The car in front of me was — in my opinion — not moving fast enough. I was in a hurry and was running dangerously close to being late for my class. I could not believe that the Toyota Camry in front of me thought that 20 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone was acceptable at 8:30 a.m. on a Monday. The anger within me mounted as I contemplated laying on my horn to let the driver in front of me know exactly what I thought of his poor driving skills. But then suddenly, it hit me.
I wasn’t angry about a driver going “too slow.”
I was just plain angry.
And this driving scenario was simply an opportunity for that anger within me to rise to the surface.
Ever had this experience? Ever witnessed yourself having a strong emotional reaction to something that some deeper part of you knew was totally out of proportion to the situation? The truth is no emotion surfaces from something outside of us — it can only come up if it is already within us. People, places and situations don’t make us feel anything; we choose to feel through our perceptions and through our conditioned filters.
Many of us were never taught how to let ourselves feel our feelings or that repressing our feelings over time would create physical, emotional and mental disease, injuries, and accidents. We were never taught that emotions need healthy release because if they don’t, they will have to find other, often painful — or unhealthy like my minor case of road rage — ways to be expressed. Unexpressed emotions over time will eat away at your body’s connective tissue, disable your immune system’s proper functioning and will leave your body-mind susceptible to a variety of mishaps.
However, lashing out at everyone and everything is not a healthy way to release these repressed emotions either. When we react in this emotionally unhealthy fashion, we not only re-toxify our body-mind-spirit, we also toxify our environment and those around us with what Don Miguel Ruiz calls in his bestselling book The Four Agreements “our emotional poison.”
Sadly, you may have experienced this from someone around you at various points in your life. You may also take in others emotional poison through what you read on Facebook, other social media sites and blogs. We’ve all seen the “pardon the vent” posts with people using social media as yet another vehicle to lash out. But whether it’s at another driver or a social media post, venting our feelings is not the same as feeling our feelings and allowing them to release from our body in a healthy way that does not re-toxify ourselves or toxify the people around us.
So what do you do when you know you’ve got emotions that need release and you want to release them in a healthy good-for-you-and-good-for-everyone-else manner? Below is a focus and release process that you can use to release emotions healthily — even if you don’t know exactly what emotions you’re feeling. In fact, this is an exceptional practice that you can use on a daily basis to care for your health.
• Sit in a meditative position with your eyes closed. Make sure you’re somewhere you will not be disturbed.
• Tap Cortices, taking deep breaths as you tap, with a focused intention on connecting to any emotions that want to be released in that moment.
• Take 4-7 deep inhales through your nose, exhale through your mouth and as you do scan your body with your focus. Which area has the most tension?
• Breathe into the area of tension that catches your attention, placing your hand there to increase your focus.
• Silently ask the tension in your body what it wants to tell you. Take a few more deep inhales through the nose, exhales through the mouth and listen for the response. You may hear it or experience tears or waves of anger rising within you. Whatever happens, be present with the emotion and let it move through your body. Use your breath to move the emotions through until you feel the tension in that area of your body release.
• Sit quietly and scan your body again, if there is another area of tension or pain that has your attention, go to that area and repeat the process.
• Once you are complete with the process, tap Cortices again with the intention of grounding your body and centering yourself,
You will notice that these feelings often don’t have to be felt for long, they just need our attention and focus and then they can release.
Use this practice daily and watch as you feel lighter, your body’s health improves and you feel happier (and as an extra bonus no one has to read another “vent” post from you ever again). You deserve to feel, and you deserve to feel good — make this practice one of your go-to tools and experience more emotional freedom in your day-to-day life!
For more from Heather Strang, click here.