How To Stop Being A Slave To Your Emotions

For a long time, I was a slave to my emotions. I didn’t understand them, I was up and down all the time and I had no idea why. I was really out of my depth and felt completely helpless and out of control, and believed that anger, jealousy, anxiety and suffering were the enemy. I held onto dangerous and destructive habits in an attempt to completely block out my emotions, because being an empty shell was better to me than the pain I was feeling.

And we’re always told that these negative thoughts and emotions are bad and something to ‘overcome’, in a way. If you’re angry, you’re not your best version of yourself. If you’re upset, you need to do something to make yourself happier. We’re taught that happiness and contentment are the ideal, and that by feeling anything that isn’t perfect, we’re failing in some way. That there must be something wrong with us or our lives.

But that’s not true. If we were meant to feel happy all the time, we would. What would be the point if we were? How would we grow, learn, and change?

Negative emotions are not mistakes or a sign of failure. Anger allows us to inspire change, it teaches us what are core values are and who we want to be as a person, because it sparks a reaction when those values are not met by others. Pain allows us to grieve things that have happened to us, to acknowledge the feeling and situation as difficult and highlights what makes us unhappy.

Jealousy shows us what we want more than anything, as it’s something someone else possesses. Anxiety shows us what we’re scared of doing, and allows us to ‘see into the future’, and how to prevent it. Fear is essential, because without it we wouldn’t acknowledge danger, which obviously could have disastrous results. It teaches us our boundaries and how far we are willing to go.

The problem is, a lot of the time our emotions are too much. They are a result of a mind that’s thinking 1000 things a minute, chaotic thought patterns and imaginary scenarios. Most of the time, we feel negative emotions when we don’t need to, we have an excess of them and that becomes too much to bare. Anxiety takes over our lives instead of being a short term emotion that should share an insight into our subconscious. These are not true, genuine emotions and offer no purpose, which is why people feel out of control.

As you probably guessed, I’m going to suggest meditation to help you shift through those unnecessary emotions (being a meditation blog and all). Breathing techniques and mindfulness can relax your body and help you take a step back from that strong emotion you can’t stand, and can prevent you from getting too close in the future. By connecting to the present moment and the world around you, we get a temporary ‘break’ from the constant stream of unstoppable thoughts, which can help us get things into perspective.

Sometimes we might not even know why we’re feeling a certain emotion until we sense it in our physical body, and have no idea why it’s happening to us. But it is important to understand that there is always a reason why we feel something, even if it’s not initially clear. It may take a bit of practice and patient, but push your mind to find the thoughts that are causing the emotion. This can give you so much more power and control because you understand why you’re upset, which can help you combat it.

And when you have figured out the reason, put it under the microscope to see if it’s genuine. Is what I’m worried about actually going to happen? Is this feeling necessary or just become I’m overwhelmed with thoughts about it? Am I too close to the feeling and not seeing clearly?

You might need a bit of help with that part, because you may think it’s realistic or rational to think something when it is actually not. Talk to others, take it outside of your own mind and they will help you see more clearly, from a fresh set of eyes.

Essentially, I’ve made this post to encourage you to stop trying to run away from your feelings, they are not the enemy here. That means you need to stop drinking, smoking, hurting yourself or delving into other coping mechanisms when you feel an uncomfortable emotion. You are feeling it for a reason, so connect to it and understand it, take away the fear.

When you feel a negative emotion, stop for a minute. Try to connect to the reason why you’re feeling tense, spend a while shifting through your thoughts to figure out what you’re anxious about. Through regular meditation and rationalisation, you will clear away the excess thoughts and feelings that serve no purpose, and build a connection with your body and mind. Emotions will then stop being this unstoppable, terrifying force and what they were meant to be – signs of what lessons need to be learnt.

Thank you for reading,

Chloe

 

Want to learn how to meditate?

Find my Meditation for Beginners here.

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Loving Kindness Meditation

A theory is that the more compassionate and empathetic we are with others, the happier we will be. Loving Kindness meditation can help strengthen out relationships, help us to forgive others, let go of grudges that continue to hurt us, and improve our own self acceptance. Incorporating a quick 5 minute practice into your day to day life will have significant effects on your mood, emotional intelligence and self purpose.

So first I want you to find a comfortable seat. If you want to use a cushion to prop yourself up and improve your posture, go ahead. Close your eyes or keep them slightly open if you’re tired, and begin to take notice of your breath. Take 10 deep breaths.

Next, begin to create a positive energy between your hands. Direct all of your feelings of compassion, kindness and love towards it. Wish happiness, peace, safety and protection towards the area between your hands and allow the feeling to spread and wash over your entire body.

Now imagine meeting yourself and giving yourself a hug. Wrap your arms tight around yourself and give yourself the amazing feeling of warmth and love you have created. Send the positive energy to yourself and allow it to take over your entire body. Then, either outloud or in your head, say:

  • May I be happy and joyful
  • May I be healthy and strong
  • May I be calm and peaceful
  • May I be safe and secure
  • I am perfect, I am loved

Next, think of someone you love. It could be a family member, a close friend or someone you look up to. Wrap your arms around them in your mind and send your positive energy to them. Then, say:

  • May you be happy and joyful
  • May you be healthy and strong
  • May you be calm and peaceful
  • May you be safe and secure
  • You are perfect, you are loved

Next, think of an aqquantice. Someone you know but aren’t friends with, or someone you saw walking down to street. Hug them tightly and say:

  • May you be happy and joyful,
  • May you be…

Then think someone who has hurt you, or someone you are holding a grudge against. Repeat the same previous steps, saying the five sentences in your head, directed at them.

Now imagine every person in the world. People you know and people you don’t. Think of the richest people in the world to the poorest. Think of the kindest to the most unkindest. See that they are all connected to the Earth, just as you are. They all belong.

Send love to every single person in the world. See that they are all parents, children, siblings and friends. See that they all have good traits in them, even if they are not often shown. We were all born to be peaceful and happy, we are all essentially good. Shower everyone in the world with love, compassion and forgiveness.

Kindness can be difficult, depending on who it’s directed at, but by incorporating more compassion into our lives, we can only benefit. We can only become happier people. Holding grudges and being unforgiving hurts us most of all, because we’re carrying negative feelings in our body. Let it go.

That’s all for you. Thank you for reading,

Chloe

My Meditation Essentials

The thing I love about meditation is what you can do it anywhere with absolutely nothing at all. You don’t need any fancy props, somewhere quiet may make it a bit easier but essentially all you need is your mind. That being said, there are a couple of things I enjoy having on hand during my practice to help me out a bit.

1. Meditation Timer

For the most part, I like my meditations short and sweet. Meditation Timer for iPhone is a free app which allows you to set an overall meditation time, and shorter intervals in between. I find this useful, for example, if I’m incorporating different types of meditation or techniques to a certain time. The app allows you to set your timer alert to a bell or other relaxing sounds, which are a lot nicer sound to bring you out of a meditation than a blaring ringtone. It also gives you a few seconds of preparation time before and after your practice, because we all know it takes a while to get comfy and to find your seat.

2. Yoga Mat

A yoga mat sets the mood and an association with my meditation practice. Every time I roll out my mat I know it’s time to quieten my mind, and this allows me to pack it away and take it anywhere with me if I want to. It also comes in handy for, you know, yoga. And exercise and stuff. You can buy one anywhere, but I got my pretty purple one from Amazon (surprise, surprise – 90% of everything I own comes from that damn website).

3. Cushion

Not only is the floor uncomfortable after a while, especially if you’ve got a bony bum like me, but I find my posture is naturally of the Mr Burnes kind. I read somewhere that the optimal way to sit is with your hips raised, and your legs hanging down in a diagonal position. This improves your posture dramatically and is a lot more comfortable than a yoga block. You can spend around £20 for a special ‘meditation cushion’ or you could just grab one off your bed and pound it into place at the beginning of every practice like I do.

4. Candle

I like my meditation practice to feel spiritual. I like to make it ‘me’ time, and a candle is another way to get myself into the right mindset. It creates a lovely atmosphere and makes it a lot easier to relax. I also sometimes sit the candle directly in front of me and use the flame or the scent as a focus point for attention based meditation. I’m gifted with candles every Christmas and birthday so I’m never exactly running low on the things.

And there you go! These are my essentials, however there are other meditation ‘props’ you could also use:

❁ Prayer beads
❁ Crystals
❁ Essential oils
❁ Buddha Statue/Shrine
❁ Meditation Apps (Headspace and Calm are my favourites)
❁ Anything else you can think of, be creative!

Thank you for reading,

Chloe

 

Mindfulness Meditation For Beginners

Mindfulness is the act of observing the present moment. We are often trapped in a constant stream of thoughts that either keep us feeling the guilt or regret of the past, or the anxiety of what will happen in the future. Regular mindfulness meditation will help you feel calmer and improve your concentration, and I promise you will only bring positive effects. But it’s not easily at the beginning and we have to start somewhere, so here we go.

Before I start, I want to say your mind will wonder. It’s no big deal, happens to all of us. It can be frustrating but every time you realise you’re thinking about your shopping list, just gently bring your focus back to your breath. Don’t feel irritated or annoyed with yourself, expect it to happen. Just bring your focus back when you can.

  • Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes and take 5 full deep breaths. Connect and pay attention to them
  • Return your breath to normal and listen for sounds outside of the room your in. Listen to the traffic, birds, TV, people talking, or anything else you may here
  • Bring your attention into the room, listen to the sounds. This may only be your breathing if you’re lucky enough to find a quiet place
  • Put your hands on your stomach. Feel your stomach expand as you inhale, and contract as you exhale. Count 1 as you breathe in, 2 as you breathe out. Do this to a count of 10
  • Count your breath to 10, 3 more times
  • Bring your attention back into the room, listen to the sounds
  • Listen to the sounds outside of the room
  • Open your eyes slowly and say ‘I am grateful for this calm’

That’s it! Now since I can’t give you timescales or cues for when to move on to the next step through writing, it’s up to you to take the reins. You can make this meditation as short or as long as you want, play around with it and if you feel like it’s time to move on to the next step, go ahead. Adapt it to whatever works.

Thank you for reading,

Chloe