How to deal with sadness and heavy emotions.

I’ve been feeling down these past few weeks.  There’s no “reason” for it…I’m just moving through something so I’ve been a little slower and more withdrawn than normal.  As I reflect on the past few years of my life, this feeling tends to arise right around the changing of the seasons every year. It’s a cool thing to notice these patterns in my body…when I feel tired, when I feel heavy, when I feel motivated, when I feel sad.  

The feelings come and go like waves.  Sometimes, there’s a pattern to them.  For example, when it’s grey and rainy for a week straight, you can bet my mood is going to match the weather. But sometimes, there is no pattern. There is no explanation. There’s just a feeling of sadness.  Maybe it lasts a day.  Maybe a few.  Sometimes more.

I grew up hearing the phrase “pull yourself up by your boot straps”, so there wasn’t a lot of room to feel or process my feelings as a child.  

So, now as an adult, it can be challenging for me to sit through the uncomfortable feelings.  To be honest, I would venture to say this is challenging for many people.

When we feel discomfort, before even realizing what we’re doing, we’re trying to get rid of the feelings by eating shitty food, drinking too much wine, grabbing our cell phones, smoking, shopping, etc.  We check out before we even REALIZE there are heavy emotions that are coming up. Most of us really don’t know how to sit in the discomfort.

We mistakenly believe that if we were sit with and feel the negative emotions, they would overtake us and we’d end up spiraling into a pile of depression.  But that’s not how emotions work.

When you accept something, it shifts it.  Accepting the feeling is the first step in changing it.  

If you fight the possibility that you’ll always be _____ (insert negative/fearful/dark thought here), you will undoubtedly prolong how long you’ll feel that way.  As Carl Jung said, “What you resist, persists.”  

If you resist something, it doesn’t just go away.  Instead, it actually just gets stuffed away somewhere in your body and wreaks havoc on your life until you’re finally willing to DEAL with it. 

When you begin to accept your feelings (without judging or needing to “fix” them), the feelings start to melt.  

 

Day 9b

 

If, for 30 seconds, you can accept that you may always feel the way you’re trying to avoid feeling, the feeling will actually begin to lift. It’s scary, but it’s that simple.  As I said in The Gratitude Circle last week, NOW is NOT FOREVER.  You will not always feel the way you feel right now.  The feelings are all just passing through.

The sad/icky/dark/fearful feeling are really just looking for empathy. They just want some compassionate love.  You can treat your feelings as if they were a little child just wanting some attention. When you give your feelings a little attention and love, the stress/depression/sadness quickly decreases.

TELL ME BELOW…

How can you give your feelings some compassion and sweetness today?  What do you need to tell yourself?

With big love!
Julie

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Comments

  1. I love this, Julie. There are so many of us bumping up against all kinds of feelings right now. For me there is usually worry and fear of the future – somehow feeling I’ve done wrong, failed in some way that will let others down and create certain doom. Sometimes I feel I entered the world with this heaviness, and perhaps I did. While meditating today, I felt my own hands on my shoulders and heard my own voice speaking to me that I am forgiven. I know this is the truth, and I love that I can compassionately abide with myself and offer comfort. Did it make that sensations go away? It eased them. I’m just accepting, as you say, that this is something that’s working its way through me right now. The acceptance helps tremendously. Thank you for this post, Julie. <3

    • Thank you sweet Nancy, for sharing such wisdom and grace with this community. The heaviness is lifting…each day you commit to sitting in silence, it lifts. It reminds of something Krishna Das said in an interview I saw that you may enjoy. He said “That’s why I always talk about doing practice. Because the practice is the opening of the hand to catch the raindrops which are always falling. If you don’t open the hand, you get wet but you don’t get much to drink.”

      We don’t get to decide when we feel those hands on our shoulders (when grace comes), but we must be there when it happens 😉

      Thank you for being here.

  2. Thank you Julie! As always you say what needs to be said. When I say ‘everything is fine’ I feel like shit for so long! When I say ‘hey I’m still feeling this way and guess what-that’s okay!!’ I feel better almost immediately. What a huge shift.
    Thank you! xo

  3. Thank you so very much, you described exactly what I had sense my body going through, I notice it when I’m at a transitional period in my life. Today, I had a hard communicating w those I loved effectively bc I felt emotional heavy. I wasn’t sad or upset, I was just pondering were Ive been in life and were I want my future to go. I had to disconnect bc I don’t feel understood when I get like this. So, I go inward and disconnect w everyone to connect w myself and how I’m feeling. I usually feel better as the day progresses, but I feel it coming on strong within me a couple days prior.

  4. Thank you for reminding us to take some time to care dor our inner child! We often ignore ourselves and our feelings. Much needed reminder to stop, feel, reflect, and care about ourselves! Thanks again for sharing I loved this artical

  5. Thank you Julie for this message. It is so profound and well written. Best of all it is great advice on respecting our emotions and caring for ourselves.

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