4 Practical Tools to Balance Your Emotions
Learning to Trust Yourself
Stop crying. Stop laughing. Calm down.
These are the messages that I heard as a child. I was a very emotional and sensitive child. I felt things deeply and reacted to how I felt with laughter, tears or excitement. In my family, it wasn’t seemly to show too much emotion. In fact, it just wasn’t done. The expectation was that you would comport yourself with calmness and quietness. If you didn’t, then there were consequences. Sometimes, it was a stern reprimand, others it was a spanking, still others it was being banished from the rest of the family to stay in my room until I could pull myself together.
Recently I was told that one of my strengths is that I have the ability to re-balance myself whenever I experience strong emotion. As I was thinking about this statement, I realized that it was true. I have decades of experience in managing my emotions. The practice started not as way to cope, but as a way to stay out of trouble!
The truth is I am still an emotional and sensitive person. I have emotions and often they are strong and they come out in laughter or crying or talking. I’ve learned that I actually use specific techniques to control the emotion and bring my body back into balance so that there isn’t such a strong and prolonged physical reaction. It’s not a matter of stopping or eliminating emotion, it’s a way to let the emotion have its place, yet keep it from becoming too overwhelming where it ends up taking over my life.
I think another reason the techniques are so helpful is that they help me see that I can actually trust myself to take care of me. To protect me when needed and dial back the emotion that might otherwise get out of control and be out of place.
Listed below are a few of the techniques I use with myself as well as with my clients. Even if you don’t display emotion to the world with a physical laugh or cry, there is likely still a physical reaction within the body. That physical reaction can present in the form of high blood pressure, sleeplessness or a myriad of other things that aren’t good for the body. These techniques are great ways to bring that balance back to the body and allow your body to release whatever is causing the physical reaction.
1. Breathing techniques. This is my absolute favorite way to find release and re-center myself. I do this one so much that I do it unconsciously. It’s kind of hard for me to describe, but there is this feeling of re-centering and relaxing back into my body when I take a few deep breaths. It’s like my body is once again connected to all its parts without allowing one part to rule. By using my breath, I not only give my body a new rhythm to focus on, but I also allow healing energy to come in to my body in the form of oxygen.
Check it out for yourself. Inhale through your nose and then exhale through your mouth a couple of times. Sometimes it helps to vary the breath pattern by using counts: in for four counts out for six; then in for six and out for eight and so on.
2. EFT Tapping. If you aren’t familiar with tapping, it is Emotional Freedom Techniques and it uses a tapping on specific acupressure points on the body while you are speaking aloud your situation and how you want to accept and react to it. I remember four or five years ago, I hired a tapping specialist to help me with a traumatic work experience I was going through. This was a profound experience for me, and guess what?! Every single time I found a release and re-centering. It ended with me taking a deep breath and letting it out. The release was so marked; you could immediately notice the change in my body and countenance.
One of my favorite online EFT specialists is Brad Yates. You can search on YouTube for just about any topic you are feeling stress around and he will have one or several tapping sessions for you to try.
3. Pet a cat. Again, this is a technique that I’ve used since my childhood and didn’t even realize the significance until recently. Whenever I am feeling strong emotion, I reach for my cat. Often when you pet a cat, they begin to purr. Studies have shown that both the petting and the purring can be therapeutic for the body and mind.
I can remember as a child turning to my cat to help me cope. Those were the days long before there was any science behind it. But spending time petting my cats was for me then and still is today a way to re-balance my emotions and bring me back into the core of who I am.
4. Journal. For me, writing is processing. Often this is a good choice for me to work through some strong emotion. However, there is a trick to it. Sometimes I find myself journaling and it degenerates into a total negative cycle. I stop looking for the solution, the good points or the alternative thoughts. Instead I go into a dark place of negativity.
Even though this sometimes happens, I feel like it is still a very good release and re-balance technique. But I watch for the negative spiral and when I feel it, I set a timer or page limit. I am only allowed to write one more page and then I stop. Or I can only write for five more minutes and then I stop.
You can’t always stay positive and sometimes it you just need to feel what you feel. The important thing is to get the feelings out. By writing them out, you begin the release process. By stopping the cycle, you create a boundary for yourself that allows you to recover and re-balance yourself.
When working with my coaching clients, I recommend all four of these techniques regularly. AND you can be sure I’m using all these suckers myself on the regular! But the good news here is, we aren’t turning to food in order to suppress emotion or feel better” These are all healthy, easy ways to sooth and re-balance.
The BEST news is though that each time you are able to move through an emotion by using these techniques or others, you learn to trust yourself. That trust shows that you can take care of yourself and you can manage to work through emotions in a way that feels good.
Have you used any of these techniques? How do your sooth and re-balance after a surge of strong emotion? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and tell me about your experience.
Sherry Parks is a Wellness Coach who helps career women escape feeling trapped and out of control in their work life, so that they are happy on their own terms and have joy and excitement for their life. Grab her Free PDF, Top Tips for Successful Food Cleansing, here.
To connect with Sherry, join her women-only Facebook group Lives in Balance.