Earlier this month I shared with you some physical ways to release big feelings. You can check out that post here. And if you haven’t already watched my interview with Michelle Robertson, aka Big Feelings expert, click here to watch it.
But what if you’re unable to, say, go punch a punching bag when you’re feeling big feelings? Not to worry, my friend. I have some alternatives for you, many of which can be done from your favorite comfy chair.
My first go-to in this regard is simply slowing my breathing down. Whether I give myself a “time out” and go into a different room by myself and focus on my breathing, or I remain around others and just slow my breath down there, both are effective ways to calm down in the moment. The next time you’re feeling like your volcano is about to explode, keep your lips gently together and begin doing some slow belly breaths. This simple yet effective technique might just be all you need to take it down several notches so you can operate from a calmer place.
Meditation is another way to help with big feelings, and there are a few ways it can help. One is to sit comfortably, close your eyes, and begin to slow your breathing down. You can just do this and focus on a slow and calm breathing pattern. If you want to take it deeper, once you feel calmer, begin to think about what’s behind the feelings. Were you triggered by a past event? Are you hungry and need to eat? By taking time to pause and compassionately reflect on the situation, your head will likely clear, and you just might see things from a different perspective.
As referenced in my convo with Michelle Roberts, journaling is a great way to process big feelings. Watch the video for suggestions on journaling alternatives if you have physical issues or if you live with someone who doesn’t respect your boundaries.
Talking with a professional can be exceptionally helpful in processing your feelings as well. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with asking for professional help. Speaking with your friends or partner can be helpful as well, but they might be too close to the situation, might not know how to help you, or might even be a part of the issue. The point is you don’t know everything, and you’re not expected to. Getting outside help can make a huge difference.
If you’re experiencing big feelings surrounding an event that’s out of your immediate control, try researching more about it. This will give you a more complete understanding of the issue, which will help you figure out what you can do to improve the situation and/or your reaction to it. Examples of this include if you’re frustrated with your government, research the whole topic that’s causing you big feelings. Same goes, say, for the pandemic response, a school issue, etc. Knowledge is power (and it’s only actual knowledge when you know the details of all sides of the issue).
Along those same lines, if you feel powerless politically, call, email, and write letters to your representatives on the local and national levels. Think you alone can’t make a difference? Think again. How much impact does one mosquito have on you when it’s locked in your bedroom with you at night?
There are other ways to process our feelings, and the solutions will vary depending on what’s right for you. The next time you’re feeling like you’re ready to erupt, use these tools to help you lower your stress levels so you can process all of those big feelings rather than shoving them down deep. Because, one way or another, they’ll come back up – and most likely in a less-than-healthy sort of way.