For many of us, we are in a time of transition. The loss of a job, a loved one, a home or a relationship is never easy. Even if your transition was a conscious choice, it will almost always bring emotional turbulence and discomfort. This discomfort can feel constricting and tight in your body. It can stop the flow of inner peace and happiness.

So, what is the best way to deal with this emotional roller coaster? You have a choice. You can try to control it by denying, numbing and/or fighting it, or you can accept it, feel it and let it run its course.

Many of us are afraid of feeling. We’ve learned to numb out with drugs and alcohol, work, exercise, T.V. or sex (just to name a few), so we won’t feel vulnerable to the heartache of sadness or the intensity of anger. Yet, if it it’s not released, where does this anxiety, sadness or anger go, and what is the impact of not allowing your feelings to authentically flow?

If not appropriately released, stress, anxiety and sadness can cause physical problems.

Below are five tips to help you honor and release your constrictive emotions so you can transition easily and expand into trust, hope and optimism again.

  1. Watch for “false” or “toxic” emotions such as self-pity, blame, victim, guilt, jealousy or martyr. Reaching for these false emotions is a form of numbing out and will only take you deeper into the drama. Don’t buy into the drama or story! Like an eddy in a river, your story takes you out of the flow of life and keeps you stuck, spinning. It is not a very powerful place and will leave you feeling stuck, disempowered and frustrated.
  2. Instead of judging your emotions and running from them, accept and be with them. Just as you would hold and support a small child who is afraid of the “spook-in-the-night”, compassionately and lovingly be there with yourself. Continue to authentically feel, without going into dialog or story. Continue to watch for “false emotions” such as self-pity, victim, blame and martyr. Compassionately be there for yourself and ride the wave of the emotion. Trust the process and allow it to unfold.
  3. Feel and release. If you’re angry, safely feel and release your anger. If you’re sad, cry. By feeling and expressing your authentic emotions, you will release them, making room for other emotions to appear. If you stuff them out of fear or shame, they will not go away. Unless you allow them to cleanly release, they will remain inside, creating darker emotions and increased tension, often causing “dis-ease,” sickness, accidents, or other symptoms of stress and imbalance. As you continue to feel, you release each emotion and go onto another emotion. Eventually, you begin to feel lighter and lighter.
  4. Trust the experience. You will come out the other end, in a much better place. Over time, you’ll be able to find the wisdom or gift in each experience. When you are ready, ask yourself, “What was the learning for me in this experience?” “How am I a better person because of it?” “What has this taught me?” “What is the gift?”
  5. Pay attention to and regularly take care of your emotional health. There are many ways to support your emotional health. Quieting your mind and body with regular meditation, exercise, or journal writing can be helpful for releasing emotions and regulating emotional health. Talking with a professional or a loving family member or friend can help to give clarity around what is really going on inside. Remember, a balanced life is key. A healthy diet, plenty of sleep and taking regular time out for yourself is always your best medicine.

Remember, you get to choose whether these emotions come through you or at you. The next time you feel the shadow and darkness of a stressful situation, invite the emotion in. Take the time to slow down, drop out of your head and into your body and ask, “What am I feeling?”

Like a wave, let each emotion pass through you. Be willing to feel the authentic emotion, allow it to flow and release. This is true emotional freedom and one of the best things you can do for your well-being and for your life.

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