As I stood before the crowd, I sensed the onset of tears, and my voice began to waiver. Gathering my composure, I calmly took a deep breath, embraced the rush of emotions, and resumed my lecture. Today's topic was handling stress, and I have had my share of stress in my life, just like many of us.
In each of my presentations, there is a moment where I recount a personal challenge that I struggled with and how I overcame it. When I embarked on this project to aid others in reaching their full potential, I hadn't anticipated the profound affirmation and healing it would bestow upon me.
I am struck by my deep inner reflections and the moments of stillness where I allow my feelings to surface, even as I stand before an audience. Avoiding these emotions might seem like the path of least resistance, but that would not benefit anyone. It would not be good for my well-being, and it certainly is not the example I want to set for those in my sessions.
It is very common for people to avoid their emotions. It's hard to feel pain, and it can seem easier to suppress it than face it. But is it easier, especially in the long run? Ultimately, you are still left to contend with these untouched emotions; eventually, they will bubble up again. And whatever maladaptive coping mechanisms you have adopted along the way will never yield a resolution. Over time, this can cause even greater health issues, whether mental or physical.
Our lives are designed to be a rich tapestry of feelings. Often, when people are asked to recount how many different emotions they encounter in a week, they come up with only five or six despite the vast array of emotions available for us to explore. I ponder how limiting that is in life and speculate they are trapped in a repetitive cycle of repeating the same thoughts and actions as if they are on cruise control. How unfortunate it is to repeat the identical day over and over when life offers abundant experiences to be cherished.
Consider these tips to expand your emotional range.
Positive vs. Negative Emotions- We desire to feel good and avoid feeling bad at any cost. Adopt a perspective that leans towards empathy and self-compassion. Discomfort isn't inherently negative and may catalyze growth and healing.
Mindfulness - Mindfulness involves a curiosity about our mental and emotional processes. Pay attention to your patterns, especially when you are caught in loops of the same reactions and responses. Through increased awareness, you can train your mind to become more fully engaged in the present moment and approach life with intention.
Stillness - Embracing stillness is devoid of external distractions. In this space, emotions can naturally ebb and flow. You can observe discomfort without judgment. Likewise, you may experience serenity or calmness and simply coexist with those feelings. With time, you may begin to let go of the maladaptive coping mechanisms you have practiced as you start to feel a sense of wholeness and groundedness in life.
As I wrapped up my presentation that day, I saw my audience's smiling faces. A wave of contentment and pride washed over me. The emotions I felt in that one hour felt like an invaluable gem enriching the fabric of my day.
Imagine how dull life would be in the absence of the vast array of emotions that color our daily experiences with vibrancy and diversity.
My best to your health and wellness,