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41. Stress Relief For The Holidays With Mindfulness and Deep Breathing – Mindful Actions
Let’s talk about feelings today. Which, in all honesty, is something I really hate to talk about. Ask my husband, I hate talking about my feelings, but I’m working on it. I’ll listen to other people talk about their own feelings, I just don’t like to talk about mine. Which is why the podcast is perfect because I get to talk about feelings in general, and still avoid mine! Just kidding. Seriously, I’m working on it.
Grow Through Discomfort
This is one of the things I have to work hard to focus my mindfulness around the most. Here is how I 100% know that mindfulness is working for me, though. I know that talking about my feelings is something I need to work on it. I am now aware that I avoid my feelings. Whereas in the past, I subconsciously pretended my feelings were non-existent. Now I know that I’m doing that because I’m being present and acknowledging my own thoughts and physical response to things. It is no longer invisible to me. I am present. I am aware.
Sometimes, that’s all the verification we need to know we’re succeeding at something or making progress. Just simple acknowledgment and validation.
This leads perfectly into our discussion on validating your feelings. We say this, and I say this, a lot in the the mindfulness and meditation world. During meditations, we often say “your feelings are valid”.
But what if they’re not? What if your feelings are a completely inappropriate reaction to what is happening? I had someone ask me this the other day, and we had a fabulous discussion around it. They said, Beth, I deal with depression and anxiety. I need someone, who I can trust, to tell me when I’m overreacting or blowing things way out of proportion. I need reassurance that this, in fact, is not the worst possible thing to happen. So how can I think to myself that my feelings are valid, when I know that they’re not?
I’ve thought a lot about this since we talked, what I believe it comes down to, is when we say your feelings are valid, it’s not necessarily that your feelings are always going to be the right reaction. It means that you’re allowed to feel what you feel, and you shouldn’t put yourself down for feeling a certain way. You’re allowed to feel what you feel. Especially in that first, initial response to something. You’re allowed to feel stress, and panic, or frustration, or anger. You’re even allowed to laugh at inappropriate times, or have moments of joy in times severe grief. You have every right to feel those things in that moment. But how you deal with the feelings afterwards is where it counts the most.
The key here, again, is going back to what I said earlier. It’s all about the awareness, understanding, and acknowledgment that you know why you responded a certain way. You can take ownership of that and then reflect on it and realize, you know what, maybe I was overreacting a bit. Or maybe this reaction kind of influenced that argument. You’re able to see that the other person isn’t totally at fault, I’m not totally at fault, we just reacted differently. That is just your full range of emotions showing itself. We all have highs and lows. Every human encompasses this. Then, as you use mindfulness to help you diver deeper and understand why you feel the way you feel, you have the ability to communicate it to others and talk it through. This is the real impact of knowing how and why your feelings are valid.
You have the ability to say, hey, can we talk a little bit more about what happened earlier now that we’ve had time to calm down and process it? We want to make sure that we’re not using the saying of your feelings are valid, as an excuse to create or avoid conflict. I’m not telling you that anybody should say “well thats how I feel, so thats what stands”. Yes, it’s how YOU feel. Someone else might feel differently. It’s just how your mind and your body responded at first. That’s all it is. Honestly, the truth behind saying your feelings are valid is that it’s a gateway into your soul to help you to understand why you do the things that you do. It’s a form of being present. It’s a form of better understanding yourself. What’s that again, say it louder for the people in the back….
Emotional Maturity And Support
I also want to say that recognizing this is also a way to to protect yourself and see emotional maturity in other people. I recorded an Instagram Reel the other day with an audio clip from Oprah (I think it was Oprah that said “when people show you who they are, believe them. The first time, not the 29th time”. So in other words, if someone minimizes you and your feelings instead of allowing for mature discussions around it, maybe they’re not someone that’s a good fit for you and your life. That is a whole other topic for another day, but I just wanted to remind you that validation of feelings needs to go both ways. It needs to be internal, and also reflected externally to you by the people in your life. But it STARTS with you. When you believe in yourself.
So, your mindful action for this week. This is going to be a tough one. I will stick with your throughout the week on social media to help you through it. Your mindful action for this week is literally to validate your feelings. You’re going to take note throughout the week of how you feel at different times of each day. For this, you might want to dedicate a page in your journal to your emotional tracking. Or a simple note in your phone.
Then you’re going to work on understanding why you feel that way. Did you feel anger at some point and then tried to place blame on yourself or someone else for it? Did you feel helpless with a certain situation? Did you feel jealousy when something good happened to someone else, so then you felt guilt for not feeling happiness for them right away? Emotions are a crazy thing. There’s a reason why we call it an emotional rollercoaster. You can be feeling one thing one moment and a completely opposite thing the next moment. I want you to try and break this down and follow where your emotions go. I’m not asking you to solve anything. I’m just asking you to be aware and acknowledge the feelings that come up and how they build and shift into your next set of emotions. Ok?
So, just remember. Your feelings are valid. You’re allowed to feel what you feel, in the heat of the moment, and then once you’ve had a few moments to process, your next steps are what will determine the actual direction of the situation. Your mantra for today is not, my feelings are valid, which was very tempting to do, but instead it will be: I give myself and my emotions room to grow.
Guided Meditation for Emotional Support
Settle into your meditation position. Grounded on the floor, in a chair, or in your bed. Palms facing up, eyes closed, or with a low soft gaze. And breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth, in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
Breathe in and notice the elements of the air. is it cool and dry? Is it thick with humidity? What does the air feel like going into your body? Focus only on truly experiencing the inhales for a few moments.
Now, notice the exact moment your body shifts from the inhale to the exhale. What happens? Is there a gentle pause, or is it a completely fluid movement? How does the air feel when it’s leaving your body? Take a moment to only focus on the exhales.
Now put it all together. Focus on the breath as a whole. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Every movement in your body is created on the inhale and the exhale. Every movement is a series of pushing and pulling. Expanding and contracting. Our body and our movements are one.
The same thing happens with out thoughts and emotions. Nothing is ever one-sided. Nothing that we experience is definitive. There is always going to be another emotion tugging at us, wanting more. There was a quote I read recently from mindful.org that stated meditation trains you to be resilient. The more you can learn to stay with all the highs and lows of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, the more strength you can bring to each moment and experience.
So let’s focus on our mantra for a few moments. Breathe deeply through this as I recite it. Allowing yourself to grow a bit taller with each inhale. Giving your body a sense of strength and resiliency.
I give myself and my emotions room to grow.
I give myself and my emotions room to grow.
I give myself and my emotions room to grow.
Now let your breath fall back to normal, and sit with this for a few more moments.
Your feelings are valid. You are forever growing and learning with how to process and deal with them. Don’t be too hard on yourself for feeling a certain way. Simply acknowledge what happened, how you feel, and how it is affecting you. It’s not right or wrong. It’s just what it is. A simple emotion. When you think of it that way, I hope it helps you process it in a way that is best for you. Now go out and have a great week. And don’t forget to follow me on social media to check-in on how your mindful action is going for this week. Namaste.