Have you noticed how much better you feel when you are happy?
Emotions are energy in motion. I have heard this many times from many authors and do not know whom to attribute it to, however, it makes sense to me. In my HeartMath® training, I have learned that there are depleting emotions and renewing emotions. Anger, frustration, fear, sadness, grief, jealousy, etc. all deplete our energy in the long term. That is, in part, because whenever you feel an emotion like those listed above, your body is hardwired to produce hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. I will not get too “sciency” with you, but these hormones give you short bursts of energy, as they are designed to help you escape a burning building, get away from a tiger or shut down when the threat is so great, that playing dead is your only way to survive. However, in the long run, they do deplete your vitality and are linked to metabolic imbalances in your blood sugar, heart rate, and dysregulation in your nervous system, gut, and brain (to name a few). They are also implicated in most mental health disorders and nearly all chronic illnesses.
On the other hand, renewing emotions like gratitude, care, compassion, love, appreciation, peace, and joy conserve your energy and lead to greater health. These emotions also trigger a cascade of hormones, but they include oxytocin, the love hormone, and DHEA, the longevity hormone. These hormones lead to a better today and a brighter future, healthwise.
Do not get me wrong. I am not asking you to not feel what you are feeling as events happen during your life or your day, but I am suggesting that if you want to feel better and have great health, you might want to learn how to quickly get over the depleting emotions and even be able to prevent some of them from arising unconsciously.
Practicing can really help you get off the emotional rollercoaster
A few simple strategies that work:
- Notice when a depleting emotion comes up and figure out where in the body you feel it! Take a moment to acknowledge the emotion, let it pass through your body with the help of breath.
- When you are in a calmer state, see if you can identify the triggers to the emotion you felt. Most of the time, my depleting emotions come from unmet expectations or negative thinking.
Unmet expectation: You assume someone or something should know what you want or need and when they are not mindreaders, you feel upset. Has this ever happened to you?
Negative thinking: This is a bit more difficult to handle without a lot of practice. However, to simplify this process, you observe what thoughts pop into your head. You acknowledge the thought, but then you start to dispute the thought. Author Byron Katie calls it The Work, “finding your proof of truth.” To assist in this process, she suggests you ask yourself the following four questions.
- Is it true?
- Can I absolutely know it is true?
- How do I react when I believe this thought?
- Who would I be without this thought?
- Yoga allows stuck emotions to be released on the mat. Over time you will find the breathing, movements, and mindfulness on the mat will carry over to other parts of your life. Sign Up for my twice-weekly Live Yoga Classes, Private yoga sessions, or my library of yoga classes.
- HeartMath® practices have hundreds of studies to show how they get change your internal weather report no matter what the weather is like outside. Find out more here.
These practices work if you practice them!
With all the changes I have made in my life to improve my health and happiness, figuring out this piece of the puzzle has been the most challenging and perhaps the most rewarding. I now work with my health coaching clients in this process from day one. They also agree it has profound effects on how they feel physically and emotionally. If you want to explore these practices with me, please reach out.