger.  People feel anger in order to stop feeling other emotions.  Anger is not a stand alone emotion, anger suppresses other emotions.  Common emotions under anger are:  sad, lonely, fear, unloved, vulnerable, anxiety, rejection, abandoned, powerless, unheard, not good enough, not valued, not belonging etc.  People don’t like to feel these emotions, so when they do feel these emotions, they switch to anger.  Anger overpowers these other emotions so the person feels angry rather than these other emotions.

Emotions aren’t Good or Bad.

Emotions aren’t good or bad nor are they right or wrong.  Emotions are just emotions.  The better a person gets at acknowledging emotions and then allowing him/herself to feel the emotions, the more empowered the person feels.

Most people spend most of their lives running from emotions, doing or not doing things in order to avoid feeling emotions.  But emotions are just that, emotions.  Once a person becomes ok to feel his/her emotions, his/her world opens up.  People are way more open to try new things, meet new people, challenge his/herself, step out fo the comfort zone.  Doing these things, creates emotions, so most people rarely try them because of fear of feeling these emotions.

Feeling emotions may not always be fun, but it is cathartic and people generally feel better, lighter, and have a a sense of relief when they allow themselves to feel 

their emotions.  Letting the emotion out can create more of a sense of balance in a person’s life.

All on or All off

A person cannot pick and choose the emotions he/she wants to feel and the emotions he/she doesn’t want to feel.  Feeling emotions is either on or off.  So if a person numbs emotions like unloved, fear, vulnerable, lonely etc, he/she is also numbing emotions like loved, joy, passion, contentment, pride etc.

How to start feeling emotion

Feeling emotion, after a life time of avoiding emotion can be overwhelming.  First, a person needs to start by acknowledging what emotion feels like physically in the body.  A person should start with the head and slowly work down the body acknowledging what the body is feeling like.  For example, head (is it racing, throbbing, aching etc), eyes (tears, burning, avoiding eye contact etc), mouth/throat (dry, lump in throat, metallic taste in back of mouth etc), neck/shoulders (tight, raised, achy etc), chest (heavy, tight, pressure on it etc), stomach (flip-flops, nausea, urge to go to bathroom etc), arms/hands (tight muscles, clenched fists, sweaty palms etc), legs/feet (curled toes, tapping leg, need to move etc).  Doing this allows a person to start to feel the emotion.  Next label it, decide what emotion it is.  Often it is more than one emotion.  Then just sit with the emotion for a while. Now you’re feeling the emotion!  This takes time and practice.

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