Our feelings, thoughts and beliefs are wonderful gifts from God that help us understand ourselves and how we’re doing on the inside. Our emotions can also be confusing, scary and unpredictable.
We need practical tools to help us process and learn from our emotions. They help us learn about our emotions and how to work with them. Most problems in relationships occur when our emotions surface and we don’t know what to do with them. Doing the work of becoming more mature emotionally will benefit you and your relationships immensely.The reality is that WE are responsible for our emotions and the way we express them. Even if others are unkind or don't agree with us, we are responsible for our words and actions. Click To Tweet
As you work on keeping yourself emotionally grounded, you will see benefits in all areas of your life…with yourself, in your marriage, as a friend, a parent, and even at work.
Creating Your Emotional Toolkit
Sometimes our emotions can overwhelm us or weigh us down. Following are some helpful ways to keep us emotionally grounded as we release, understand, and accept our feelings. See which ones of the following resonate with you. There are many things you can do to soothe and calm yourself.
- Talk – You may find it helpful to talk through the feelings you are becoming aware of. Talking with someone who will listen and accept those feelings will help you understand them. Sharing your feelings with someone else will help you connect with another person, rather than isolating yourself from your feelings and/or other people.
- Read – Sometimes it is helpful to read books about emotions and relationships in order to understand what is going on inside of you. New information may help you recognize feelings or experiences you’ve had, and bring understanding to the confusion you may be feeling.
- Move Your Body – It is helpful to let your body physically release the energy, anxiety, sadness, and other emotions you may be feeling. Some have reported that swimming, walking, yoga, biking, and running let out some of the energy associated with these emotions.
- Write – Writing your feelings down in a journal can help you express and release them. Putting these newly felt emotions down on paper can help you further process them and lead to an even greater understanding of yourself.
- Talk to God – Tell Him your feelings. Ask Him to reveal to you what you are feeling and how to proceed. Read in the Psalms (25, 28, 40, 42, 46, 51, 61, 69, 103, 119) to see how David poured his heart (emotions) out to God. He accepts your emotions and understands you.
- Write Yourself a Comforting Note – Express hope, love, connection, and worth for yourself. Consider asking a friend to write you one too. Read these notes over when you need comfort.
- Listen to Music – Ask yourself what type of music brings you comfort and peace when you are upset or hurting. Give yourself permission to rest and listen to this music when the emotions that come up need soothing.
- Talk to Yourself Encouragingly – When you are learning how to grow in emotional maturity it can be slow, scary and unknown. Say to yourself softly, “I know, it will be OK. It makes sense to be sad, scared or want to give up. God loves me, He is helping me, and there is so much hope. Just keep at it, growth will happen.”
- Feel Your Emotions – Let yourself feel some of the feelings that are coming up. Pay attention to the sensations you are experiencing in your body. For example, you may be aware of a pit or butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, feeling choked up in your throat, etc. As a feeling comes up, pause and breathe through it, rather than distract yourself with an activity, or covering it over with a substance. You might say to yourself, “Yes this is loneliness. It is powerful and very hard to feel, and yes I’m going to let myself feel some of it” or “I’m feeling very sad right now about ____” or “Yes, I’m really angry right now”. It is normal to need to practice this kind way of relating to yourself. One of the biggest “fall-outs” of painful childhood experiences is a disconnection from yourself and your feelings. By working with your feelings rather than against them, you actually reclaim a part of yourself previously lost.
- Label What You Are Feeling – Now that you know you are feeling, your next task is to figure out what the emotion is. Through the use of a feelings list you can begin to identify what you are feeling. Begin with the general category of emotion (glad, mad, sad), then fine tune the feeling. Eventually you will be able to more precisely label your feelings, thus understanding yourself better, as well as being able to communicate to others more accurately how you feel.
- Begin to Share Your Feelings Slowly – Try to ascertain with whom you wish to share your feelings, and which ones you wish to keep to yourself. Not all feelings should be shared with all people. Try to learn who is safe to share with and who isn’t. Sharing a little bit and seeing what the response is usually does this. Is there interest and acceptance, or advice-giving and condemnation? You will usually find that some level of sharing will be fine with some but not with others.
- Practice Relaxation – Regularly take part in activities that relax your system. Remember that everyone is different. Do what works for you – relaxation exercises, yoga, coffee with a safe friend, gardening, walking in nature, bike ride, etc.
I encourage you as you build your emotional toolkit. Growth in this area will drastically and positively help all your relationships. Don’t give up because it’s hard or you’re not quite sure how to proceed. Try some of the ideas shared. You are worth the effort, and so are your relationships.Just because you haven’t known before how to regulate and understand your emotions, doesn’t mean you can’t learn! Click To Tweet
You’re already on the right road. God will bless you as you lean on Him for strength, courage and understanding.
I’d Love to Hear from You
What are ways that help keep you emotionally grounded? What stood out from this blog post? What emotional tools do you want to add to your emotional toolkit?
Please leave a comment below and share with those who could benefit via e-mail or on social media.
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