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In this post, I explore four different ways to process feelings. Whilst I am a big believer in awareness of emotions, something I’ve struggled with recently was how to process them when they arise. So now, here we are! These are four ways to let go of negative emotions and the stress they cause.
1. Tai Chi/Qi Gong
When I first went to my naturopath and told her that meditation wasn’t working for me, Tai chi was a suggestion she made.
The ultimate purpose of tai chi is to cultivate the qi or life energy within us to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body. – 1
I struggled to figure out how to process feelings after my brother passed away, and Tai Chi became my go-to. It’s a great moving meditation that simultaneously helps us to let go of negative emotions.
Below is an excellent excerpt from a website I found that discusses how Tai Chi helps us to let go of negative emotions and how it allows us to process feelings.
According to Chinese medical theory, life force energy (qi) courses throughout the body in meridians (channels). Good health depends on the unimpeded flow of qi. Emotional imbalance is one of the leading causes of sickness. Emotions are linked to the organs and their functions: anger to the liver, sadness to the lungs, fear to the kidneys, joy to the heart and worry and stress to the stomach and pancreas. Anger will cause chemical reactions in the body that affect the liver function in an adverse way. The more prolonged and enraged the feeling, the more serious the effect. An excess of energy will be stored in the liver which will lead to a blockage of energy (an imbalance) in that area. In the practice of Qigong and Tai Chi, the energy is strengthened and balanced, and is then able to flow smoothly through the body’s channels.
In Qigong practice, the emphasis is on calming the mind which in turn regulates emotions. Clear thinking leads to a more careful and balanced consideration of the facts and thus, a better outcome in terms of making decisions. If you are constantly controlled by your emotions, you will feel stressed and confused. Through the practice, you become more aware of your emotional energy and are more skilful in directing it. 2
I feel that out of all the techniques listed here on how to process feelings, Qi Gong/Tai Chi is excellent for dealing with the overall stress we may feel. Whether it’s linked to multiple situations or just a general sense we’re feeling, it’s a great method when you don’t have anything particular to think about. It’s more a general sense of wellbeing that you’re looking for.
How to process feelings using Tai Chi/Qi Gong:
- There’s a great app called 7 Minute Chi on iOS. This is a great way to keep a healthy mindset routine in your life. I love it! It sends reminders every day. So if I wake up and feel like trying different meditation for the day, this is next on my list.
- YouTube has some great Tai Chi videos. Below are some of the videos I’ve used to help me learn how to process feelings using tai chi
2. Practice an energy routine by Donna Eden
Another way to learn how to process emotions and how to let go of negative thoughts and emotions is through energy exercises. Again this is a great process for overall well-being. It teaches us how to process feelings that might come up throughout the day and remove feelings or energies that may be stuck.
Donna Eden is one of the biggest influencers in energy medicine. Her methods use Eastern techniques such as acupuncture, yoga, kinesiology, and qi gong.
Like the theory for Tai Chi and Qi Gong, energy medicine works to restore the energetic balance in the body. The idea with her energy exercises is that they help move energies (i.e. stuck emotions) through the body to make sure they don’t cause blockages that lead to further issues down the line.
This is another process I use when I feel like meditation hasn’t helped as much. If I’m feeling stuck, I use her exercises to help me create more emotion and spiritual balance.
In the below episode, she shares her daily energy routine. It only takes about 6-7 minutes.
3. Use EFT Tapping to let go of negative emotions
EFT (Emotionally Freeing Technique) is another theory for processing feelings. This is a method I’ve just started to get to try, but so far, I’ve enjoyed it. In this case, EFT is great for specific situations that may trigger certain emotions you struggle with. For example, it’s an ideal way to learn how to let go of the anger that you may be working with.
Similar to acupuncture, EFT focuses on the meridian points — or energy hot spots — to restore balance to your body’s energy. It’s believed that restoring this energy balance can relieve symptoms a negative experience or emotion may have caused.
Proponents say the tapping helps you access your body’s energy and send signals to the part of the brain that controls stress. They claim that stimulating the meridian points through EFT tapping can reduce the stress or negative emotion you feel from your issue, ultimately restoring balance to your disrupted energy. 3
During the EFT session, you usually tap and repeat affirmations or sentences that the instructor suggests. You can create your EFT session, but using the EFT app has been great. They have a few free-tapping sequences you can use for all different emotions and situations. In EFT, the instructor makes you think about particular situations causing these feelings and work to decrease the response they cause over time. They even get you to rate how you feel about the situation or experience before the session and after to see the effects it has!
I’d highly, highly suggest trying this. It’s been a great way to learn to let go of negative thoughts and emotions.
You can read their book or watch their documentary if you want more information on EFT.
Another great resource for EFT tapping is this YouTube video by Gala Darling. She’s a great motivational speaker. Her work on EFT is great to watch.
4. The Scissors In The Mind Exercise
I found this practice in Susan Jeffers’s book called Embracing Uncertainty. It is a visualization technique that helps teach us how to process feelings. It’s about mentally cutting the cord to our attachment to the expectation that ties us to that emotion.
For example, if you are worried about an outcome of a job interview, you would practice this technique to help you break the attachment to your expectation of getting the job and thus remove your stress or anxiety about it.
Here are the steps that Susan Jeffers recommends. Please note I have adjusted them slightly.
- Close your eyes and picture a situation currently causing stress, sadness, anger, anxiety, etc.
- In your mind’s eye, imagine a pair of scissors. With those scissors, imagine yourself cutting the cord tying you to that situation.
- Visualize the situation floating away until it’s gone. Then, breathe a sigh of relief once it’s no longer there.
- Her final suggestion is to feed yourself some positive thoughts – this could be an affirmation such as “I choose to let this go” or “I honour these feelings and let them go.”
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