A24 Handling Emotions: How to deal with emotions as they occur in our daily lives

It may take some time before some emotions can be transformed or transcended. Thus it is beneficial to be aware of various ways of handling those emotions in the present so that they do not accumulate creating problems in our bodies and relationships, perhaps even in our work. We must, however, remember that such techniques do not constitute a permanent solution, but rather a temporary means for keeping our balance and harmony. We present you with this chart (fig. 6) so that you might locate more easily the method which might help you or another. As most techniques described are clear enough, we will add only a few explanations in addition.

COPING EMOTIONS IN THE PRESENT

1. Breathing and releasing: inhale hold the breath for 5 to 7 seconds, relaxing the areas which are tensed. Exhale letting go of all tension. ( do not hold the breath for over 7 seconds.)

2. Total bodily expression through dancing and other forms of movement. Some prefer music which expresses what they are feeling at the moment and others, music which connects them with other positive feelings.

3. Releasing emotions through crying, yawning, intense movement such as hitting a pillow, shouting etc.

4. Bring to mind the opposite positive emotion of the negative one which is bothering us. Not as a form of suppression of the negative, but rather as a cultivation of an alternative way of feeling and reacting. Each has his own opposite for a particular negative emotion.

5. The continuous repetition of a word, phrase, prayer or sound which brings our mind into a positive state.

6. We imagine that we are the other, and try to feel what he might be feeling in order to act in the way he is acting.

7. Channel our emotional energy in various ways such as crying, laughter, work, play etc.

8. Expressing our emotions through writing, in first or third person.

9. Remember that life is a school, which gives us exactly what we need at every moment in order to learn our next lessons on the path.

10. Selfless service towards others in need.

11. Daily positive thought projection.

Fig. 6

1. The breath is a very powerful and effective key to the nervous system, energy and the mind. Learning to control the breath, allows us to develop control over tension which might be accumulating in the muscles. As we relax these muscles, the energy flows and the mind also relaxes. Many of these techniques of breath control are described in the book Self Therapy. A simple technique for handling tension is to inhale slowly and deeply, hold the breath for about 5 to 7 seconds as we focus on the area where the tension is accumulating, and then, as we exhale, feel that tension flowing out with the exhalation.

2. All forms of creative expression are healing and very effective in bringing into harmony again with ourselves. Dancing, drawing, painting, singing, chanting, acting, writing, cooking, flower arranging and even cleaning or gardening, or any other type of creative expression, allow our energies to flow, breaking up the emotional energy blockages. We are simultaneously put in touch with our creative center which is directly associated with higher levels of our being. Creative activity also forces us to focus on the present, thus helping us to let go of the past and present, which are the sources of our problem. Of all these forms of expression, perhaps dancing is the most immediate and powerful in its effect, as it needs no materials or special place and involves all the body and powerfully releases the emotional energy blockages as we move to the rhythm. We can either dance to music which allows us to connect with the emotion we are feeling, exploring it and expressing it, or we can put on music which stimulates in us the opposite positive feelings and connect with those positive energies through moving to this music.

3. Emotional release can be used at any time we can be alone or with a person familiar with this process. We can sit or lie down, go inwards and feel where our emotions are located in our bodies. We can accept those emotions and the phenomena which they create on the physical and energy levels. We allow those phenomena and the emotions to expand and express themselves in various ways as they flow out. In some cases, where anger is present, it may be useful to hit a pillow. If we have never been guided in this exercise, it would best to have a guide for the first five times.

4. Bringing the opposite positive emotion to mind is an ancient technique which allows us to cultivate alternative ways of feeling and reacting to situations. We are not ignoring the presence of the other emotions, but are simply directing our attention to its positive opposite for us, allowing that new positive “thought form” to grow within us. It is like having a garden in which we have weeds and flowers. We are not saying here, imagine that there are no weeds, but rather focus on the flowers, give them water, and manure, and sunlight and do not strengthen the weeds by giving them water (attention). This technique may at times for certain people be in contradiction with the previous one. The previous one asks us to focus on the negative and express it, while this one asks us to focus on the positive opposite. Each will have to decide for himself which is most appropriate for himself in each situation. There will be situations in which we cannot easily tune into and express these negative emotions. Also, we pass through various stages in our lives, in which we have greater need for the one or the other way of handling our emotions. Each will have to find his own opposite to the unpleasant emotion which is bothering him. This also may change from time to time. The opposite to fear at one time may seem to be “courage” and at another, “faith” and at still another, “love”. The opposite of anger may be peace, love, understanding, forgiveness, faith etc. We can allow ourselves the freedom to flow each time with the particular opposite which presents itself in response to this exercise. The exercise goes like this.
a. We ask ourselves what exactly we are feeling and we search for a name for that emotion.
b. Once we have named it, we ask ” what is the opposite of this?”
c. We then begin to repeat the name of the opposite emotion, allowing the mind to dwell on it, as we not only mentally repeat it, but also bring to mind the memory of that feeling as we have felt it in the past.
d. We allow that new energy to flow through our body and mind. We might use our imagination and visualize our selves feeling this new emotion and acting upon it.
e. Then, as much as, possible we would do well to act on this new positive emotion.

5. Repeating a positive word, phrase or prayer is another ancient means of purifying and transforming the mind, and thus belongs to another category of techniques, which we would call spiritual exercises. On the other hand, this method is also very helpful for coping with emotions in the present. We focus the mind on the positive pole which is a point of reference in our lives. Each can chose his own phrase and point of reference. Some examples might be:
Words: love, peace, harmony, acceptance, light etc.
Phrases: I am an eternal divine being. I am a child of God. I am divine creation. I love and accept all unconditionally – including myself. I feel safe and secure in every situation. All exists in a divine plan.
Prayers: Lord Jesus Christ Have mercy on us. Loving Lord Jesus Christ we love you and we thank you. (One could also chant.)
The possibilities are limitless. Your choice can be repeated as you walk, drive, do mechanical chores such as cleaning etc.

6. When we are having conflict with another, or are feeling hurt or angry, we can often gain insight and peace of mind by putting ourselves in the others position. When we can imagine how the other must be feeling in order to act in the way he does, we gain understanding which simultaneously reduces our feelings of hurt and our anger and rejection towards the other. Both our pain and anger are diminished through understanding. Basic to this process is the understanding that all negative human behavior is a result of ignorance of our true nature, which leads to fear and then to all forms of self-centeredness and selfishness. Bring the other to mind and realize that behind his behavior is a small fearful child who has become totally self centered in order to survive emotionally. He is insecure and probably doubting his self worth.

7. Channeling our emotional energy through various activities such as work, laughter, play in addition to crying which we mentioned in number 3, are all ways which many people have already naturally found to keep their balance. Some of us overdo it becoming workaholics or “laughers” with pain behind that mask of laughter. Balance is the solution. When we are immersed in some unpleasant emotion, working, cleaning up or seeing a comedy can help change our mood.

8. Writing is a very effective way for most people to express, release and gain perspective on problematic emotions. Writing brings forth a higher part of our being which has greater objectivity and clarity. This clarity relaxes us and allows us to refind our peace. Writing is also a means of transformation. When we are stuck in an emotion, let us sit and simply start writing about what we are feeling, allowing our thoughts to flow freely onto the page in what is called flow of consciousness. The experience will be both releasing and clarifying.

9. Spiritual truths and logical thoughts can save us from much emotional pain. They free us from fears which then give birth to the wide variety of negative and painful emotions. Some of these thoughts are:
a. We are all eternal souls in the process of evolution.
b. Life is a school in which we are learning.
c. Every event which occurs, happens in order to facilitate that process of evolution.
d. My lesson is to love all including myself unconditionally.
e. Every problem is an opportunity to learn something and grow stronger.
f. I change whatever I can and accept that which I cannot.

10. Selfless service to those in need frees us from the source of all our pain, our ego centered life and exaggerated importance we are giving to ourselves and what we have and do not have. Each would do well to engage himself in some type of social service, in which he can serve others seeking to make their lives happier.

11. Positive projection techniques can be practiced on a daily basis for best results. (One such technique is described in chapter 16)

These then are some ways in which we can handle emotions on a daily basis as they come up until we are able to transform our belief system so that they no longer gain momentum in our minds.

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