How To Stop Letting Your Thoughts And Emotions Get The Best Of You
Do you ever have a day or even multiple days in a row where you feel as though you cannot pull it together and your thoughts and emotions seem to be running the show? Or have you ever “lost it” so badly you felt ashamed of yourself? Same. When it comes to our thoughts and emotions, that’s just sometimes the way it goes. However, one of my favorite things to discuss with others about thoughts and emotions is how fleeting they can be. And then I like to exam one of my favorite quotes, “The bad news is nothing lasts forever. The good news is nothing lasts forever”. -J. Cole.
Thoughts and emotions can come and go like the waves of the tide and be just as soft-spoken or powerful. In my practice I’ve come to realize that most often the best way to manage your thoughts and emotions is to essentially not manage them at all, but more so to ride the waves.
Most of us live in a societies that seem to have deemed good emotions as most desirable and accepted. This is unfortunate as all emotions are normal and should be accepted. It is my belief that we would benefit from leaning to sit with all of our thoughts and emotions. Even the most uncomfortable ones like sadness, and anxiety, or those long trains of thought where we cannot recall how we ended up on our final thought. When we practice sitting with our thoughts and emotions, we can begin to become the awareness behind them as opposed to becoming the thought or emotion. So how exactly do we do that? It all begins with a practice I’m sure you’ve at least heard of by now. Meditation.
Meditation can be an incredibly powerful tool when teaching yourself how to not only accept thoughts and emotions and become less reactive to them, but also to become aware of your thoughts and emotions. You may be thinking, what do you mean become aware of my thoughts and emotions, of course I’m aware of them. And if you’ve never tried to meditate before I understand where you’re coming from. So, I would challenge you to sit in a quiet place for even as little as 3 minutes and only focus on your breathing. You may be surprised at not only how often your mind wanders off, but how long it takes you to actually realize it. And that, my friends, is the moment we are looking for.
Once you have been able to identify when you’ve been consumed by a thought or emotion, you’ve given yourself an advantage that not everybody has when it comes to not letting thoughts or emotions get the best of you. The advantage of time. With that little moment in time you carve out taking notice of a thought or emotion you are now able to make a choice. You may choose how you wish to react to this thought or emotion, and this can be very powerful.
Let’s go back to the beginning of this blog. Remember when you were pondering the last time your thoughts or emotions were getting the best of you? Imagine that very moment before you yelled at your child, or chastised your partner, or broke down in tears. Imagine that you had trained yourself to become aware of that mounting sensation and you were able to stop if even for a moment and allow yourself to sit with what you were thinking or feeling. Now imagine that in that tiny moment you were able to accept what you were thinking or feeling, and were able to choose a different reaction, a reaction that you believe would yield a more beneficial outcome. If this sounds appealing to you, meditation may be for you.
So, if you haven’t already, take some time over the next few weeks to look into a meditation practice. There is a ton of information online and my two favorite apps are Calm and Headspace. Both offer free trials so you can see if it’s your thing. Once you’ve decided what works for you with mediation, keep your eyes open for our next blog on meditation tips!