If there is any one time in the whole year that we need to build ourselves up and support our health, it is right now... this window between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. And not surprisingly, this is when we put ourselves last so that we can pour everything into making a perfect holiday season for our families. How many of you actually dread the holidays? Because you are tired, and rundown, and overwhelmed, and maybe a little bit resentful that we are doing it all on our own?
This is also when all kinds of past feelings, emotions and baggage creep up on us, pushing our joy just a little farther out.
While counterintuitive...I implore you to actually slow down right now. Guard your morning routine like your life depends on it. Force yourself to "hide" for 15-20 minutes to meditate...I promise it will make you more productive! Choose just one meal a day to make ridiculously healthy, incorporating all six tastes of Ayurveda. Integrate the colors, sounds, and music that support your Dosha. (If you missed these tips...visit my IG or FB pages for the cheatsheets. Both are merrilyhope)
Next, take some time to address the emotions that love to bubble up this time of year.
Ayurveda recognizes that emotional health is one of the fundamental pillars of health. It is just as important as quality sleep, nutrition, movement, mediation, and living in harmony with our biological rhythms. This ancient study has known for 5000 years, what modern science has recently verified, and that is that our emotional well-being and our minds
are undeniably connected to our physical health. So you can work out for 3 hours a day, and eat as cleanly as possible, and sleep for eight hours a night, but if your mind is jumbled with unexpressed emotions, you will not be able to achieve optimal health.
Today, I am going to teach you a technique for emotional clearing that will help release accumulated emotional pain, freeing you to experience happiness and well-being.
This is a seven-step process.
First, Take responsibility for what you are feeling. When you find yourself reacting emotionally to other people, it is often because they are reflecting something that applies to your own nature. We are innately drawn to and notice qualities in others that we see in ourselves. So the first step to clearing is to accept responsibility ourselves.
Second, and I think the most important, is to name your feeling. Be as specific as possible. Remember that often our simplest emotion to claim is anger. But more often than not, there is a deeper feeling behind that. Like fear, or frustration, shame, loneliness, disappointment, etc. Try to label your feelings while taking responsibility. For example. I feel lonely is more self-empowering than I feel abandoned. Abandoned is something someone does to you. Lonely is a feeling that is yours alone.
Third, witness the feeling in your body. Our thoughts trigger physical reactions, releasing chemicals that have a life of their own and the energy of the emotion must be dissipated before we can move forward. Just observe the feeling. Allow your attention to embrace the sensation in your body. By simply experiencing the physical sensations, some of the emotional charge will dissipate, and you’ll be able to hear the message the emotion is carrying. Trust me. This seems weird, but it works. For example, if you feel deeply sad, you may feel a heaviness in your heart. Our natural desire is for this feeling to go away. But if we don’t address it, it will continue to fester. Whereas if we draw our attention to it, and rather than try to push it away, we can sit with the feeling patiently, and it will eventually lessen.
Think of this analogy. You have a toddler who keeps saying, “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom.” If you ignore her, she may go away, but rest assured, she will be back! If you send her away, she will most definitely be back. If you take just a moment to acknowledge her, she will be appeased.
Fourth, Express the emotion in private to yourself. You can write about your feelings or speak them out loud. Keep a journal just for this purpose. Allow memories of similar situations to come to the surface and write about them, too. Use language that accurately conveys what you’re feeling. Allow yourself to express all you need to about the situation. Sometimes, if your feelings are due to an interaction you had with someone, it is helpful to write them a letter. Then tear it up!
Fifth, release the emotion through some ritual. Go for a walk, listen to music, or my favorite, find some time alone and dance it out! Anything that will help you discharge the emotion from your physiology. Allow your body to detoxify. Acknowledge the release of the emotion as you’re doing the activity.
Sixth, share the emotion with a good listener. Someone who will listen without trying to solve your problem. We moms call this venting, right?
Finally, rejuvenate. Do something nice for yourself... a massage, a nice meal, or a glass of wine in silence. Whatever you choose, make sure you bring the intention of celebrating with you. It is not easy to allow feelings to come up without trying to tamp them down Celebrate your success in letting things go.
Painful experiences are a part of life. They only become toxic when we try to deny or repress them. Many of us hold on to emotional hurts and disappointments because we haven’t been taught effective ways to deal with them. As a result of trying to suppress these old wounds, we don’t experience the joy or vitality we would like.
As an aside, there may likely be certain emotional toxins that need several instances of clearing.
Remember, although these things take time from your already busy life...you will find yourself more patient, efficient and dare I say...joyful.