The Women in Medicine Badass Radioshow

Episode #34: Practice Feeling Your Emotions

Show Notes:

Hey all you WIMBAs out there. Welcome back to another episode and today we’re going to talk about something truly important which is your feelings. Now a lot of people come to me because they have a lot of feelings and they just don’t know how to manage them. They don’t know how to deal with them. They’re kind of at a loss. And this comes back to the idea of Emotional Intelligence which is something that is it really taught. So a lot of us are walking around with so many feeling, so many emotions and we’re feeling overwhelmed or feeling scared and we’re looking for these quick fixes. 

So what I’m here to do today is really sure with you different ways that you can manage your emotions, that you can deal with and understand them most of all regardless of whether it is because of something related to you, if it is something related to another person, or a situation. We’re going to cover all the bases.

Now when you have a lot of negative emotions in particular, you might notice that you try to cover them up. You try to numb out because you might have a fear that those feelings are going to be overwhelming, that all of this negativity will make you drown and that they’re going to last forever and that feeling is just too much to bear. 

So it is understandable if you are somebody who is doing things like eating when you’re really stressed out or angry or upset…or if you yell at other people…or if you drink alcohol…or if you watch lots of Netflix…or if you’re doing tons of online shopping when you’re feeling negatively…or if you’re just browsing social media just to get your mind out of whatever it is that’s upsetting. 

This is something that is so incredibly common, and yet it is probably not very helpful as you may have noticed. So today we’re going to do that actually talk about what can be a much better solution for you to deal with your emotions. Sound good? All right. So here we go.

Now you may have heard some of this stuff before but it’s good to always hear it again because sometimes it takes our brain a while to get caught on. So here’s the thing: The first thinI’m going to share with you is that it’s really important for you to learn to sit with negative emotions. 

What do I mean by that? Well, the first this is — these emotions are a part of you and emotions are essentially just vibrations in your body. So there’s something that is happening in your mind that translates into some sort of vibration in your body and that’s where these feeling live. Now if you distract your mind and you numb out as we talked about, you aren’t focusing on those feelings but that doesn’t make them actually go away. 

Now just to highlight this point, I recently worked with a client that had a traumatic experience happen and we worked to process that and what she noticed was that it was so much easier for her to talk about the event in her life that was traumatic without breaking down. And then it dawned on her that other experiences in her past that were traumatic are probably the reason why she’s very reactive in certain areas of her life and how this work can actually be super helpful to get her to be in a different space. So again, the idea here is that feelings don’t just evaporate in the air. If we’re not dealing with them they can simmer inside of us and they could start to come out in all different ways and at all different times. So if you find yourself that you cry a lot or you yell or you’re just super reactive in general, and it may not even be during a time where your triggered but it might even be kind of randomly and you’re wondering why, this is probably why.

 Let’s come back to the idea of sitting with your emotions. What do I mean by that? Let’s assume that something happened and you feel really triggered and you have some frustration. Or maybe you were at work and there’s a lot of things that you need to get done in a short amount of time and you’re feeling stressed. Or there is some sort of uncertainty in your life and that is bringing up a ton of anxiety about the future. So you have a negative emotion. What do you do now? 

Think of your emotion as information. It’s not a fact. It’s just a signal that something is going on. The way I like to think about emotions is like imagine that somebody just rang your doorbell and you open the door and there’s a messenger there and he hands you a package or an envelope. That envelope or that package contains some information in it and that’s all it is. It’s just a transfer of information and your job is to open up the package and to see what’s inside and that’s going to tell you what is going on and what you need to do next, right? 

So if you have fear it’s a sign that maybe you’re in danger but again there’s some information that your brain is picking up and it may not be a fact it’s important for you to really take a look at what is happening, what is true in the situation. 

Now assuming that you’ve found out that there really is some truth or something that you need to pay attention to as a result of noticing your emotion, now what do you do? Now Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through” and that’s what I mean when we talked about processing your emotions, doing something to give your emotions expression so they can come out. You’re giving them some attention. You’re opening up that package.

So bring to mind something that maybe happened recently that when you think about it now brings up negative emotion. Do you have something already? Great. 

Let’s say that the emotion that you experienced was anxiety or stress. What can you do?

Well for those two emotions you can do something that will bring down the energy. You want to ground yourself. So what are some things that are grounding for you?

For some people it’s meditating because this is an opportunity to just sit and quiet the mind and refocus. For other people it’s just taking a time out to breathe slowly and deeply because when we’re anxious and when we’re stressed we’re kind of hyperventilating. Our breath is very shallow and it’s an opportunity to recalibrate by paying attention to the breath. 

And for other people movement is really important whether it’s exercise or just moving it off. So when you have all this excess energy in your body, which is essentially what these emotions are, you have an opportunity to expel some of that out. 

If the emotion is more like anger, resentment or frustration, you really need some time again to kind of calm down. So what allows you to take that time out? 

Maybe it’s that you remove yourself from the situation, you excuse yourself, you countdown, you breathe, you walk it off, whatever is going to allow you to just simmer down. And then if there’s something that maybe isn’t around a person but it’s still really upsetting to you, focus on this question in particular, “Is this something that I have control over?” If the answer to that is “yes,” then the question that you need to ask yourself once you’ve come down enough is, “What can I do?” So you move into problem-solving mode. 

However, sometimes we’re feeling a that because there is something that we cannot control and if you’ve detected that that is the case, then focus on b. Now I know this is easier said than done but what’s the alternative really, right? So that idea here is A) calm yourself down, B) find out whether this is something I have control over or not. If it is problem-solve. If it’s not, focus on just letting it go.

 What if you’re upset because of a situation or in particular something that somebody else has done? This happened all the time right? When you are truly upset — let’s say if it’s about a situation, I encourage you to find someone to talk to about it. Sometimes having that social support and somebody just listening is validating and allows us to really get a lot of our frustration out without having to do anything about the situation at all. Sometimes it’s just giving expression to those feelings.

But if it has to do with someone else then I think you’ll find that this poem from Mother Teresa will help you think about things perhaps in a new way. Here’s what she says: “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. In the final analysis it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” Now what I love about this excerpt from her poem is that it really shines the light on the fact that too often we get upset with other people because we think that whatever they are doing or saying is because of us and we feel really hurt and really upset. And the truth of the matter is, and you’ll know if you really take a look at your own actions and why you do the things that you do, the truth is that most of the time people do what they do because of them and not because of you. So if you can bring that to mind and really wrap your head around the fact that it’s probably not about you, you’ll notice that you can alleviate a lot of your emotions.

Everything that I share with you today is really something that you can do once you have given some attention to the fact that you have some emotions and you’ve identified what they are or why they’re there and can now apply different techniques to give some room to expel those things from your mind and body. So it’s kind of a process as you can see.

If you want more resources around emotional issues and how to really get into a better mindset to really help you along, I created a mindset mastery starter kit which you can get when you go to my website or go to  I’ll put the link in the show notes. 

Best of luck to you. Apply these amazing strategies. I’d love to hear what you found helpful and I’ll talk to you next time. Take care. 

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