When we're overwhelmed with any “negative” emotion - anxiety, stress, overwhelm, anger, sadness, even frustration or disappointment - what do we do?
We resist it, stuff it or explain it away. This is the cause of continued suffering, and it’s completely optional.
Whenever you’re having a hard time with something, you also have the choice to do the opposite: accept it fully.
This does not mean accepting your crappy situation. It means accepting your reaction to the situation. You will be amazed at the beautiful power in doing this and the positive affect it can have on the situation as a whole.
This is one of my favorite tools. No matter how advanced you are in your personal development, we all have bad days. And the benefits of this exercise extend far beyond the point at which the emotional charge releases. With continuous long-term practice, this work can be life changing. It rewires us.
And the best part? It’s so simple!
Don’t be fooled by its simplicity. Moving toward your negative emotions (instead of away) is uncomfortable, even though it only lasts for a few moments. That’s why most people never do this.
But you, my friend, are not most people. You’re excited by the opportunity to challenge yourself and tap into your innate strength.
Practice this straightforward 4-step process the next time you’re hit hard with some nasty emotions:
Recognize and name it. What is the specific emotion you’re having? In your head or out loud, say, “I’m feeling anxious right now,” or “I’m feeling frustrated and disappointed right now.”
Get centered in your body. Take several deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. While continuing to practice this deep breathing, say to yourself, “I accept this feeling. I’m feeling really anxious right now, and I accept it fully. I accept it. I accept it.” Accept it as if it was good for you, as if you consciously chose this for yourself.
Notice the shift in your body sensations as you do this. Notice any new thoughts, feelings or physical reactions that surface as your initial emotions start to calm and pass. Whatever comes, accept it fully. No judgments. No analyzing. Just “yes.” This present moment of Now is all that there ever is.
Hydrate! Drink LOTS and lots of water. I cannot emphasize this enough. Emotional charges are exhausting and your body will need to recover, even from a minor upset. Plus, drinking water is just plain good for you. It’s one of the easiest ways to stay physically and mentally balanced throughout your busy day.
You could be in the middle of crying your eyes out, or in a blind rage. But if you put your full focus and attention on this exercise and allow your body to feel it utterly and completely, you will start the process of letting go. It’s ironic, right? By letting it in, you’re finally able to let it out.
It may not happen in an instant, especially when you’re new to this practice. Give it five or ten minutes. This temporary emotional experience will pass at least three times as quickly if you practice acceptance. It works so well, it’s almost hard to believe until you try it for yourself.
Of course, the situation or problem that triggered you will still exist. That’s life. You can handle that part. Maybe you don’t see the solution yet, but it will come. Like I always say: We are all born with everything we need to succeed in this lifetime. You got this. And now, through applying this tool and getting better at it with practice, you’ll move toward the solution more quickly and with clarity.
Why does it work?
Because you aren’t resisting the situation by saying everything is fine, or by telling yourself to just get over it and let it go. And you aren’t attempting to bypass it by jumping too quickly into “rational brain” problem solving. You’re simply accepting the experience for what is. This allows you to complete the neurological process happening inside you and move on forever from this particular upset.
Think of where you might be the next time you’re triggered by something. At work? At home? In the car?
Now, plan ahead by thinking through how you’ll be most likely to succeed in a) remembering that this tool exists so you can use it in the moment, and b) using the tool even if you’re in a distracting environment. For instance, if you work at a busy office, could you step away from your desk and quietly do this in the bathroom? Do you need to bookmark this page on your phone and have your phone with you in order to do the exercise?
Simply take a few moments to form your action plan now. This will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll get the benefit from this tool when you need it most.
Coming up, stay tuned for next week’s goodies! You'll receive an email containing Five Fear Busting Questions to Move You Forward.
Love + abundance,