We all have emotions, and it's normal and natural to feel a wide range of feelings on any given day, despite societal standards sometimes telling us we should be happy all the time. Can you think of a time when you tried to distract yourself from the pain or discomfort you were feeling?
For example, quickly going on your phone when you feel awkward being alone?
Or scrolling through social media for hours to avoid any responsibilities you didn't want to face.
Feeling our feelings is actually an important part of being emotionally mature and learning how to process complex emotions. When we allow ourselves to fully experience and express our emotions, we can process them in a healthy way and move on instead of stewing over past traumas, embarrassing moments, or hurtful things someone said or did.
Here are some easy steps to take the next time you feel emotional discomfort:
Notice and name your feelings
Pay attention to what you're feeling in the moment. Are you feeling sad, angry, anxious, or something else? Naming your emotions can help you become more aware of them and better understand what's going on, which is the first step in processing them.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings
It's okay to feel whatever you're feeling, even if it's a negative emotion, so sit with your feelings without distractions. Try to resist the urge to judge or criticize yourself for having certain feelings and remember that emotions are just emotions – they're not good or bad, they just are.
When you're feeling difficult emotions, it's important to be kind to yourself, so try to talk to yourself the way you would talk to a good friend - with love, compassion, and empathy.
Extra: Find healthy ways to express your emotions
It's important to find healthy ways to express your emotions, whether that's through writing, talking to a friend or therapist, or engaging in a creative activity like art or music. Don't hold all your emotions in, even if your brain is telling you to do so because bottling them up will only have negative effects on your overall mental health.
When we allow ourselves to fully experience and express our emotions, we can better understand ourselves and our relationships, as well as learn and grow from our experiences. So the next time you're feeling something, try to take a moment to notice and name your emotions and remember that it's okay to feel whatever you're feeling.