When was the last time you felt emotionally heavy?
Given that we’re in over 18-month long stretch of a pandemic, I’d guess not that long ago. Life can be a real emotional rollercoaster, especially during challenging times.
For all I know, you may be in that kind of tough spot right now - the emotional equivalent of a room where all the windows are draped shut and there's a weird staleness in the air… not pleasant for sure.
But know that you don't simply have to endure it, there's a way to deal with it in a constructive way.
In fact, I'll share with you a tool that always works for me, and after talking to a friend recently, I felt this could really help many other people.
It’s a perspective shift that comes in the form of a question.
So when we’re in an emotional funk, for whatever reason, we may first just get caught in it and not feel the need to do anything about it. It’s OK, right even, to feel the emotions and let them pass through. (Did you know that emotions only tend to last for a matter of seconds or minutes if we don't interfere with them?)
The main reason our dark moods often stretch for longer than they should though, is because we’re actively (albeit unknowingly) clinging onto them, intensifying them with our overthinking about the matter, our mind creating excellent worst case scenarios...
...and then having secondary thoughts a.k.a. self-criticism or shame about the fact that we’re feeling and thinking that way. Adding insult to injury basically.
The problem there is that we’re giving all our attention to the issue, the problem, the struggle, adding fuel to the fire of an already negative emotional experience. We are using our mind, or rather it is using us, completely unconstructively!
If we had healthy ways (=skills) to process our emotions, we’d feel them for a short period of time, let go and move on.
But if we don't, we keep dragging ourselves down, not seeing a way out, and letting other areas of our lives to suffer too... because who is a productive, effective or inspired human being when feeling that way?
Now I'm not a doctor or a therapist, and if you're finding that your mental health is severely affected, do seek professional help. But for those that feel sufficiently in control of their emotional landscape at this time and want to do something about their dark mood, what I'm about to share may really help.
The tool that I offer here is to bring CURIOSITY to the matter. To shift your attention.
To ask - “What’s on the other side?”
The 'other side' is the side diametrically opposite to the one we’ve been absorbed in so far, the opposite of the emotional downward spiral that’s been dragging us down.
Like in physics where every action has an equal and opposite reaction, it is so in our personality, energy, and experience of life too.
We’re full of internal opposites, and that’s completely natural. The key is to grow our awareness which puts us in the driver’s seat so we can CHOOSE which energy we need when, and live our life from a place of ownership and personal power.
So in the context of moving out of an emotional funk, this means - what’s on the other side of this emotional downward spiral?
By asking this we open the door to it, we invite in what already IS on the other side, available to us at all times, but not accessed when we give all our attention to the darker emotions we’ve been caught up in.
By asking the question, we’re acknowledging that there is always light on the other side, and it is on us to open the door for it to shine in.
So what is on the other side for you, in the situation you’re currently in?
Is it hope, inner strength, love, what you value in life? Is it joy, curiosity, resilience, courage?
Really look for those emotional qualities that are there and that are going to counter-balance the darkness that’s been taking charge for a little too long. And when you find them, let them in. Really experience how they’re flooding into your personal space, transforming your energy from that of heaviness and out-of-spirit-ness to one of hope, lightness and willingness to experience joy again!
This has worked many times for me and for people I’ve shared it with. Let me know how you get on with it too. And do share with people in Your life that could benefit. In the times we’re in, that’s probably more people that most of us would imagine.
Wishing you (emotional) wellness,