Your feelings are valid. You should take every opportunity to allow yourself to explore what they are signaling to you and to feel them in depth, but don’t stop yourself from facing the truth: Feelings aren’t always facts. It may be time to fix your feelings and regulate your emotions.
One of the most beautiful things about emotions could be their ability to ebb, flow and even borrow from the past in an attempt to protect you. It’s undeniably fascinating how your mind is constantly trying to keep you safe.
Your brain doesn’t translate to your body whether the pain you experience is presently taking place or a rebroadcast, though. Because of this, you can find yourself responding to new or present circumstances with old and compounded emotions. For this reason, you can’t let your feelings run around in your head unsupervised.
Here are some ways to practice keeping your feelings in check:
1. Feel the feeling, but evaluate them before accepting them as truth.
Try to name the feeling(s) you’re experiencing. Even if it’s in the middle of a disagreement, you have the right to take time to pause and consider. You can even tell the person(s) you’re talking to that you need a moment. If it’s one intense feeling made up of several others, try to name them all. Then answer, What is going on in my current situation or life that is causing me to feel this way?
2. Think back to your past and try these ground exercises to better regulate your emotions.
Have you had this feeling or these feelings before? If so, What brought them on back then? Could some of those old emotions be reactivated by what’s happening now, and attaching themselves to your current situation? When your feelings from a past and similar situation start trying to dictate how strongly you feel in the present it could be a good idea to ground yourself. You can ground yourself in a number of ways.
Try the 6-2-6-2 breathing exercise for balancing, recite an anchoring phrase to yourself or you could even engage your five senses.
- Name 5 things you can see.
- Touch 4 things that are around you.
- Listen for 3 sounds you can hear.
- Name 2 things you can smell.
- Acknowledge 1 thing you can taste.
3. Imagine someone else, like a trusted friend, telling YOU the story
If a friend came to you and told you the story of the feeling(s) you’re experiencing, would you perceive your friend’s feelings to be somewhat stifled, a little over the top or just a bit off for what the situation demanded? Try to look at your feelings objectively like an empathetic third party.
4. Use visualization tools
Close your eyes and focus on your feeling(s). With your eyes still closed, visualize a meter that measures the feelings. First start with feelings from the past. Depending on how strong the emotion feels, how high does the needle register? Then measure the feeling from the current moment. How high does that needle register?
As you grow, look forward to being able to more frequently recognize your feelings. Unbottle them, name them, examine their time stamp and evaluate how they serve you in the present moment. You are in control.