Let it go, your yoga teacher murmurs before chanting Ommmmmm.
And you’re trying, really you are. But the worry keeps gnawing at your belly…
And then the initial worry, the one sparked by a few odd words your partner said over coffee this morning, gets compounded by a new worry: What does it mean that I can’t let this go? And then you’re spiraling into the morass of worrying about your worry. Before you know it class is over and you’ve shavasaned your way into a tizzy.
Once you’ve landed in the Emotional Fun House, you’ll see your emotion-of-choice reflected back and multiplied in countless reflective surfaces. You’ll be angry at yourself for feeling angry, feel guilty that you’re wallowing in guilt, and worry about your obsessive worry.
It becomes almost comical if you can step back and view your little hamster-on-a-wheel mind from a distance…
But if you can’t, how do you just let it go when it’s coming at you from all angles?
Here’s my three-step plan (’cause we all love a three-step plan, right?) to rescue yourself from the Emotional Fun House!
1. Start with Compassion…
… for yourself (novel concept, right?). This multiplying effect—the worry about the worry and the anger about the anger—is a direct result of judging yourself and finding said self lacking for feeling an emotion!
Trace back the reason you’re emoting in a certain way and see if, at the root of it, you don’t find a deep seed of caring.
I know, I know, many people say the reason for most of our emotions is fear. But I’d like to posit that…If you dig deeper than fear, you usually find caring. Click To Tweet
You’re worried about what your partner said over coffee because you care about them and your relationship (if you stop at I’m scared they’ll leave me you haven’t dug deep enough).
You feel guilty about taking up too much of your web designer’s time (yes, I’m speaking from experience!) not because you’re scared they won’t like you, but because you actually respect their time.
So quit listening to the people who tell you your motives are fear-based ’cause that’s just giving you another thing to beat yourself up over. Nothing is all one thing—there might be a fear mixed in. But you get to choose how you’re gonna spin this for yourself. So decide to dig into your psyche ’til you get to the good stuff: the caring, the respect, the love.
Because from this place you can stop the self-flagellation, which means you can get off the hamster wheel.
2. Do a Check-In
Empaths and highly sensitive souls always need to check in when emotions are running rampant.
There are 2 questions to ask yourself:
Brain-on-the-hamster wheel or intuition?
If it’s a thought, it’s brain-on-the-hamster wheel. If it’s a feeling (i.e. no words and located somewhere below your chin), it’s intuition. Remember intuition happens in your body. And intuition needs to be heeded: that’s why we have it.
Mine or not mine?
3. See What that Stuck Emotion Can Tell You about You
In Chinese Medicine emotional excess is a sign that you’re out of balance.
- If your Fire is out of balance, you may experience excessive joy & passion… or lack of joy & passion
- If your Earth is out of balance you may experience excessive worry or pensiveness
- If your Metal is out of balance you may experience excessive grief, sadness, or self-righteousness
- If your Water is out of balance you may experience excessive fear
- If your Wood is out of balance you may experience excessive anger
If you step back, analyze your emotional state, and then go research how to balance what’s out of balance in your energy body from a Chinese Medicine point of view, something kind of amazing happens: the hamster hops off the wheel ’cause it’s got something better to do.
It’s hard to distract the hamster… but one thing I’ve learned: hamsters always want to learn more about themselves. Give them a job which involves self-discovery and the wheel will be left far behind!
So… what’s your emotion of choice and what does it tell you about you?