The 1st Step of Changing How You Feel

Have you ever had feelings you didn't want to feel? Maybe anger... jealousy... anxiety (to name just a few)...

There are A LOT of resources out there teaching folks how to shift emotional states. And it can be such a powerful resource to have. HOWEVER, some of those resources skip an important first step: accepting & welcoming what's here now. Now, when I say accepting, I don't mean liking or wanting to feel that way. I mean accepting as in: "hey, this is where I'm at right now. This is my reality in this moment." Before we can shift or change into something different, it's so powerful to acknowledge and give space for what's here now. Otherwise, our feelings can hold on tight being fueled by and even multiplied by our own resistance to them. It often creates the opposite of what we want! Think about this: if you were lost in a strange town and you opened a map, what's the first thing you would do to find your way home? You would likely locate where you are now before making any moves toward your destination. If not, you might stay lost even longer! For me, its feeling anxiety that haunts me... since I was 8 years old. And during 2020, it reemerged in a very strong way. I dislike the feeling of anxiety so much that I'd do anything to run from it. That is, until recently. I realized my own pattern of trying to AVOID the sensations and feelings that are tied to my anxiety actually perpetuate it; a never-ending loop of feeling crappy. So I want to share my new practice: I am seeing if I can be even more present with my anxiety before trying to do anything else. And yes, it's HARD and yes, I want to run. Instead, I now try to zoom in on the sensations and ask "what's really here?" and "what is it about it that feels so scary?". So far, I've found that when I take a conscious look at what's actually happening, the anxiety dissipates pretty quickly. This practice can be helpful during conflicts and challenging emotions in our friendships and relationships, too. The more quickly we can allow space for the present realities of ourselves and everyone else involved, the more quickly we can move toward a resolution. Have there been feelings that you've been resisting recently? How is it for you to be with the feelings that are less-than-ideal?