Are your emotions just too strong to live with?
Do you feel like begging them PLEASE, just STOP! You don't want to feel like this. You can't continue like this anymore...
Do your emotions completely invade your personal space, entering as they please and leaving without even a goodbye?
Kind of like your old college roommate, or your weird cousin (usually named something unfortunate like Eugene) who show up unannounced, eat you out of house and home, and crash on your couch. Then they kind disappear without any explanation, and your left wondering if you should file a missing persons report or more importantly, can you close up the sofa bed, or do they still consider themselves residents at your place?
Being constantly overwhelmed by emotions is a reality that can make life super tough. But it's a reality that everyone struggles with. Everyone. However, the world isn't full of a bunch of unrestrained and unstable beings running amok and leaving emotional skid marks all over the place. So if everyone struggles with emotions, why do some seem to manage and others don't?
Listen up, because here comes my answer. Emotion regulation isn't complicated or impossible. It's easy to learn, easy to implement, and easy to see the impact. The results will quickly transform your life, and the best part is, it all boils down to skills. I am obsessed with skills by the way and I hope that you will be too. So let's go!
PART ONE: Validate and you'll feel great! (or at least it will help somewhat!?!)
Often times, the reason our emotions feel too big for us to handle is because we don't take a moment to simply acknowledge the emotion we are experiencing. Here it comes. *SKILL* Validate. And again, validate. VALIDATE the emotions. Don’t minimize your feeling- allow yourself to realize your overall emotion and be open to whatever it may be instead of being thoroughly confused and overwhelmed by it.
Think back to the last time you had a mega meltdown of an emotion and try to validate it. How? Well, just follow your checklist. It's all there. Yup right down under this sentence. Oh, you’re welcome ;).
Your validation checklist:
1. Pay attention. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What are you doing? Once you identify this you can move on to step 2.
2. NAME IT TO TAME IT. Oh, hello, anger. Nice to see you again. (I’ll pretend its been a while but you and I both know it hasn’t.)
3. Remove all judgement-it has no place here.
Allow yourself to feel. It's okay to have feelings, even if you don’t like them.
4. Realize that your emotion makes sense. Even if its disproportionately strong, your emotion is there for a reason. Validation does not mean that you agree or approve. It simply means that you understand the emotion and your perspective.
(BTW. Yes, you can learn to validate others too. We'll get to that in a later post so make sure to subscribe and keep following.)
Next time you notice your emotions rising, PAUSE. Stop. Think, what am i feeling now? Is it depression? It is rage? Or is it joy?
It seems so simple, because it truly is. Often, the act of identifying the emotion you are feeling can help you feel more in control (which at times can mean half of the problem is already solved).
So, if its so easy to validate, why is it so... uuuhh....hard?
Because the issue is, in the heat of the emotion, it seems impossible to pause, to be able to name the feeling instead of being consumed by it. It is therefore imperative to practice naming your emotions when you're not experiencing them at their raging finest. Try for times like when you ruin a nail on the way out of the salon or you bake with salt instead of sugar. Or when oops, toilet trained Tommy isn't so toilet trained anymore.
Get in the habit of identifying your emotions as you feel them, so that when you need your validation skills to tame your emotions, they will have already become instinctive.
When do you get overwhelmed? Share your thoughts on validation below so others can benefit from your insight!