4 Feelings That Hold You Back
Emotions are a response of our most basic human brain function. This primal, emotional quick-response system helps us react to the world around us in a jiffy, often setting off an impulse reaction before we even know that it's happened. Unfortunately, these emotional reactions don't always turn into the feelings that we actually need in order to react in a way that is good for us. Let's take a minute to look at the subtle difference between emotions and feelings, and think about what that difference actually means to us.
Feelings are what develops after certain emotions are triggered within our brain. Our minds take that powerful emotion and turn it into something even more powerful; the feeling that we are going to actually act upon. As emotions flash over us, our brains compare that emotion to every experience we've had with that emotion before, everything that we've known, and utilize our logic to decide how we are going to act in response to that emotion. When you're working to change or repair your automatic reactions to the world around you, you need to know how you actually feel about certain common emotions.
Here are 4 Common Feelings That May Be Holding You Back:
"You're scared of what life will be like now. You may be fearful about your ability to cope emotionally, or you may be uncertain about practical concerns like money, raising the children, or where you'll live. You may just feel afraid, without really knowing why."
When your emotions scream fear, do you fight or flee? Do you react to feeling afraid through action or inaction? Sometimes, we develop a tendency to relive all the past situations of our lives when we simply feel fear in the present, no matter how fleeting. As a result, we may have fallen into a mind trap that causes you to immediately have a trauma reaction to the situation at hand. Sometimes, the situation at hand, isn't actually a traumatic crises...even if it immediately feels that way.
S.T.O.P. Stop. Take a step back from the situation. Observe what's actually happening. Plan and proceed accordingly.
"Anger often feels like a physical thing. Your muscles tense up, and you may feel like yelling
at someone or hitting something. Your rage may be aimed at yourself or your lost loved one,
or you may find yourself getting angry at other people, society, or your spiritual beliefs."
Overtime, the anger emotion causes one of the most conditioned responses to any emotion that you will experience during your life. The feeling of being angry is something that everyone develops certain thoughts about and immediate reactions to. Feeling angry is very likely to cause you to act in a way that impulsively makes the current situation worse, instead of helping to actually solve any inherent problem.
BREATHE. When anger washes over you and you start feeling the need to react on that anger, take a moment, close your eyes, and count to 10.
"Anxiety is distinct from fear, and is often a generalized feeling. If you're afraid, at least you
know what scares you. If you're anxious, on the other hand, you're likely to feel agitated
without knowing exactly why. You may experience cold sweats, hyperactivity, or edginess."
It is common to develop anxiety over people, places, and things with which you may have had negative experiences in the past. Sometimes, we may have experienced so many negative things that anxiety begins to disrupt our ability to do all kinds of things that we need to do as healthy adults. The key to changing your feelings about anxiety, is to recognize when anxious emotion is arresting you, and ground yourself in the moment. Think rationally, not emotionally.
Take a deep breath. Focus on the floor beneath your feet, and feel the weight of your body as you stand upon it. Know that the ground is not going to swallow you whole, and your anxiety won't either if you don't let it.
"You may feel that you should be getting over your feelings, or may be ashamed to show them
in front of family, friends, and others. You may also harbor feelings about the death, or the fact
that you are still alive, that feel shameful to you and are difficult to share with others."
For whatever reasons, we sometimes start to feel like we are not as worthy as the people around us. We want to hide our truths because we feel that they will judge us harshly, as they may done in the past. Shame is one of those things that we try to bury so deep that it festers until we can own it and let it go. It is a baggage that only you can decide when it's time to unpack and lighten your load.
REMEMBER There is no shame in your humanity. You are not the first person to make mistakes, nor will you be the last. You have the responsibility to take accountability for your actions and the opportunity to make amends and move forward. If others choose to be stuck on the events of the past, that is not your burden to carry. There is no shame in forgiveness.
Here's What You Need To Keep In Mind
You don't have to feed every emotion with so much feeling, and vice versa.
Take the time to understand your emotions, and everything that you associate with fear, anger, anxiety, and shame.
Think about how you typically react to each of these emotions?
Are your feelings about each emotion logical? Do they serve you well?
Ask yourself how else could you react to this emotion?
What would make you feel better about these difficult emotions?
The mind can be a complicated place, and on the journey through recovery you will learn so much about yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings that it will transform the way that you view yourself and the wider world. Don't be a victim of your emotions. Learn to harness your feelings in a way that truly helps you heal your habits, empower your goals, and recover the life that's waiting for you. Just because you've always reacted to certain emotions in a particular way; doesn't mean that it's the only way.
Recovery Is Possible!
Meg Glidden, MS, NCC