Probably the most important thing to remember when it comes to emotions, positive or negative, is that you are a human and you will feel ALL range of emotions. You are supposed to experience all range of emotions in order to get to know yourself better, grow, develop and live.
So what do you do when you experience a negative emotion? We ‘ve all been there, running away from such emotions, but they find a way back to you no matter where you hide. And then you start to suppress your emotions.
After all, that’s what you’ve been taught since birth: stop crying; shut up; don’t talk; go to your room.
There is a difference between suppressing and managing your emotions. Suppressing emotions leads to a poor quality of life. Managing emotions leads to better mental health.
So how do you manage your emotions instead of suppressing them?
- Instead of caging yourself in a prison, break free and allow yourself to feel and express. I was teaching yoga at a company and one of the ladies attending the class came in one day and she said: ”I am so cranky today. I am sorry, I just feel this way.” I thought that this is such a beautiful way of dealing with a bad mood, negative emotion. You are not supposed to be and feel happy every day. And while you should take responsibility of what you bring to work and how your mood and behaviour affects others, giving yourself the permission to feel what you feel and not hide or pretend, it is equally important. To me, that lady, even though she might not know it, was an example of practicing yoga off the mat and she was very wise not to suppress her emotions.
- Know that you’re not a bad human being to feel negative emotions. Instead, be curious and open up to these emotions. Sit with them for a while, inquiring : “Why do I feel frustrated? What makes me feel this way?”
- You do not want to spiral down and get lost in a negative thinking. Rather make it your intention to sit with that emotion so you can learn, and then let go. Instead of letting emotions use you, do the opposite.
While we are on the yoga mat, we welcome anything into the present moment: all kind of feelings, emotions, sensations in the body. We do not push away anything. We first welcome and observe anything and everything that comes into our experience of the moment. And then we set an intention and we might choose to let go of what is not relevant to us anymore. But first we acknowledge, we accept and we are kind with ourselves, regardless of what and how we feel.
Amygdala is the emotional center of the brain. When you attempt to suppress your emotions, amygdala get’s stuck in an irrational thought process.When you attempt to avoid what you are feeling, you aren’t solving anything, and your brain will get stuck. FIRST ACKNOWLEDGE.
The Frontal Lobe is that brain region that helps with problem solving, finds solutions, and validates your experience. When you identify what is bothering you—”I’m feeling stressed right now”—your frontal lobe gets to work, doing its job = solving problems. THEN SOLVE.
It might not be easy in the beginning to welcome, acknowledge and sit for a bit with an irritating emotion. But it will pay off. You will find it easier, with time and practice, to balance your emotions.