Feel It, Don’t Live in it.

Can other mediums further affect or release your mood? Does music, movies, books, food, writing, and conversations make it worse or better? Outside factors can affect our mentality in both positive and negative ways. Have you ever been told it was okay to feel your emotions but not live in them? This is the part where these emotional mediums can manifest themselves into positive or harmful coping mechanisms for our feelings. However, feeling your emotion is a good thing. Validating them is a necessity. The important thing here is to not live in them forever. Sit or go where you are safe, feel safe, or are comfortable and feel their intensity for 10-30 minutes. This allows your brain to process them without staying in this state. You can cry, scream, punch safe objects (like pillows), release that emotion, or sit and feel it. 

Let me tell you one thing not to do. Do not cut yourself or harm yourself. If you do not want to be alone, call someone, go somewhere. This isn’t something you have to do by yourself, but under no circumstances should you allow self-harm or worse, to release and cope with these emotions. This comes from some who have used these techniques, and they are, by far, not as therapeutic as they may seem. And it can be detrimental in various ways. So, let’s consider what you can do.

I will give you a personal experience of mine. When I listen to music, write, or read, it is often because of the mood or mindset I am in currently. This experience can be highly positive as I belt out the lyrics of a song while riding in the car, feeling the emotion released from my chest. Singing releases some pent-up energy; for me, it is cathartic. If I find I cannot sing the song I choose (no matter how bad I sound), then my state of mind is far lower than it should be (ex., Dissociation). Doing this can also become inherently harmful, as I can allow myself to become enveloped entirely in the song and thus making my mood ten times worse and even harder to escape.

Sometimes I interview myself: Is this important enough to hold on to? Is there another reason I am feeling this way? Is holding on to this logically justifiable? Why am I outraged? Explain what I think is going on. Is this something I am letting affect me and can let go of, or is this something that needs to be held onto and addressed? Asking myself these questions can help me counter and understand my emotions because it forced me to conceive something that requires more brain activity, which can help calm me down as you analyze your feelings. It is hard for your brain to process and send the emotional response simultaneously. Like that game, you had to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time. For many, this was nearly impossible. That is how the brain can be when you feel and analyze emotions. It’s hard to feel outraged when trying to conceive why, logically, you feel this way.

There are many times, I admit, that I want to feel the pain, the anger. It is as though I deserve it or what is expected of me. So, I choose music, books, and writing that I can use to process that emotion. Because at that moment, I think pulling myself into this pit I had created for myself was entirely valid. So, how do we get past this? How do we want to feel better? How do we finally grasp this positivity that has been running from us? Unfortunately, I cannot provide an answer, as we all experience mental health differently. Don’t chase after positivity when you have not worked through the toxins in your thoughts because that positivity will be a glimpse before it fades away.

Feel the emotion. Do not let it consume you. Validate yourself. I know this sounds impossible. Initially, it sounded stupid to me. So, I did it my way. Here is an excerpt from my “feeling” journal:

I can’t stand those who lie. It doesn’t make sense, even if it is typical among humans. It seems inevitable and even small when you do it, but when someone else does it….it downright hurts and angers me. Why do we feel the need to lie? How does it make things better? If you genuinely care for others, wouldn’t you speak the truth? Why is it so damn hard to tell someone the truth? If you feel as though what you lie about will cause someone to leave or no longer view you as they once did, then that should be an indication not to do it, yet, we still do. And it is behind my back again. It makes me look terrible. It is the epitome of gossip, which everyone feels is a fun way to pass the time.

I know everyone lies. Unfortunately, so have I. Everyone has at some point. Can anyone say they have not said a single lie before? Even in childhood, even saying no would be a lie unless there is a medical condition for this. I’ll have to look it up. Anyway, whatever the reason may be, I do not find it acceptable to lie.

And this may stem from the constant stream of lies I have been fed since childhood that causes me to loathe it so much, but still, I can’t stand it. I want out, away from these lies. But how do you escape when they surround you? And when they hurt you so much. It hurts me, it hurts in my heart, and my body and I can’t seem to let this feeling go. When will it go away? How will it go away?

My first response to this letter was extreme emotion, tears in my eyes, a red face, clenched teeth, and even holding my breath when it became too much. When I had finished the letter, even though it did not end on a happy note, I felt significantly better. Had the pain and anger dissipated completely? No. I did not expect it to. It gave me a way to make it just bearable. Easier to walk around with that emotion. It allowed me to breathe.

My next tip is to validate yourself. Now hang in there with me. I know this sounds impossible and stupid. I know this because that is how I felt about it. It can be as simple as telling yourself it is okay to feel angry. Or you can go as deep as, “My emotions are valid, and this is not a cry for attention because these emotions are real. They hurt, and it feels like it would never end. And it is okay to feel this now.” Validating your emotions takes away the stigmatism that they are bad and wrong. It is okay to be angry, it is nearly impossible to be void of emotions. Even the most composed and successful people have emotions.

Here is another tip is to scream. That is right, scream. Instead of drowning in the emotional pit you dug for yourself, step outside and scream. Scream as loud as you can. Feel it in your chest and throat like a roar from a lion. Scream as long as you can, as loud as you can. Let the tears flow with the sound and make the world empty around you; no city, no country sounds, just you.

Sometimes you feel intense emotion for no reason, but what if I told you there is a reason for this feeling? Something is hidden deep within yourself. How can this be? Let’s say you lost your cat a month ago and were not allowed to feel grief because people would say, “it is just an animal. You can get a new one.” So, you pent this up, and slowly, the built-up pain became streams of external snaps. You harbor grief until you become irritated for no reason, lose interest, become depressed or anxious, angry, or violent until you have a mental breakdown. This reaction is all over the fact you could not grieve a cat that meant the world to you. However, you are unaware of this emotional flashback because, eventually, the grief and pain are shoved back as you move through life. That is why it is essential to understand and figure out why you feel this way. And it is not just you, and you are not crazy. The complicated part is working through it.

I will finish this post here, but I will leave you with one more image to ponder. Some people turn to yoga and meditation, others to heavy metal and dancing, and some both. There is no right or wrong way to improve your emotional state as long as you do it safely. But feel it. Please don’t live in it. If you like this content, please like and comment below. Don’t forget to share this with your friends. If you do not, do the same. Explain ways you did not like it or how I could improve. This blog is a safe area. Comment away.

-A.F. Widener

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