Category: Low Energy

How to connect with negative emotions: sadness

Being raised in an environment of emotional neglect does not mean you cannot have a healthy relationship with your emotions as an adult. When you approach them with maturity, they become a natural expression of your humanity, and not a “pathology” or an inconvenience that has to be dealt with, medicated or controlled. Because emotions tell us about who we are, the moment we are currently living and how certain events and others affect us, they are a great source of self-knowledge. Moreover, self-regulation does not materialise without emotional connection, no matter how hard you try to avoid or deny the presence of your emotions, they will stay with you until you give them the attention they require to be fully processed. To help you befriend your negative emotions and increase your ability to self-soothe, the upcoming articles will cover some basic techniques on how to build an open relationship with sadness, anger and fear. Below, you will find 5 simple tips on how to connect with sadness:

How to connect with negative emotions: sadness
Sadness reminds us of what is missing in our lives that is important to us

1- Raise self-awareness

If you do not know how you are feeling right now, you will not connect with your emotions, positive or negative. For that reason, it is vital that you create the habit of checking in with yourself, every so often, to find out how you are doing. From time to time, or when you detect some kind of emotional discomfort, ask yourself, “How am I feeling?”. Then, identify when you are feeling sad and move to the next step.

2- Take a break and focus

When you notice you feel sad, go somewhere quiet and private to connect wholeheartedly with that feeling. Consciously direct your focus to your inner world, what is going through your mind and your bodily sensations. In this open and mindful state of being, there is nothing more urgent and relevant than the present moment. Stay with yourself and your feelings for a little while until you have an open channel of communication with your body.

3- Listen to the body

What is your body saying about your current emotional state? Are you feeling energetic, socially engaged and motivated, or lethargic and wanting to be alone or even isolate from others? Do you feel like you could cry, or pressure/tension in the chest and/or throat area? Is there a feeling of heaviness in your limbs and body? Connecting freely with those physical sensations, or listening to your own body, will open the channels of communication with your sadness.

4- Register your sadness’ message

Now that you have accessed your sadness, what is it telling you? One of the main roles of sadness is to grieve our losses and remind us of what is missing in our lives that is important to us. Are you missing a sense of purpose, yourself, or the company of others? If not, could you be missing someone, a good feeling or time in your past, or something you might never have experienced to the fullest, such as a true sense of community or love?

5- Let the tears flow

The quickest and most effective way to process sadness is to have a good cry.  When you feel your eyes hot with tears, just let them flow. Do not hold them back or make them stop, but let them find their way out of your body and free you of your pain. As emotional tears contain stress hormones, they are a natural means to help you regulate and restore your emotional balance.

As it is the case with all other “negative” emotions, such as fear and anger, deeply connecting with your sadness can be extremely beneficial to your emotional, psychological and physical health. Instead of fighting against it, embracing your sadness and learning from it help you redirect your focus to what you identify with and makes you feel good. If you would like to live a more fulfilling, authentic and happier life, it is vital that you replace your rigid beliefs about sadness as something to be avoided or repressed, and open your body to its wisdom and healing power.

20 self-care ideas and activities for 2019

20 self-care ideas and activities for 2019
Change does come about when you look after yourself

As another year draws to a close, the need for lifestyle changes may feel more pressing to some of us. Whatever your needs are, change does come about when you look after yourself and prioritise what favours the whole of you, body and mind. If you believe in this concept but would like help translating it into action, below you will find 20 self-care ideas and activities to take better care of yourself in 2019:

  1. Go for short power walks (20 to 30 minutes) to keep you physically and mentally fit
  2. Put in place good sleep hygiene practices such as avoiding caffeine, smoking and drinking alcohol close to bedtime to improve sleep quality
  3. Incorporate breathing exercises into your daily routine to help you manage stress
  4. Try out a 8-week mindfulness meditation programme to help you focus and reconnect with yourself
  5. Stop smoking and cut back on alcohol and sugar to prevent disease
  6. Drink more water and eat more fruit and vegetables to boost your immune system
  7. Do yoga from home or go to a yoga studio once or twice a week to feel more flexible
  8. Start a Daily Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts to help you question negative thinking
  9. Listen to your body and slow down when feeling overwhelmed to avoid burnout
  10. Raise you level of awareness and identify the emotions that precede dysfunctional and excessive behaviour to promote self-regulation and control
  11. Practice self-acceptance and love by regularly recognising the value of your efforts to raise self-esteem
  12. When sad, angry, fearful and/or ashamed, connect with those feelings to become emotionally congruent and whole
  13. Treat emotional and psychological issues with respect and seek the help of a mental health professional to deal with them
  14. Watch comedy films and series to remind you to laugh and be silly
  15. Invest time and effort in functional and rewarding relationships to feel truly connected and happy
  16. Keep contact with friends to have a good support network
  17. Make time for socialising and meeting new people to have a satisfying social life
  18. When walking, cycling or driving, get out of your head to appreciate your surroundings
  19. Take longer or more frequent walks with your children and/or pets to keep you all healthy
  20. Start a new activity (be it mental or physical) to stimulate cognitive functioning

To take full advantage of the above and notice a change in the way you feel, make your chosen practices routine. Remind yourself that perseverance and patience are key when it comes to effective change.

4 reasons why feeling sorry for yourself helps you grow

Intolerance against negative feelings is so widespread, that it is acceptable to feel sorry for others, but not for oneself. The belief that supports that rigid, all-or-nothing mentality, often equates feeling sad or even depressed to an act of self-victimisation, as if melancholy were solely a means to deceiving others or attracting attention to oneself. Those who identify with that perspective struggle to validate their own suffering, especially when persistent. Contrary to popular belief, however, never truly accessing the root of emotional discomfort does not make it go away, but it tends to extend its life unnecessarily. To help you let go of the prejudiced notion that feeling and expressing vulnerability is always a sign of weakness, here are 4 reasons why feeling sorry for yourself helps you grow:

4 reasons why feeling sorry for yourself helps you grow
Feeling sorry for yourself may work as a wake-up call to make positive life style changes

1- You become more emotionally aware and whole

When you allow yourself to feel without judgement, you naturally become more receptive and mindful of your emotional states. Learning how to live at peace with your feelings, in turn, boosts emotional congruence and confidence, which also means giving a powerful voice to your authentic self. As a result, you feel more connected with the whole of you: your mind, body and true identity, leading a more fulfilling and rewarding life.

2- It motivates you into taking action

Feeling sorry for yourself may work as a wake-up call to make positive life style changes. That is because life dissatisfaction and disappointment tend to lead to a process of intense self-evaluation and reassessment. There is nothing quite like hitting rock bottom to motivate one into adapting to new circumstances, repairing relationships and replacing bad habits with healthier ones.

3- It helps you improve emotional health

Increased awareness and respect for negative feelings enables you to quickly identify what is wrong and do something about it. As physical pain, emotional discomfort is there to warn you of potential dangers to your wellbeing. When you address your own inadequateness in a conscious, mature manner and without shaming and blaming yourself, you feel more centred and stronger. Your ability to deal with whatever is bothering you proactively – and even ask for help if needed – increases, which influences emotional health positively.

4- You become more compassionate and tolerant

The extremely biased connotation of “feeling sorry for yourself” reflects a culture of emotional neglect and intolerance. Thinking badly about yourself for feeling disheartened only promotes self-contempt and a self-criticising attitude. When you start embracing and honouring all your feelings, however, you not only become more understanding and empathic towards yourself, but others. Consequently, you also connect more easily with those around you and relationships become more functional.

It is not human to feel good or happy all the time. Therefore, it is not shameful to feel sorry for yourself when sadness takes over. Nobody should feel guilty for expressing genuinely felt negative emotions. If you would like to feel connected and live a more authentic life, it may be time to let go of your prejudice against feeling and expressing negative emotions, such as fear and shame. An all-or-nothing mentality that wrongly assumes that if you allow yourself to feel the full intensity of your sadness or even cry, “you will never stop”, keeps you emotionally stuck and hinders your personal growth and development. To fight that tendency, start acting “as if” you do not care about how others perceive your pain and dare to be yourself, whatever that means.