One of the most common issues people bring to our sessions is not knowing how to get through their feelings. We therapists call this processing. For many of us actually feeling our feelings is not something we have much experience with. Sadness, anger, fear, grief, can be confusing emotions that have the capability of completely weighing us down and even throwing us into a depression. Sometimes, we suppress our feelings so much that they begin to affect us physically, tricking us into believing that we have a medical problem. Anxiety attacks become heart problems, and trauma turns into an auto-immune disease. Learning how to work with our feelings is a basic area of growth and today I’m going to go over 5 Healthy Ways You Can Process Your Feelings.
See A Therapist
Talking out your thoughts with a professional is one way to process your feelings. Therapists are experts in active listening and in helping you make sense of what’s going on in your head. Together you form a team that is on a mission to find answers to your questions. Just talking out loud and labeling your emotions will alleviate negative responses in your brain.
Take A Walk
Walking can be a very effective way of processing feelings. Not only does it get you out of your current emotionally turmoil environment and into a calm, fresh one, it also is natural way of prompting bilateral stimulation. Many certified therapists use bi-lateral stimulation as a form of trauma recovery in their office. It is a stimuli (visual, auditory or tactile) which occur in a rhythmic left-right pattern. You’ll notice that if you go for a walk and focus deliberately on distressing emotions and events, you might experience some rapid eye movement followed by a release of the upsetting feelings. This is your brain processing.
Listen To Music
We tend to listen to music that reflects our moods. When we’re happy we turn on music that brings out joy. When we are anxious or angry, the music we choose to play indicates those feelings. Not only can music reflect your current mood, but it also has the ability to change your mood! Next time you’re feeling angry, try listening to something calm or upbeat and see what a difference it makes!
You can learn a lot about your own emotions through your taste in music. If you’re ever unsure of what you’re feeling, ask yourself, “what am I in the mood to listen to?” That will provide some insight into your mind.
Journaling is always my first recommendation when it comes to questions about processing feelings. People who get their emotions down on paper, experience noticeable improvement in their physical and emotional well-being. Remember my blog How Insight About The Left & Right Brain Can Lead To Euphoria? Well emotions sit in the right brain and writing occurs in the left. When you write down your feelings, you are literally helping your brain process from only feeling, to something much more logical, writing.
Draw Your Feelings
Just like speaking or writing, art is a form of expressing your emotions. Being creative and enabling yourself to emote in a more artistically expressive way can help people to reduce stress, resolve conflicts, improve self-esteem, and achieve other important self-identifying insights. If you’re of the artistic mind, next time you’re feeling something that you’re not quite sure how to process, take out that paint brush or those color pencils and see what comes up for you!