Emotional Mindfulness

The title to this article intrigued me:

Emotional Mindfulness: What Anger, Vulnerability & Despair Teach Us

Emotional Mindfulness: What Anger, Vulnerability & Despair Teach Us

I enjoy coming across an article that agrees with me.  I spent a large portion of my life unable to access how I felt.  Through brutal childhood experience I learned to separate me emotion from my life, my teenage hero wan Mr. Spock from Star Trek and his ability not to feel.  I found the episode where is emotions let loose very disturbing.  My counselor was somewhat surprised at how completely I could suppress emotion.  It wasn’t just suppress but appeared to vanish….months and months into counseling I finally found “Lake Rage” where I shuffled away all the ‘dark’ emotions.  Once connected, all that emotion wanted time and attention.  From this experience I can testify that ignoring, eliminating or smothering emotions is a terrible idea.  The article listed several points to improve emotional mindfulness:

Tools to Build Emotional Mindfulness 

  • Get More Emotionally Literate – Emotions continue to suffer from a “bad rap.”  Some people are downright phobic about them.  One of the key principles of  emotional intelligence is that emotional learning is infinite. No one is ever “done.”  Learning more about the range of your emotional experience can liberate you and build the foundation for greater emotional choice.

  • Notice What You Feel – To become emotionally mindful, you’ll need to learn to pay better attention to what you feel – and where you feel it.  Emotions live in the body, not in your head. We’re often cut off from our physiological responses (like our breath) and misread how we feel as a result.

  • Accept What You Feel – This can be a tough assignment because sometimes what we feel is scary, exhausting, unattractive or embarrassing.  YOU are not your anger or fear. You have feelings of anger and fear.  While you may choose to gain a deeper understanding of how and why those feelings “show up,” you feel what you feel. Suppression and denial are temporary palliatives, not solutions.  Most deep-rooted feelings don’t simply vanish.  They are there to get your attention.

  • Identify Your Addictive Emotions – Yes, our own emotions can be habit-forming.  For some people anger is a repellent – to others it’s a stimulant. Emotions like anger and resentment can act like “cover” emotions to hide the scarier and less socially acceptable feelings (depending on our cultural influences) like sadness, hurt, grief and fear.  Some people only “do” happy.   They develop a philosophy and language to keep things “light.”  While that’s fine, it often acts as a form of repression and keeps others from comfortably expressing what they truly feel.

  • Pay Closer Attention to What Triggers You – Triggers or “hot buttons” are like maps to our thoughts and beliefs.  They are offer invaluable insights into how needs are being met or unmet.  Chances are your emotional triggers carry a lot of old emotional baggage.  The more you know about what triggers you – the greater the opportunity to use your conscious awareness to deactivate those reflexive emotional reactions.

I recommend reading the entire article.  I haven’t checked out every link but what I read so far resonates with me.

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