By Maggie Steele
Mindfulness can be an effective way to be with different emotions and accept them for what they are. By becoming aware of the emotions you are feeling, you will be able to recognize them, feel them fully, and let them go.
Tip #1 --- One way to be with an overwhelming feeling is to give a color and shape to the feeling. Close your eyes and see what color comes to mind. What is the temperature of this color? What shape is it? Where in your body is it located? Once you’ve chosen the color and shape of the feeling, gently move the mass out of your body so that you are looking at it floating in front of you. Acknowledge the feeling and give it permission to go. Watch as it floats away until you can’t make it out anymore. Come back to your body, take a few breaths and open your eyes.
Tip #2 --- Start to recognize the difference between a judgmental thought and a non-judgmental thought. For example, if something happens and you hear yourself saying, “I’m such an idiot. I never do the right thing,” be aware of the judgmental tone your thought carries. Once you start to notice the judging voice in your head, you can replace that voice with a non-judgmental voice instead. If the reason you are upset is because you forgot that there was a quiz and therefore, didn’t study, you can reframe your thought so that it is less judgmental and more understanding. For example, you could identify the feeling you are having and work out a specific step you can do in the future. “I feel panicky because I forgot we had a quiz. I’m going to get a planner today so that I don’t forget in the future.” By recognizing the emotions you’re having, you’re giving yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling and making room for that feeling to exist. All of us, no matter how old we are, experience emotions throughout our lives. This is normal. The discomfort comes when we attach judgment to our emotions. “I’m a loser. I should have known that.” “I’m angry. I’ll never be able to be good at that.” Give yourself permission to fully feel whatever you are experiencing. Once you allow yourself to do that, you can then come up with steps that will support you in feeling the way you want to feel.
Tip #3 --- Another effective way to work through an overwhelming feeling is by writing down all of the thoughts you are having about a situation. Sometimes our thoughts cloud our understanding of the situation. As a result, we are unable to identify exactly how we are feeling. Take a pen or pencil and write without stopping for 5 minutes straight. Once you have finished, take those pieces of paper and throw them away. Be quiet for a moment, close your eyes and notice if anything has shifted within you. Bring your awareness inside and notice how you’re feeling.
As a Life Coach and Mindfulness Coach for teens and young adults, Maggie specializes in supporting young adults cope with stress while accomplishing their goals. Maggie is also the author of How I Got My S!*t Together: An Introspective Workbook to Help You Find Your Passion and Purpose in Life. You can learn more about coaching by visiting her site: www.thelifecoachforteens.com!