As we sit in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent events of the Black Lives Matters movement, it is hard to deny that our lives are forever changed. It is equally difficult to ignore the feelings and emotions we experience when we face a world filled with uncertainty and grief.
Now, more than ever, it is important to be mindful of the world around us; to acknowledge how this affects us at a personal level and to honour and express those emotions. When we experience feelings that are heavy, dark and negative in nature we can sometimes want to suppress them because facing those feelings is too much to handle among everything else. But when we hold those feelings inside we are releasing negative energy. Our energetic vibration impacts not only ourselves but all those around us.
Releasing our emotions in a way that is kind and compassionate to ourselves and others is not just healthy for body, mind and spirit, it is also self-care. We show love when we acknowledge and express our emotions, good and bad.
Self-awareness is the first step to mindfully release emotions that are difficult to work through. This step is largely connected to honesty. When you can be truthful with yourself about what you are feeling you can then proceed to release those emotions. Sometimes people will experience shame or guilt for feeling angry, scared, depressed, anxious or overwhelmed. This is a normal reaction to have but don’t allow it to prevent you from freely expressing what you feel. Be compassionate with yourself, and ask yourself honestly what is causing you to feel this way.
This leads us to self-expression. We are all entitled to our feelings; however, we should be mindful with the manner in which we express them. Negative emotions are ones we tend to feel quite strongly and sometimes, without thinking about it, release in a way that may be hurtful to ourselves and others. Don’t punish yourself if you have done this. We are human and make mistakes. But the next time you feel angry or sad take a moment to pause and ask yourself “what would be the best way for me to express how I’m feeling that is helpful and not destructive?”
How we express and release our emotions is different for everyone. Some might go for a run, while another might write in a journal. Some might find a private, quiet spot to have a good cry, while another might find a trusted friend to talk things through. The key to your self-expression actually links back to your self-awareness; it is in the knowledge of what feels right and therapeutic for you.
There are, however, two things I would challenge you to try the next time you feel scared, angry, sad, depressed, anxious or overwhelmed. The first is to just breathe. It’s so simple, yet so powerfully effective. And the best part is you can do this anywhere. You don’t have to wait until you have the chance to find a quiet and private spot to do this. Connecting to your breath is something you can do anywhere, anytime, and it’s as simple as taking a deep inhale, past your chest and right down into your belly, and then to slowly exhale and release that air. Try it right now. Notice how your body and mind change with just one deep, cleansing breath. Giving yourself the time to breathe through your emotions will help give you clarity on the next step you can take to release those feelings. You might even find that your next step is to continue to sit there and breathe.
The second thing I challenge you to try is to meditate. Now, if you’re reading this and you are thinking “but I don’t know how to meditate,” well, guess what? If you’ve read up until this point you just learned how. Connecting to your breath is a form of meditation, and one of the simplest ways, in my honest opinion. So the next time you feel dark and heavy emotions, find a quiet spot, sit or lay down comfortably, take deep, cleansing breaths and think about how you are feeling. Ask yourself about the cause of those emotions and allow yourself to release and let go. Honour what comes up for you in the process. If you feel like crying, let the tears flow. The stillness of this moment can be incredibly powerful and therapeutic. Yet, if the stillness is not enough, acknowledge it and take the next course of action to continue releasing your emotions. Perhaps it will look like a yoga practice, going for a jog or talking things through with someone. The important thing to remember is to do this with kindness and compassion.
To be self-aware is to be mindful. Practicing self-expression is the process for releasing our emotions, and the act of doing so is a form of self-care.
Self-awareness, self-expression and self-care. These three intertwine in a beautiful and therapeutic way to release our emotions and to let go of what no longer serves us. When we take the time to do this regularly, we open ourselves to receiving more positivity in our lives.