Episode 35: Feeling Anxious? Discover How to Process Your Emotions

Are you working through a lot of emotions right now?

Are you struggling with anxiety, stress, or feeling overwhelmed?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

In today’s episode, we dive into the powerful strategy of allowing, processing, and experiencing your emotions.

Learn this skill and you’ll not only calm your anxious nerves but also approach each day knowing you can handle anything.

Listen to the episode below and start feeling better now.

Prefer to read? No problem! Keep scrolling for the episode transcript below.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE!

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL DISCOVER…

  • The importance of feeling your emotions
  • My top strategy for allowing and processing your emotions
  • How to reduce your anxiety and start feeling better today

LINKS FROM THE PODCAST

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QUESTION:

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(Transcript) Feeling Anxious? Discover How to Process Your Emotions

Hey friends. It has been another week, huh? If you’re anything like me or my clients, there has been quite a bit of emotion involved. And in fact, today I want to talk about how to actually feel and allow these emotions that we’re experiencing.

Because what I’ve found over the past few weeks as I’ve worked with my clients and talked with you listeners over email and Instagram, is that for many of us, we are resisting our emotions. We are not actually experiencing the emotions that are coming up in our bodies. Instead, we’re pushing them away. And — as strange as this sounds — when we avoid our emotions this way, it often makes them feel worse. 

So today, we are going to spend some time exploring how we can feel our emotions. We are going to talk about allowing those emotions to be there. We are going to talk about how to feel them. And we’re going to talk about the fact that you are strong enough to feel any emotion. Emotions cannot hurt you. They may feel terrible. You may not want to feel them. But they can’t hurt you. 

Now, there are some of you out there thinking that you don’t need this podcast episode. You may be tempted to skip it and ignore this topic because it’s not focused specifically on productivity or goal setting. 

But I promise you – it is all related. 

And in fact, if you are a person who believes you don’t ever deal with negative emotions or that emotion doesn’t ever cause problems for you, it’s possible that you need to listen to this episode more than ever. Because it’s possible that you’re a pro at avoiding your emotions. 

So do yourself a favor and give this episode a shot. Because I’m going to actually walk you through the process of experiencing your emotions, which – if you simply do that on a regular basis – can relieve so much anxiety and pain and discomfort.

Now, over the past week or so, I’ve found that so many of us are not only feeling a lot of emotion due to our current circumstances right now, but we are also feeling so much emotion about feeling our emotions. We are judging ourselves for feeling a certain way. We are trying to avoid feeling certain ways. And this only increases the intensity of our emotions overall. 

And today we are going to talk about how to slow down. As I mentioned we’re going to explore how to experience these emotions. And we are going to talk about how to allow these emotions to run through our body with needing to act on them. 

And then next week we are going to explore how to take these emotions, we will choose whether or not we want to continue feeling them, and then decide deliberately how we want to move forward. 

So let’s start with how to actually understand and allow and experience these emotions in our bodies.

And let me explain what I mean here.

We are all feeling a lot of different emotions right now. Most of us are working through a lot of different thoughts about this new circumstance – Covid 19 – which is something none of us have had to deal with before. And because of this, our brains aren’t quite sure how to handle the situation. 

So our brains are offering us a whole bunch of different thoughts in an effort to make sense of what’s going on. They’re providing us with thoughts in an attempt to offer us protection and to work through the discomfort of the unknown.

And each of us is dealing with this in a different way. 

Some of us are feeling fear. Some of us are really stressed. Others are experiencing overwhelm and anxiety. Some of us are angry. Some of us are disappointed. And of course, there are a whole host of other emotions that are coming up for us as well.

Your Emotions Are Perfectly Normal

And as I keep reminding my clients, and myself, and anybody else that I’m coaching, whatever you are feeling right now is absolutely right. It is absolutely perfect and normal. You should be feeling exactly the way you’re feeling right now. 

Everything is right on track. And nothing has gone wrong here. You are a human experiencing human emotions. 

You are processing this new information that your brain probably hasn’t had to consider before. And if you are experiencing a wide range of strong emotions, this simply means you are human, with a brain, and your brain is working. So good news – you are absolutely normal. And it is absolutely expected that you are feeling these different emotions.

So take a deep breath  – right now – [breath] and know that whatever you’re feeling is exactly right.

Stop Telling Yourself You “Should” or “Shouldn’t”

And the reason why I bring this up first is because over the past week I’ve coached a lot of people who have shared thoughts about how they “should” or “shouldn’t” be feeling different emotions. 

Clients will say, “I know I’m probably blowing this out of proportion, and I shouldn’t be so frightened, but I am.” 

Or “I’m feeling so disappointed because this thing or that thing was canceled, but I know I shouldn’t be feeling disappointed. There are so many bigger problems going on in the world. People are suffering. I should not be feeling this way just because my trip was canceled. I should be looking at the bigger picture.” 

Or even statements like, “I know I shouldn’t be worried because I know it doesn’t help. I know that worrying is not going to make anything better, so I just shouldn’t be doing it. I should know better.”

And so many of us get stuck in the case of the shoulds. We shouldn’t be feeling anxious. We shouldn’t be frustrated. And we shouldn’t be scared. We should know better. We should be more worried. Or we should be less worried. Others should be more worried. Or others should be less worried.

You’re Making it More Difficult For Yourself

But here’s the deal. When you hear yourself using the word “should” in this way, and you keep using it over and over on yourself, you’re only making the situation worse. 

Let me explain what I mean here. 

When you’re feeling a negative emotion, and then you tell yourself you “shouldn’t” feel that way or you “should” know better, you’re not only experiencing the negative emotion, but you are also feeling negative for feeling negative. You’re piling negative emotions on top of one another. You feel bad. And then you beat yourself up for feeling bad, which feels even worse.

So if you’re feeling anxious, and then you’re thinking yourself, “I shouldn’t be feeling so anxious. I should be able to keep my emotions under control.” You’re not only feeling anxious, but you’re feeling awful for feeling anxious. 

What You’re Feeling Is Perfect

And let me just offer to you, that this practice is not helpful. And what’s more, it doesn’t make any sense. But so many of us do it all of the time. And the truth is, it just isn’t necessary. 

Because as I mentioned, whatever you’re feeling is perfect. Whatever you’re experiencing is exactly right. Because your brain is dealing with something new. It is dealing with something unfamiliar. And it is figuring it out.

So the first thing I really want to stress in this episode is this. Whatever it is that you’re feeling. Whatever the emotion is in your body, allow yourself to feel it. Allow the emotion to be in your body and don’t push it away. 

It’s Like a Beachball

Now, this can feel really challenging for people. Because a lot of us are used to pushing away emotion. A lot of us are used to fighting emotion. We push them away. We run from them. And the crazy thing is, that actually makes it worse. 

The way I like to think about this situation is that it’s like trying to hold a beachball underwater. You’ve tried to do that before, right? 

You can hold it down, and press it down, and keep it down, with all of your might. But eventually, you’re going to let it come back up. Eventually, it’s going to pop up through the surface. And the further down you hold it in the longer you hold it under the water, the stronger the resurfacing is going to be. Right? 

And the same is true with resisting your emotion. The harder you push it away, and the further you push it away, the stronger that return is going to be. And as I mentioned before, when you’re white-knuckling it, and you’re constantly pushing away those emotions, it usually feels worse than actually feeling the emotion. It feels worse than simply letting that beachball float beside you in the water.

Feel the Negative Emotion

But what if you allow yourself to experience that negative emotion? What if you actually felt it? What if you sat with that emotion, you notice where it sits in your body, and you felt it? It’s true that I might not feel great, but I promise you, it’s going to feel better than fighting it and resisting it.

So let’s talk about how to actually feel your emotions. I want to share with you my process. And I am going to do this by sharing how I have been feeling my own emotions over the last couple of weeks.

How to Feel and Process Your Emotions

Now the first important step in feeling your feelings is to let go of judgments and instead get curious. So rather than judging yourself for feeling whatever it is you’re feeling, instead, get curious. Instead of thinking, I shouldn’t be feeling this or I don’t want to feel this way. Instead, ask yourself, “what am I feeling?”

What Am I Feeling? Name the Emotion

What am I feeling in my body right now? And spend a little bit of time, get quiet, and answer that question. Name that feeling. Is it anxiety? Is it frustration? Are you feeling anger or disappointment? Name that feeling in your body. 

Locate the Emotion

Then, locate where you are feeling it in your body. So after you ask yourself, “what am I feeling right now?” Then ask yourself, “where am I feeling it?” Is it in your chest? Do you feel it in your back? Is it in your stomach? Do you feel the tension in your head or in your neck? Where is this feeling located in your body? Because remember, a feeling is literally a vibration in your body. 

Describe the Emotion

So take a moment, name the emotion, and then locate it in your body. Then, it’s time to describe the emotion. So ask yourself, “how does this feeling feel?” And then describe it. Is it heavy or light? Does it have a temperature? Is it hot or cold? Does it move fast or slow? Or does it stay in the same space? Does it have a texture? Does it have a color? Really slow down and answer these questions. 

And I know this might sound strange, but I promise you there’s a reason for it, and I’m going to explain that next.

How I Process Emotion

So I did this the other day when I was feeling a lot of anxiety. I had been spending too much time watching the news. I was taking in a lot of information through articles and emails and on the television and in my newsfeed, and I was allowing my thoughts to really get away from me. And I wasn’t doing enough coaching on myself.

And I was feeling a lot of anxiety because of those thoughts. I could feel myself getting increasingly more anxious. And when I recognized this was coming up, I paused. I stepped away from everything, and I got quiet. And rather than pushing away that anxiety. And rather than telling myself I shouldn’t be feeling anxious or I should know better. I instead got curious, and I felt my anxiety. And this is exactly what I did…

Feeling Anxiety

I said okay, this is anxiety. I am feeling anxious right now. 

Mostly, I feel the anxiety in my chest, but it also seems to be moving. I can feel the anxiety move outward to my arms and I can feel it running down my legs a little bit. 

For me, anxiety is a fast feeling. It moves quickly. But it anxiety also feels heavy in my body. And the heaviness is almost like a pressure in my chest. It is also more of a bright color. It’s like a bright orangish-red. And it passes quickly through my body. 

This is anxiety. I can feel this. I can experience this. And I know that I’m safe right now in this moment.

And by getting curious and taking the time to really examine what I was feeling, I stopped pushing it away. I stopped resisting it, and I allowed myself to feel it. And from that space, I could examine what I was thinking about. 

I could ask myself, what am I thinking about this circumstance? What thoughts are making me feel anxious?

And I could look at how I was acting from that feeling of anxiety, and I could decide on purpose whether or not I wanted to keep thinking those thoughts and creating the same feelings, which was producing my current results. Did I want to keep thinking and feeling this way? Because remember, you get to choose how you think.

Feel Your Emotions

So whatever it is that you’re feeling in the coming weeks, and however often you feel these strong emotions, I encourage you to get curious. Don’t judge yourself. Instead, allow yourself to feel them. 

So many of us spend our lives trying to resist emotion. We push it away. And we buffer with things that allow us to avoid the emotion. We distract ourselves with social media, we distract ourselves with food, we distract ourselves with drink, and we do this all to avoid feeling the emotions. 

But I promise, once you actually allow those emotions, and you allow them to go through your body, you will realize that you can absolutely handle them. 

It’s true that they might not feel good, but you can handle them. And it will feel better than resisting it. And what’s more, when you realize that you can handle that emotion, you will already relieve some of the pressure around it.

Now, if you’ve never done this before. And if you aren’t one who usually thinks much about your emotions or what you’re feeling, this might be a little bit challenging at first. And that is absolutely okay. Just keep working at it. Keep tuning in. Keep asking yourself, “what am I feeling right now?” And you can do this when you’re feeling both negative emotions and positive emotions. 

In fact, I encourage you to tune in a few times each day and just ask yourself that simple question. What am I feeling right now? How does it feel? Where is it in my body?

I’m telling you, it is so powerful to understand how you experience both positive and negative emotions. Because when you truly understand that you can experience any emotion, it is such an empowering experience. Because the entire reason why we do things or don’t do things is to feel a certain emotion or avoid a certain emotion. 

We don’t go after a goal because we don’t want to feel disappointed if we fail. We don’t want to ask questions because we don’t want to feel stupid or inadequate. And we don’t tell someone “no” because we don’t want to feel uncomfortable. 

But the truth is this – the worst thing that can happen is an emotion. When you dig deep enough, the worst-case scenario is an emotion. And when you discover that you can experience any emotion, that is truly an empowering thing. 

Now, some of you may struggle with feeling your emotions. Some of you might not have any idea what emotions are going on in your body because you’ve been avoiding them for a long time. And that’s okay, too. If you do find you’re in that situation, however, you should definitely sign up for a coaching session with me.

Get Coaching With Me

This past week I opened up several additional free one-on-one sessions. I know that we are all working through a lot of new emotions right now. And we are all working through different circumstances, changing circumstances, and uncertainties in how things will unfold in the coming weeks. For many of us, this leads to thoughts that create stress, overwhelm, and anxiety.  

And I want to help you work through this. That’s what I am here to do. This is what I’m here for. I’m here to help you figure out what’s going on for you in your life. I’m here to help you figure out how you’re feeling and how you can process those emotions. And I’m here to help you continue moving forward and showing up in the way that you want to. 

Because these sessions were quite popular last week, and I know that there are more of you who would like to have a session as well, I decided to keep these extra windows for free sessions open again this week. And I’ve increased the time of our free sessions as well, so rather than doing the free 30-minute calls, I’m doing free 45-minute calls. 

Because here’s the deal, I think it’s really important that you have someone that you can talk with about everything that’s going on. You need someone to hold the space for you as you explore everything you’re worried about and everything that you’re feeling during this very new and unfamiliar experience for all of us.

So whether you have worked with me in the past or not. Whether you have used a free session with me or not, it doesn’t matter. You can grab a session with me at imbusybeingawesome.com/freesession. You can sign up for a time that works for you, and we will talk through everything that’s going on. We’ll get you thinking more clearly, and get you showing up the way you want during this time. 

I’ve got you.

And in addition, I also created a worksheet that will help you start tuning into your emotions this week. You can find it at the show notes imbusybeingawesome.com/episode35 I encourage you this week to do this worksheet regularly. Really get tuned into the feelings that you’re experiencing on a regular basis. Notice how they feel in your body. Pay attention to when they come up. Write them down. 

And then next week, we will explore some strategies to help you work through these emotions, start thinking about your circumstances in different ways, and decide on purpose how you want to keep showing up.

So do your homework this week. I know many of you are working from home. I know many of you have some extra time right now. So make this a priority. I promise you, it is going to make a big difference. So again, grab your worksheet at the show notes and sign up for your free session at imbusybeingawesome.com/freesession.

Limit Your News Intake

And before we go, I want to make one more PSA announcement, which is to start limiting your news intake if you haven’t already. 

I know that it feels productive to keep checking your news feed. I know it feels useful to turn on the news often, to scroll through your Facebook feed and your Twitter feed with all of the latest updates. But I also want to remind you that it is the media’s job to grab your attention. The media makes money based on viewers, on link clicks, and on support from sponsors. So they are going to do whatever they can do advertise the breaking news. That’s their job. 

But you don’t need to tune into it constantly. Yes, you can stay informed. Yes, you can check in on what’s going on. But limit yourself, my friends. I limit myself to 20 minutes each day. You may prefer more or less than that, but I encourage you to find what feels right for you and stick with it. When you combine that with getting curious and allowing your emotions, and you’re going to notice a major difference in how you feel this coming week.

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