Dealing with emotions
Updated: Jan 19
There’s a meme doing the rounds on social media at the moment which goes as follows:
Noun: the ups and downs of the pandemic. One day you’re loving your bubble, doing workouts and baking sourdough. The next, you’re crying, drinking wine for breakfast and missing people you don’t even like.”
This certainly seems to sum up the emotional rollercoaster most of us have been on over the last couple of months. Fear, anger, disbelief, frustration, grief, exhaustion, boredom, anxiety, relief, joy, sorrow, we’ve had to deal with all of these in a short time frame and in large doses! All at a time when we’re also trying to care for others, work from home, home-school, deal with redundancy, cope with weight gain (or loss) and try and stay active! Phew! Whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, it’s been quite a journey!
I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate what an enormous emotional turmoil most of us are going through at the moment. In fact, for many, it’s similar to experiencing a major trauma. The trouble is, there’s a huge risk that as a society, many of us are “soldiering on”, bottling up our emotions as we just try to navigate and deal with the here and now. In fact, it felt natural and instinctive for us to do so back in March as we moved into survival mode.
Facing up to it
In Chinese Medicine however, it is considered unhealthy to bottle up our emotions and in an ideal world, we’d all let our emotions run their course as and when they arise in us. But for that, we need to learn to recognise and acknowledge them.
Recognising your emotions
Some of our emotions scare us and we often subconsciously ignore other emotions. For example, my father has a quick temper and when I was young, he had a propensity to sudden outbursts of anger. When I was studying Chinese Medicine, I noticed that anger was the emotion that I really struggled with. I wouldn’t acknowledge it neither in others nor in myself. I was reluctant to get angry (and yes, sometimes that’s important) and I even struggled with just the idea of trying to pull an angry facial expression!
We all have one or two emotions which we are trying to avoid. We’d obviously all rather avoid fear and grief, but some people also subconsciously avoid what on the face of it look like positive emotions such as joy or love. That’s often because they’re worried about being let down, heartbroken or perhaps feel guilty about feeling good when there is so much suffering in the world.
The Ayurvedic approach
Recently, I heard a presentation by Asya Barskaya from ABL Photography about Joy. In fact, it was so interesting that I’ve invited her to guest blog for me later this month. She was explaining the Ayurvedic approach to emotions, summed up in this diagram, that it is our choice how we feel and how we perceive the world around us. That we have a choice about the emotional state we live in.
What does that mean?
Initially I thought Asya’s approach contradicted the approach of Chinese Medicine which suggests all emotions have their place and none should be seen as “bad”. However, on reflection I believe that our “vibration frequency” has to do with where we choose to reside the most. It doesn’t mean that the emotions quoted at the bottom of the chart such as fear and grief are bad or shameful, it is just important to acknowledge them as they arise and let them run their course there and then.
So, what about the here and now?
In her book “Healing Your Emotions”, my teacher Angela Hicks describes how “stuck” emotions may make us unwell. For example, people with digestive problems (like IBS) may notice that stressful or emotional situations exacerbate their symptoms. I can highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about unblocking your emotions and getting rid of excessive worry, anger or fear among other feelings.
Five Element Constitutional acupuncture also deals with the emotional manifestation of our internal imbalances often believed to be the cause of most diseases. Some patients seek out acupuncture specifically to help with a psycho-emotional problem. But for others, sometimes whilst addressing a specific problem (seemingly unrelated to a patient’s emotions), a strong emotional response is evoked, and an underlying emotional issue is fixed.
Please don’t ignore what you’re feeling
The real take away from this is, that it’s very important for us to realise the full extent of the emotional impact that the last few months has had on us. We can soldier on, and in fact many of us probably will soldier on. But we do also need to take time out at some point and recognise the enormity of what we’ve been through.
The good news is, that I am hoping that I may be able to offer acupuncture treatments again in the near future. But if you want any help with anything I’ve discussed in this post, please get in touch with me now. Feeling emotional is natural. The Coronacoaster is a thing! So, as we move into the next phase of this year, let’s not ignore our emotions.