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Negative Emotions…or Just Real? #learning-to-tolerate-big-emotion

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

I was sipping coffee with a friend the other day, and we were talking about emotions that don’t feel good. She used an interesting term, “low vibration emotions”. I like this. I’ve never cared for the term negative emotions because it seems to imply that there is something wrong with emotions like anger, sadness, fear, and jealousy (to name a few).

Whatever we decide to call them, we’re allowed to have our emotions and our feelings.

Now we may not want to feel what comes with these emotions. I can remember a time when I would just as soon as jump out of a moving vehicle than to sit with my feelings.

It takes practice.

We can start by visiting our feelings, like a relative that we don’t really care for, but feel a sense of obligation to spend time with. We don’t have to dwell (live) there.

Why would we want to spend any time feeling these more uncomfortable emotions? Well, let’s face it, when we try to ignore them they still manage to hang around.

When we spend a little bit of time sitting with our emotions, we get more comfortable with the feelings they bring up, and the uncomfortable sensations like fullness in the chest, tightness in the throat, sobbing, or those flip flops our bellies can do.

I know what you’re thinking, “Nah, I’m good not feeling any of that!”.

Here’s the thing, as we are able to notice the sensations, it strengthens our ability to engage useful internal helps like deep breathing and purposeful self-talk, or external supports like taking a walk, calling a friend, family member or crisis/support line. We can even engage in safe distractions like watching a favorite tv show or cleaning in an effort to move some of the uncomfortable body sensations.

As we learn to do a little more sitting with / tolerating, we can then practice getting curious with the thoughts that accompany the emotions and feelings. In the long term, this gives us relief by helping us to sort through the very thing that brought on all of the emotions, feelings, and sensations in the first place.

These practices bring us to a place of more consistent calm, ease, and comfort. So let yourself feel and experience in small bits. And let others know, “Not only am I allowed to have my emotions and feelings ~ it's actually really healthy.”

*Note: There is a difference between Emotions and Feelings, even though we tend to use them interchangeably. Emotions are automatic physiological reactions produced by a stimulus; whereas feelings are the conscious experience of emotional reactions.

For example, someone jumps out and scares you. The automatic physiological reaction is the emotion of fear. The feelings come after when we ponder how we feel about being startled, “I feel hurt that you would jump out and scare me like that knowing my history of trauma.” Or, “That was hilarious, you got me good!” (Feeling happy & connected with the playfulness). Then, there is

also feel as in bodily sensations, ie. your heart races when someone jumps out and scares you.

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