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Best Bits of Burnout Part II: Feeling all the feelings

We have to feel to heal

One major lesson for me was that feelings are meant to be felt. Did you know this? To heal, we must learn to feel all of our feelings, not to push them away or get rid of or avoid them. We have to learn to get better at feeling, before we can start feeling better. What a revelation!

Such a paradigm shift. I had been pushing down fear, anger, emotional pain, hurt and all the rest in favour of being a happy, jolly, all-is-well-type-a-gal. Learning that my feelings would not kill me, nor would they drive me crazy and they would in fact, LEAVE OF THEIR OWN ACCORD when I was done with them, was completely news to me.

Done and dusted in 90 seconds

Scientists tell me (Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor for example) that our emotions (energy in motion), if allowed to be felt, will actually leave our system after 90 seconds. That doesn’t sound right, does it? Apparently it is our thoughts that bring up the emotion again and again, perpetuating those uncomfortable feelings. If we just leave the thoughts and feel into the feeling, it would be processed out of our body with in a minute and half. IMAGINE!

What we can do

Now, I have not gotten as efficient as that yet! But knowing it is possible is definitely something to work towards, and it gives me something to experiment with. If you fancy having a go, next time you are majorly upset, you can try pausing for a moment (Ha! That is a challenge in itself!) and asking yourself:

What thoughts are perpetuating this feeling?

What can I do about the thoughts that are causing this bother? (Let them go, replace them with the opposite kind of thought...or ask Is that thought true or just made up?)

Give yourself a moment to hear what comes up, just allow any answers to come to you.

Also, give those feelings some space and validation:

What am I feeling? Where do I feel it in my body?

You can use some reassuring language to help the body process those feelings: that does sound (scary, hurtful, depressing, upsetting, fill in the blank), that is totally understandable, tell me more….

It all comes back to self love

The act of showing interest in yourself and making space to talk about it as if you were your own best friend is truly an act of self love and it can be very healing.

Worry is just made up

In my experience, the thoughts that perpetuate uncomfortable feelings don’t tend to be true. They are usually some kind of story that my brain has concocted to make sense of things or protect me from alleged bigger dangers. Worry is just your brain making stuff up to scare you. Your brain makes you think it is preparing you for some disaster. But you are not better prepared, you just get to suffer before anything bad has actually happened. You cannot prevent having feelings by preparing for them beforehand. You can however decide not to suffer for made up reasons! This is what I am practising nowadays.

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I LOVE this. Leaning into feelings was a revelation to me as well, thank you for introducing me to it. I think it takes a lot of practice but the knowledge that it's actually ok to let yourself feel is really powerful.

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