In this episode (number 47) I want to share with you some ways of being, some things you can do to get out of the state of being emotionally stuck and start moving.
Recently I had conversations with my coachees and with friends about them feeling anxiety and nervousness and continued tiredness and not being able to make decisions, not being able to get out of this state or not being able to even be in this state because they want to be somewhere else, but they can't be somewhere else.
I am in no place to tell exactly what you can do in this position. But I know a couple of things that I have experienced myself, some successfully, some less and some personal insights into this feeling of being stuck that I want to share with you in this episode.
Insights from my past Nervous Breakdown
In the previous episode, I had shared with you my learnings from my nervous breakdown, more and more insights came after this experience.
I have seen it as a fast track to your spiritual growth.
Something that wanted to be let go off was forcefully let go through this experience. And something that needed to be seen was immediately and harshly thrown in front of my face. And it was a forced invite into re alignment with what matters to me.
When I experienced that, it felt terrible, but afterwards, I had such a big connection to love itself. I have seen love from my friends and family and loved ones. And I have started noticing love all around me. I have started noticing the goodness that I was missing a certain gratefulness feeling, came into aliveness in my life.
From that perspective, I am so grateful to this nervous breakdown. And I'm not saying that you should go into a state of nervous breakdown for such an experience of what is important to you. But I want to give you the perspective that what you think as negative might actually be something very positive. We just don't know the fact that something feels uncomfortable, doesn't mean it's bad.
Be open to the goodness of the unknown
Sometimes- or should I say always- learning comes through discomfort because comfort is something that is known to us. Through this known-ness, it's easy. But when something is not known to us, then it becomes uncomfortable or it's not our preferred way. It's out of our preferences and something to be our preferred way we have to know it. So I would say anything that is unknown is most of the time is not our preferred way.
It's difficult, I know, to look into your experience as a possibility of something good, but I want to encourage you to keep for yourself the possibility of the opposite of what you think also being true.
So if something is difficult, there is a possibility of that being easy. If something is bad, there is a possibility of it being good. If you think something is unfriendly, there is a possibility of it being friendly. Maybe there's a percentage. Maybe you see it as like 80% that way, but there is this 20% possibility that it's the other side.
What happens is that when we don't know, we land in the place of knowing, we want to hold onto what we know. And usually what we know and what we hold on to is what is not good.
We don't expect what we don't know to be good. We want to protect ourselves from possible badness. So we want to rather work with the possibility of badness in the future.
That might be true. That possibility might be there, but I want you to allow the possibility of things being good.
Coming from this possibility of things being good, I also want to invite you. If there is this possibility of things being good, what can you do? Or how can you be so that when it appears, you can see it, you can perceive it?
How can you make yourself available to perceive the goodness that is in the future? The goodness that can come? The goodness that already is there?
Start with the goodness of you
When we are feeling emotionally stuck, we are caught up in anxiety or anger or stress or unhappiness, depression...
We see the whole picture as that thing that we think it is. We see the badness of it all because it feels bad and we see ourselves bad. We are angry. We are helpless. We are powerless. We are not good enough.
There is a general state of badness. As I suggested to you in the beginning to see the possibility of goodness in the future and to make yourself available for it, I want to invite you to see the goodness in yourself.
Whenever you feel bad and you feel terrible you are over- focusing on what is bad and what is terrible. You are losing possibly your innate goodness, your trust in yourself. And you can come back to your ground, your basic goodness, by remembering the goodness in you.
That takes effort. That takes effort because you need to intentionally pay attention. You need to intentionally look into the goodness in yourself. You need to take time to be with, with yourself.
The normal state is you don't do that because when you are stuck in this bad mood, your mind continues to make thoughts and you follow them. And in this cycle you don't have space. One thing is immediately needed when you are caught up : space. Allowing yourself the space.
And that's also, I can understand not easy. Because when we are feeling stuck and we are feeling bad and we're feeling maybe ashamed, we want to solve this. We want to do something immediately. We want to change the situation, but the thing is this immediate push to change to solve the problem is never really tapping into your full being and full resourcefulness. That would be a very compromised way of acting. So before you act, before you do anything, before you change anything, before you solve the problem, create space for yourself.
Imagine this, like you being your own mother and opening your arms to yourself and embracing yourself. You don't have to do anything. Just this feeling of being embraced in care is enough to have space.
Methods for Creating Space for Yourself
One thing you can do, you can introduce to your life practices such as meditation. You can introduce to your life a movement practice like yoga, like walking, like swimming: a practice where you feel, how you feel, however you feel without any need to change things, need to push things, need to prove yourself, need to be different, but just being as you are where you can just let go, where you can get off of your own shoulder and just be.
While I'm telling you this, I'm also embracing this and embodying this, and I'm immediately sitting up with a strong back because that is the powerful posture. But at the same time, my front body is soft and I allowed myself to be, as I am, don't have to change anything about myself.
You intentionally create the space for yourself by introducing certain practices to your life. And that is kind of general practice that thanks to the nervous breakdown or being emotionally stuck in a state, you start introducing these practices to your life that will benefit you also in the long term.
The benefit of this practice or these practices is that we are grounding ourselves back in the body. We are not following the thinking process, but we are being because we are feeling the bodily sensations and not mingling with the thoughts.
You can also do something about the thoughts as well. One practice you can introduce to our life is called morning papers. This is what Julia Cameron calls it in her book: The Artist's Way. I call it vomit papers, because you can write like whatever is in your mind. On paper, giving yourself time, like give yourself 10 minutes or 15 minutes or even five minutes. When your mind is full with thoughts, put them down. It can even be: "What is this process? It sucks. I don't want to write anything. Oh, I'm so tired. I'm angry. This shouldn't have been done to me. Oh, I'm writing again. I'm tired." You write everything that comes from your mind. So you allow yourself to let go, let go, let go. And hopefully this letting go process will create space for you where you will be available for seeing the possibility of goodness.
For general practices after you let go what you can do is you can set yourself up for seeing what you want to see. What does that mean? You envision yourself as who you want to be in your day.
You can see yourself as this powerful person who is going through the day, is understanding herself is able to listen to others, is able to work through everything that comes, whatever you envision, but you see yourself as your powerful whole person.
You can also envision your environment, what you want to see, maybe you want to see goodness in your colleagues, in your work.
The process of envisioning helps us to set our minds to perceive things that we want to experience. Because when we are stuck in an emotional state, we tend to see the dark picture and we don't have much ability to see the goodness. So with this intention, setting the intention, envisioning, we are allowing ourselves the possibility to see the goodness.
This can be part of your morning practice, and this can also be a practice you can introduce before important events during the day, maybe before a meeting before you will have an important talk.
These are the general practices that I would like to suggest to you. Then I have a couple of acute practices.
Acute Practices when Emotions are Strong
When you are totally swallowed into a big emotion what you can first do is to recognise and allow. You allow yourself, without any shame, you allow yourself to feel whatever you feel. And feel the texture of. Let go of the thoughts and storytelling, but come to the body and feel all the sensations that this emotion presents itself with.
For example, if it's anger, you feel your cheeks burning, maybe your chest aching, your arms, getting tense, whatever. If it's sadness, maybe you are feeling closing up in your body, a certain coolness, whatever, allow yourself to feel whatever you're feeling. Like the mothering ourselves, like embrace and nurture yourself as you are in this moment. That's okay. You have this feeling and you are here safe with you with the world.
When you embrace yourself and you allow it to be, then you can ground yourself. You can ground yourself. You can sit really giving your weight to the ground you're sitting like your chair, and you can really let your feet touch the ground, find your ground, and you can look around and recognize the room that you are in.
And recognize the space that you occupy here and now. You are home. You are here, you are accepted, you are part. What you feel matters, who you are matters. Come to that sense, come to that place of groundedness, trust, and power.
If you are in a place where you could have a bit of time, not so much, you can practice the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 mindfulness technique to ground yourself.
This is especially useful when there are high levels of anxiety. After grounding yourself, after taking breaths, what you can do is first look and notice five things. I'm looking at a book right now, here. There is a pillow. I see the camera. There is a microphone, here's a cable, five things you can see.
Then four things you can feel.
My hands are on my legs. I'm feeling the tights that I have on today. I have a jacket on, it's like a bit of a fluffy material here that is a notebook. It has a leather cover. The temperature is cool. I have the table I'm touching. It's hard. I think that has been 4.
Then three things you can hear. Now you are focusing on your hearing perception. What is farthest, for example, I'm hearing a car outside. I can hear electrical sounds from cables, like a humming sound. And I can hear one of my cats walking, three things you can hear. For you, maybe it will be again, outside noise, people talking, you will hear maybe some cracking sound, something that you can pay attention to with your hearing perception.
Then we go to number two, two things you can smell. I'm smelling the air. It smells a bit dusty here and I'm smelling my wrist. Doesn't smell much of anything, maybe a bit of soap.
And now one thing you can taste. For this, I'm using already my mouth, like the general taste in my mouth. If you have an apple or something, you can taste the apple or maybe chocolate, but if you don't have anything, if you are in a meeting or something, you can also really feel the taste in your mouth.
And through this 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method, five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste you are grounding yourself back through your sense perceptions. You are creating yourself space. You are activating your body and aligning your mind with your body because your attention goes to your sense perceptions. And now you should notice that there is a shift in your energy. It might not be a lot. You might still feel what you have felt before, but now there is more space than before.
Another exercise that is easier is from mental fitness training from Shirzad Chamine He has a book about saboteurs. And he's taught me about these exercises you can do when you are caught up. There are mindfulness exercises, but he created shorter, simpler versions. And one thing that he's also using, hearing, seeing sensing, tasting, breathing, and he is suggesting that you rub your finger tips to each other and feel the sensation, the ridges of your skin, touching each other, you do it for 20 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute, however you can do it. And this allows you to stay with. Be present with pay attention to your body, align your mind and body and create space, mental space for yourself. That's another thing you can do when you are caught up in an emotional state to allow yourself some space.
If you feel it's continuing to happen for you, you are caught up in a long time in an emotional state please get help, please consult therapists, psychological professionals to get some help. These creates space but if you have trauma experience, you might need deeper work and you need to care for yourself. Please get help.
If it's something that you can go through and you are well, then you can include these practices in your life: the general practices: we talked about meditation, body activity, vomit writing, or morning pages, setting intention in the beginning of the day envisioning, and also before important events and acute activities such as this 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 mindfulness exercise and this mindfulness exercise with the finger and the grounding yourself.
Water the Seeds of Goodness in You
You can introduce these practices to your life and make use of them. And you can in general take care of your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing. They go hand in hand. Attend to yourself and be willing to turn towards your experience. Be willing to see what is good about you. The word that I love is " water the seeds of goodness in you.". See the goodness in you, trust in the goodness in you, work with this goodness through setting your intentions, through setting your mind so you can recognize the goodness and use this goodness to go further. And when you have the calm space, when you have established yourself in the focus of this goodness about you, then you can look into what it is that is emerging, that you can step into. Instead of solving a problem what can you co-create with life? What is awaiting you? What is calling you? What can you experiment?
You change the narrative from "escaping from and solving" to "stepping into becoming, co-creating, embracing, welcoming", and then you will notice so much help for you out there.
To be able to notice the help also set yourself to reach out, to express yourself, to ask for help That will help you also to care about your nervous system, because we are mammals. We are human beings that support each other, other person's confidence, and well-being is a support for your confidence and well-being so reach out to others to talk with them. You can do co-regulation of your nervous system, a term from polyvagal theory. And look forward to life. Embrace your life. Be open for goodness that is inviting you to step into .
That's it from me today. It was a pleasure. Thank you for being with me. And I'm hoping to talk to you in the next episode.