Process your feelings with these four steps
Amid such unimaginable circumstances, we’re left overwhelmed by the tragedy and grief that covers us. Many of us are in a state of emotional overdrive; we feel everything and nothing all at once. We are paralyzed by the “extraordinariness” of life in quarantine that we do not confront our emotions—maybe out of fear, or even fatigue. We’re drowning and we need relief.
Amid difficult times, resilience may mean recognizing our feelings and making space for them. If suppressed and left unchecked for a period of time, unhealthy patterns may result. Emotions are, after all, a central part of our consciousness.
Looking inward on a regular basis, even if that means taking a few minutes to journal or tune into your feelings through mindful meditation (Headspace, perhaps?), is essential. Initiating these micro-habits, these small efforts, to shift our perspectives and give ourselves empathy, is a type of self-care. Wellbeing is not something that happens spontaneously; it’s something that we invest in—not necessarily with money, but with our time and energy.
Navigate through your emotions by enlarging that sacred space. Where to start? Harness these four steps towards emotional stability.
It’s okay to recognize the discomfort we feel when we’re not okay. Amid quarantine when we’re living through one worst-case scenario after another, processing may take a while, and it’s understandable. Ask yourself these important questions: What am I feeling? Do I have any judgments about the feelings I have? Am I having any urges to repress these feelings?
Emphasize the need to pay attention to your inner thoughts. Self-validation is essential! Ultimately, when we take care of ourselves, we take care of other people.
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We call upon the power of reframing—naming our feelings to tame them. It can be through reading a good book, talking to a confidante or even mindless journaling. Sift through what you can and can’t control to overcome helplessness. Think: What can I take action on?
Accepting (or Allowing)
Let your emotions be felt by your body. Establishing a compassionate internal connection with yourself activates a self-soothing response that regulates you back into safety. Will you meet this emotion and permit it to occupy your mind, even for a while, or completely disassociate? This is a conscious choice you need to make from moment to moment.
Acting on It
Ruminating is one thing, taking action, once emotions are fully processed, is another. Addressing these emotions means acknowledging them and reframing your thinking. Do you need to establish boundaries? Do you need to apologize? Do you need to assert yourself? Do you need to let a feeling pass?
In a time when we’re all overloaded with emotions, it’s essential to regulate these in an attempt to take care of our mental health. Navigating self-isolation in prolonged lockdown means welcoming emotions and ultimately, controlling these, instead of being consumed by it.
Art Alexandra Lara