How often do you hear a story that makes you tearful or upset and you’re not even sure why?
Others can hear the same story and feel fine but some can be affected by it for the entire day or even longer.
Why is it that you can get uncontrollably upset over issues or situations for no apparent reason?
Last week I spoke about anger and rage dictating why you feel so angry when insignificant things happen, such as someone walking into you on the street.
What this is, is a delayed emotional response to something that has happened to you in the past. You can be angry at someone walking into you but not at your boss, or a friend for letting you down.
What stops you listening to these emotions?
Society has told you to keep calm and carry on, to stop feeling sad or depressed and to focus on the good things.
I get that your friends and relatives don’t want to see you unhappy, but by quelling and suppressing your emotions they continue to live within you and play a part in how you think and feel every day.
Your emotions show you that something is wrong and that you need to do something about it. In the same way, if you hurt yourself you wouldn’t ignore it, you would do something about it.
Your emotions are doing the same thing and just because you can’t physically see these difficult emotions, it doesn’t mean they’re not causing you pain.
Similarly to touching a bruise, it will hurt. When you see something upsetting it will press on that emotional scar and bring up all those feelings that you have pushed down and tried to forget about.
This emotional pain is reminding you that something needs to be resolved so that you can be happier.
How do you start to heal those emotional wounds?
Step 1: Try to find a common theme of what makes you upset.
Is it animals or people in pain? Things going wrong in your life? Being shouted at?
Whatever it is to try and see that common thread to what it is that makes you upset.
Step 2: Think back to what that feeling reminds you of.
For example experiencing a pet passing away. Not getting something you wanted, or needed as a child. Your parent or teacher shouting at you. It might not even be just one isolated incident, it might be lots of little ones.
Step 3: How were you told to deal with this difficult emotion?
Were you told to forget about it and to just be happy? Don’t beat yourself up for reacting in this way, it’s normal. We are all taught from a young age to be happy, not to feel upset or not to cry.
Step 4: How would you have liked those difficult situations from Step 2 to go?
You may want to grieve for that pet passing away, or tell your teacher or parents that it’s not your fault and to stop shouting!
Step 5: Whatever it is, think about it, write it down, draw it out or if you can tell the person how upset or sad you were when this happened. That emotion has been trapped inside you for so long that it has affected who you are.
It’s great to see it in front of you so you can conceptualise it and see it as something that you have control over.
Step 6: It’s time to start finding ways to release that energy so it doesn’t fester inside of you.
Some go to the gym, others paint or write or play a sport. Find out what works for you and give it a go.
It’s OK to feel sad, but rather than running from those feelings, start understanding what those feelings are trying to tell you.