We all struggle with hard times or low points from time to time. That’s life, right?
Sometimes, the denser emotions like anxiety, isolation, depression or sadness, can feel debilitating or crippling, and we can‘t see a way forward.
If you’ve ever experienced this, and you’d like a hand up, then I’d like to share a mindset-shifting-practice with you that has helped me through those darker periods. I hope it helps you too.
1. Your emotions are like data.
Try thinking of your emotions like data — like a light going off on your car dashboard. Rather than letting them consume you, see it like they’re telling you something, and it’s up to you what you do with the information. Use your emotions, don’t let your emotions use you.
In the case of anxiety, for me it might mean that I’m doing something I’m not meant to be doing, or, I’m NOT doing something that I’m meant to be doing. I do this by having the “I call Bulls**t” conversation.
2. Have the “I call BS” conversation.
Try and get clear on what’s going on. Turn and face the situation (which can sometimes take courage just to do THAT) and I ask myself “what is this really about?” and “what can I do about it?”.
This might take a few tries to get to the nub of it because sometimes I’m avoiding/concealing the truth even from myself. It might take a bit of courage and soul searching, but try and get real with yourself. Is what’s pissing you off reeeeeally what’s pissing you off? Or is there something deeper going on. Are concealing or hiding from the truth, even from yourself? This is why I call it the “I call bullshit” discussion.
Get real, and keep digging. The reason or cause behind your feeling upset or anxious might not be what you think at first.
3. Be proactive.
In Tibetan Buddhist philosophy they have a saying, which loosely translated means:
If you can do something about it, why worry.
If you can’t do something about it, then why worry?
The more you can start to treat your emotions like a warning light, the more you’ll be able to asses the situation more calmly, take stock of what’s really going on, assess what’s within your power to control.
Then, you can choose your response, to be the captain of your ship, the master of your soul.
4. Make friends with your emotions.
Through the practice of regular meditation, I’ve cultivated the technique of making friends with my emotions, treating each one as a guest in my house. Whether light or shade, high vibration or low, they are all messengers.
Next time you feel an emotion and you can feel it taking you over, try this. Welcome them in, listen to them, hang out with them. Then in due course, thank them for the lessons that they’ve shared with you and when you’re ready, let them leave with grace and ease.
Rumi summed it up nicely with the poem, The Guest House:
5. This too shall pass.
And finally, remember that all feelings, emotions or experiences are but fleeting and impermanent. Just like the seasons, how the sun always sets and the sun rises on a brand new, perfectly untouched day, everything changes, and this too shall pass.