In a recent newsletter I talked about how to directly deal with our emotions rather than self sabotaging ourselves to avoid them. One of the techniques I offered was free associative writing to drill down to our unmet needs. (if you missed it, let me know and I’ll send it to you!)
Of course, some emotions are more difficult to manage than others.
“Zooming Out” is another very effective way to take some of the ‘charge’ off of these experiences.
When we are caught up in our emotions (anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, etc) we tend to narrow our thoughts to focus only on what is bothering us. We lose the ability to see outside the current moment.
And because we are all wired to want to feel good, we either fixate on the issue or distract ourselves with sabotage.
“Zooming Out” is about finding a context for your feelings that includes much more than what you are currently experiencing.
The first step is to acknowledge you’re feeling something uncomfortable. Maybe you can identify exactly what it is but that isn’t even really necessary for this exercise. Just acknowledging what’s going on is the first step.
Then, you notice if there is a physical sensation going along with your emotions. Maybe your stomach is in knots, you head is pounding, you’re starting to cry…just notice how this emotion is actually physically feeling to you.
And finally, look around the room or the space you are in. Take in your surroundings. Notice you are a person, having a feeling, in a body, in this space. What else is happening at this moment?
For example, let’s say I’m feeling lonely at the moment and I’ve identified it as a lump in my chest. If I were to “Zoom Out” right now, here is what else I would notice:
Helicopters flying over head
My cat napping in a deep sleep
Heavy winds outside
The sun is shining
I can hear a wind chime
And…my feet are cold (as usual!)
By noticing all these things, the charge of feeling lonely is lessened. I’m feeling what I’m feeling but in the context of a bigger picture. Me feeling lonely is not the ONLY thing going on right now,
As always, I recommend starting small and ideally with something not too serious. Start with a mild irritation. Like being stuck in traffic, or a barking dog…something that has hardly any charge to it. Notice how it’s making you feel (slightly irritated?) and notice it in your body. Then take in what else is going on despite the traffic or the dog. And allow yourself to feel how you’re feeling in the context of the world around you. What ELSE is going on?
Obviously, this technique won’t solve your problems or take your emotions away. But it WILL put you in a much better headspace to make decisions on what you could do with the situation at hand. And at the same time, manage our moods in a way that is self supportive.
If this is an issue for you, please get in touch and we’ll work on this together. Getting support is always a good idea.