How Do You ‘Lean Into’ Your Emotions?
You’ve probably heard me talk about how leaning INTO rather than avoiding your emotions is incredibly beneficial and important.
But how do you actually do that?
What does it look like in practice?
This episode comes from a question from a lovely listener on exactly this so I thought I’d dig a little bit deeper with you today.
It’s important to understand that, as with most things, leaning into your emotions is a skill you can learn.
So the first thing to understand is our emotions aren’t really the issue at all.
The issue is our own judgement of our emotions.
Labelling some emotions as ‘good’ and some as ‘bad’ is one of the ways we do this.
The beliefs we have around what it means if we feel things like sadness, anxiety, depression and what we make it mean about us.
Because the reality is, the more you avoid and suppress them, the louder they get.
Perhaps you’ve experienced that before?
Much of this is a learned response from childhood. It might have been that people in a position of authority didn’t know how to handle your big emotions and you were made to suppress them, or even told off for having them, making them be seen as undesirable, inconvenient and leading to not being accepted.
Leaning into your emotions is the very thing that enables them to move through your body and be processed as they should be within a few minutes, rather than still ruminating on them hours, days, weeks or even years later.
So it’s a good skill to learn right?!
So what does it actually mean when we say to lean into your emotions?
Leaning into your emotions means not suppressing or avoiding.
It means really allowing yourself to feel what’s there, without judgement.
It means being able to take a step back, observe and allow.
It means bringing in self-compassion in moments of big emotion.
It means acknowledging that all emotions are part of the human experience.
It means being able to not be consumed by them and decode them as you feel them and allow them to be there.
This is when they move through the body.
An emotion itself only lasts approximately 90 seconds but it’s all the other ‘stuff’ we put on top of that physiological feeling.
If you can stop judging your emotions and making them good, bad, right or wrong and feeling like we should only feel certain emotions and not others…that’s when the magic happens and your emotions no longer control you.
BUT, we have to learn to feel safe expressing our emotions healthily. You might want to do this with a professional so you have a safe space and assistance.
You might feel comfortable doing this on your own or with a trusted friend. It really is up to you. Healing happens in relationship so I would always recommend working with someone else in the beginning.
You’ll find it soon becomes second nature and you’re able to feel far more neutral about what you might previously have perceived as ‘negative’.
It’s not about being consumed by your emotions, it’s letting them be there with curiosity.
Again, what does that mean?!
It means being able to observe what’s going on for you.
What’s going on in your thoughts and what’s going on in your body.
Can you name the emotion?
If so, how do you know that’s what it is? What are the characteristics?
Where do you feel it in your body?
How are you expressing it outwardly to others?
What do you notice about your behaviour and any urges that come up when you either have, or try to avoid and suppress emotions?
For many people it might look like numbing with social media scrolling, food, drink or shopping for example.
Noticing this is a big key to helping you stop avoiding them in the future.
If you can become consciously aware of your own patterns you are able to override them far more easily, meaning you can interrupt and CHANGE the pattern, recode and rewire your brain and nervous system.
Learning emotional regulation tools to help the process of an emotion moving through your body is incredibly helpful.
For me whenever I experience big emotions my personal favourite is a somatic tool, EFT, otherwise known as tapping.
Think of it like acupuncture without the needles where you’re tapping on some key meridian points on your face and body.
It allows the emotion to come up and be processed. It might take a few rounds but you should notice feeling calmer and more regulated.
Reframing negative emotions to be helpful is…well….helpful!
Acknowledging that they have a purpose and a reason for being there and that they make perfect sense can be a game changer.
For example, anxiety is a threat response. In some situations it’s a helpful alert system. Unfortunately for many of us it’s just got wildly out of control.
Sadness can be a cue to people around you for support.
All the usual suspects I talk about a lot are also incredibly helpful in getting you to lean into your emotions and creating that acceptance and allowing for curiosity over judgement.
Journaling, HeartMath or other kinds of breathwork, movement, mindfulness.
Many of these are in The Positive Pants Toolkit too.
So much of life is almost like learning to dance with your emotions.
Not seeing them as an enemy or yourself as a failure for having them.
It’s all part of the beautiful human existence and polarity.
It’s about gratitude.
It sounds so counterintuitive that allowing yourself to ACTUALLY feel your emotions is the very thing that causes more balance, peace, calm.
Talking from my own experience of learning this little dance it’s incredibly freeing.
Like I’ve said 1000 times before.
It doesn’t mean I don’t have emotions, it means I don’t judge them or myself and they move on so much more quickly and I can find my peace again.
Calm in the chaos.
You just might not have learned it yet, but once you see the shifts and changes happening it’ll become second nature to sit with those emotions and let them move through you.
I hope this helps!
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners & Executives Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time, get off the emotional rollercoaster and feel more in control.
Check out The Positive Pants Podcast Here
Download your FREE Stressed To Success Meditation Here
Join The Positive Pants Toolkit App Here
Work with me. Book In a Free 20 Minute Discovery Call Here