How do you process your emotions? Do you try to ignore or push them away, maybe you talk to someone about how you feel (usually this can show up as venting), or do you sit down with your favorite comfort food?
These might provide immediate relief or distraction, but in the long-term they probably didn’t create the change you’d like. And if we don’t know how to process the less intense emotions, what do we do when it feels BIG?
Sometimes when we don’t process our emotions they can build up and become overwhelming. Other times, if we are loaded up with a lot or work, or have been sick we haven’t been able to deal with emotions as they come up. Or we’ve avoided emotions. It becomes a habit that’s out of our awareness. Often, we’ve been taught to suppress our emotions. Some of us have also learned avoidance or tried to jump to feeling better without acknowledging and processing our emotions.
Sometimes we want instant gratification aka distraction by reaching for the cookie or scrolling on our device. Maybe we don’t even know what we’re feeling. If the emotions are too overwhelming we can become so stressed that our thinking ability to solve emotional responses shuts off.
Eventually, we can become so backlogged with unprocessed emotions that we might feel broken. That’s when we usually reach out for help, preferably from a licensed therapist/practitioner. A therapist can teach how to identify cognitive distortions, how to work through thoughts and emotions.
People who know how to process emotions are happier, have better relationships, and better overall health.
I’m going to do a series of blogs to share some skills I have learned to help process emotions. I’m not perfect, but definitely better. I hope what I share helps you navigate and heal.