Anyone else having big swirling emotions this week?
Yesterday I felt like someone had thrown a dark, wool army blanket over my head. I felt heavy and down. Sadness and something else I was unable to name hung on to my being like a perfume I couldn’t wash off.
My immediate reaction was to stay busy: texting friends, looking to see if there was any caramel corn left in the pantry, searching for something good to watch on Netflix and even meditating– which can be another form of distraction for me. Finally, I remembered my brother Kert’s wise words. He’d challenge me in my 30’s saying, “Why are you always so busy? What is it exactly that you’re trying not to feel?”
Feeling my brother’s presence, I put down the TV remote and stopped all my activity. Placing my hands on my heart, I closed my eyes, took some deep breaths and allowed all the big feels to rise to the surface. Breathing and naming and then acknowledging each emotion, I stayed with them, like a surfer who is riding the waves.
Later, I felt better. Not happy, but more integrated. More connected to myself. And more free.
Brain scientist and author of My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor shared that if we allow ourselves to fully embody a strong emotion (and not run from it), it never lasts more than a minute and a half. She describes our ability to regulate that neurological process as the 90-second rule and shares, “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens; any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.” Choosing to stay in an emotional loop. Interesting.
For so many years, I ran from strong feelings and tears. I think I was afraid that if I “went there,” I would be swallowed whole by them. Or dragged to the bottom of the ocean floor to drown.
Now I know the opposite is true and honestly, all of my breakthroughs were preceded by a breakdown of some sort. This week consider:
- On a scale of 1-10 (10 being fantastic), how am I feeling right now? Do I notice how my emotions shift throughout the day (like the weather)?
- When a strong feeling arises, do I create space to let it in and be with it (or do I run for the hills or comfort food)?
- What would happen if I stopped distracting myself from uncomfortable feelings and started sitting with them, perhaps asking them if they have a message to share?
Find a trusted friend and share your responses. “Emotional pain cannot kill you, but running from it can. Allow. Embrace. Let yourself feel. Let yourself heal.” Vironika Tugaleva, author, The Love Mindset. This week I encourage you to be curious. Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with those you love. And perhaps play with the idea that to truly be free, we have to feel to heal.
SEEKING SUPPORT FOR YOURSELF OR YOUR TEAM? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- Consider hiring me to create a workshop to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, energized and focused. For 20+ years I’ve been speaking to professionals worldwide on how to find balance through practicing the art/science of self-care. Whether it’s an in-person workshop, keynote or via a Zoom session, I’d love to discuss how I can support your organization. Learn more here.
- Could you use a day-away focused on rest and renewal? I’m still planning on facilitating a one-day retreat for 10 women in a beautiful hill country setting (social distancing) this summer. Want to join us? Email info at reneetrudeau dot com with the subject: “YES! Summer self-renewal retreats!” and I’ll reach out to let you know when this is scheduled. Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by balanced living author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art and science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 18-year-old son. More on Renee here.