Wake up and Thrive

How to Move Through Emotions in a Non-Destructive Way

July 03, 2023 Bridget
Wake up and Thrive
How to Move Through Emotions in a Non-Destructive Way
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This episode is the foundation of all the work I do! If you don't know how to be WITH your emotions and fully process them, then all the affirmations and inner work won't stick. Tune into this old episode and learn some powerful tools to truly start feeling!


Emotions are a part of this life no matter how far you are in your self-growth journey. Emotions actually are the very thing that guide you along this journey. I used to hate my emotions, and as someone who feels things deeply this hate ran deep. Most of my life the only tools I had to cope with my emotions were destructive to me and to those around me. When I chose sobriety, I also had to learn how to move through emotions in a healthy way because they weren't going anywhere.

Emotions are one of my favorite topics to teach because of my own personal journey learning about them. Emotions really are this amazing feedback we get to experience as human beings. So in today's episode, I am breaking down some myths about emotions, and giving you three new ways to understand why emotions show up and how to understand them better.

If you are walking through an experience that is bringing up a lot of emotions, I want to offer you something. First of all, congratulations you are being called forward in your growth. Our emotions really are showing up for us if we can lean into them and apply these tools.. Secondly, if you want support and want to learn how to apply these tools to your own personal experience, book a FREE breakthrough call with me by clicking this link here. Together we will learn what is really behind your emotions and what you truly need in this moment to feel better.  

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Speaker 1:

Be Monday. Welcome back to Wake Up and Thrive. By the time this podcast airs, i will be sitting with my toes in the sand reading a trashy novel at the beach with my family, and I cannot cannot frequently. So I hope, wherever you are tuning in from, you also are enjoying your version of summer, whatever that looks like, even if that's just a staycation in your backyard. I hope that you are slowing down, reconnecting with what's important to you, unplugging all the things. So for this month of July, i will be repurposing some of my favorite episodes and most popular episodes that I really feel will suit my listeners. In the last six months, the amount of listeners have really doubled, almost tripled, and I'm just so thrilled. But because we have so many new people, i want to share a little bit more of what happens when you work with me as a coach and what are some of the tools that I teach and one of the biggest tools I teach. Actually, it is the tool that I always start with. I always always start with giving my clients a whole week of just tuning into their bodies, just tuning into what sensations are coming up when they're triggered, what sensations are coming up when they're excited, how do they know they're overwhelmed? All the things right, because, as many of you guys know, in 2019, when I got sober, once you take alcohol away, guess what happens? Life doesn't just get easier. In fact, all of the decades of emotions that I was pushing down and running from and ignoring and numbing just come up to the surface, and so I struggled a lot in the beginning of my sobriety, especially because the only tool I had at the time was just change your thoughts, and while changing your thoughts is incredibly powerful I mean, it really really is, and I'll republish another episode where I talk about that but it is not where you need to start, because, first of all, it's not what we notice. We have 60,000 thoughts a day. Many of us don't know what thought is actually creating the emotional experience for us, but we will notice the feeling, right, you will notice the feeling that comes up. And then the other thing about really understanding emotions is that we have a human body. We have a human body. Everybody's walking around and wants to feel better, but the truth is, if you want to feel better, you have to get into your body, which involves the neck down right, which involves your heart, your desires, your intuition, your traumas all of that lives in the tissue of your bones, of your body, okay, so I hope that this episode is really insightful for you and supportive, but it is one of the most foundational tools you can learn on your journey to feeling your best self. It is learning how to navigate and process emotions in a non-destructive way. So get a notebook, take some notes, enjoy this episode. ["wake Up and Drive"]. Hi, my name's Bridget and welcome to my podcast, wake Up and Drive. I wear a lot of hats, but the ones I'm most proud of are being a sober mom to my four kids, a wife to my best friend, a forever student of life, a registered nurse and a certified life coach. You can usually find me planning and enjoying quality moments with those I love or coaching women on how to do the same. All of our lives are made up of tiny moments, both beautiful and messy. I know we all want more feel good moments, but I believe it's the ones that challenge us that become the catalyst for our growth. That's what we do in this space. We explore everyday moments that we deem hardest and, instead of allowing them to keep us stuck, we lean into their lessons and let them wake us up. So if you're ready and willing, i'd love to invite you to come along. All you need is an open mind. It's time. It's time to Wake Up and Drive. Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Wake Up and Drive. But this week I wanted to come on and talk to you guys about something that has been a big part of my own journey, and it's something I work on a lot with my clients. So I'm really feeling like it's going to be something that you guys can relate to, and I think many of us need to understand this topic a lot better than we do. So today. I want to talk about emotions, because for like 15 years yeah, i started drinking really around 15 plus years Alcohol was my only tool. It was the only thing I had in my tool belt to manage my emotions, and it ended up obviously never truly helping, but it also made those emotions come back with a vengeance. Because that's the thing about emotions They really are. They're kind of like little toddlers right Toddlers that want your attention. If you just ignore them, if you just pretend like they aren't there, if you even just like walk away for a minute, they're just going to get louder. They really are, and I have always, always been somebody who feels things deeply, and so, now that I've chosen a life without alcohol, i really had to learn how to manage my emotions, and I had to learn how to do it in a way that was not destructive to myself and really anyone that was in my path. So this episode is for all the mamas listening that have been told your emotions are too much or told you are wrong for feeling the way you feel, and you know the point of learning this. We're not going to place blame on the people in our life that have said those things to us, because the truth is, no one is taught about emotions. We just, we just aren't taught this in school. We are all taught to suppress instead of express, and we are taught that emotions need to be fixed instead of felt. So I recently heard this quote and it has really stuck with me. This person said if you want to feel better than you actually have to get good at feeling, and I was like, yes, so many of us think that we can just change our mindset and just think ourselves out of feelings, and that's not. That's just not the case. So in today's episode, we are really going to explore emotions, what do they do when they come up and how do we actually feel them. So, before we can get into, you know, really defining and looking at what emotions are and how we move through them, let's first debunk some myths that I think many of us have been taught or it's been modeled to us. Okay, so the first myth is that emotions are good or bad, and that's a myth, because emotions really are just neutral, they're just feedback, they are information, and we, a lot of us, have been told, we've been told certain emotions that are good or bad, or certain emotions that are right or wrong, and certain emotions are allowed or not allowed, and so, for example, you know a lot of women that have an experience anger right, and I was definitely one of them, sometimes still am, when we experience anger, we've been told that our anger is bad. We've been told that we need to not let that, not show our anger, not express our anger really honestly, not even feel our anger, and so I'm hoping that, as you listen to this episode, that's one emotion that I know gets labeled as bad, and my hope is that, if you can take away just one thing from today's conversation. I really want you to remember that emotions are not good or bad, they are not right or wrong. They are really simply just neutral information showing up for you. Okay, another myth is that something needs to be done about them. Right, like you heard last week, paul and I were really talking about how he's a fixer and how the guys in our life really want to. When we express emotion, they have this natural need to want to fix it And, honestly, we do that to ourselves. When we experience worry or resentment or anger, a lot of our go to is to fix it, get rid of it, make it go away, do something to make it go away, whether that's going outside and running, whether that's scrolling on our phone to just kind of like numb out drinking alcohol. Some of us, you know, when we feel high emotions, we yell at the people in our path, whether it's our kids or our spouse. Another thing I used to do, especially when I first got into the self growth world, is I would experience emotion. that was uncomfortable And I would immediately just go to changing my thought or positive affirmations. Right, because our thoughts do influence and create a lot of our emotions. However, that can be actually really dangerous. And that is not what I teach as a coach. I teach to address and feel the emotion first, and then basically what it does is it primes your nervous system to actually allow the positive thoughts and stories to stick. So when you feel an uncomfortable emotion, it might be alerting you to a story that that you might have and it needs to be changed. But the first step is to address the emotion. But it's just anything we can do in the moment to feel better, and the truth is all we need to do is feel the emotion and let the emotion run through us. The third myth is that other people cause our emotions. And if you've been around me for a while, if we've been connected, then you know that I'm a big believer that our thoughts and our stories cause our emotions. Right, our past experiences can bring up emotions. Can what's going around, going on around us, influence our emotions? Absolutely, But what it's really actually doing? let me say that, again, it can influence. So we can have, we can experience something in our external world and we can create a story without even being aware of it. We can create a story, we can make a meaning about it. That's what causes the emotion. But the emotion lives in our body, so it's created by us And that's really, really important for us to understand when we're learning about emotions. I do want to just say that this myth is going to be a really hard one for some people to grasp, because from a really, really young age, we are taught that other people cause our emotions. Like just think about it. If you're listening to this and you're a mom, i'm sure you've said this to your own kids, because it was probably said to you, whether it was said from your parents or teachers or a coach. If you're crying or you're angry, some of the first things that we say to kids are Oh my gosh, come tell me who hurt your feelings, right, and so we say that as if it's just truth that, like, other people are responsible for our feelings. But really, like the more I dove into this work if you are the problem right, i'm holding air quotes if you are the problem, then you also are your solution. So if you are creating the emotions, then you also really are in control of managing that emotion when it shows up. If you lean into it, if you learn these tools and actually understand that emotions are showing up to guide you. They really are. They're guiding us back home, they're guiding us back to our best version. So we need emotions. We really do. And anytime now that, like when I experience like a trigger or an emotional upset, i'm always like, oh, awesome opportunity for growth. Like I mean not always in the moment, but after I can process it and move through it, i'm like, okay, that was so interesting, like, let me, let's, let's look at that emotion And let's really understand what it's trying to tell me. And again, you can't do that if you think emotions are bad or if you label your emotions, if you try to fix your emotions or if you think other people are the cause of your emotions. Okay, so now that we know what emotions are not and we've kind of debunked some of the common myths, let's talk about what emotions are. There are three really important factors about emotions that I want you guys to understand. It's going to really help you, i think, in a in a very simple way, understand what emotions are and why they're showing up. So, first of all, emotions. If you look up the literal definition for it, it means energy and motion. Emotions are designed first to get you moving right. Think about when you're walking in the woods or you're walking down a scary alley and you start to feel scared. That fear you're feeling alerts you into action. It alerts you to take a different route. It alerts you to stop and turn around. They're designed to get you to move, get you to do something. They also are designed to move through your body, and so what that means is that when you have emotion like this whole, i know, people always say you have to sit with your emotions, and I understand what they mean by that. Like it means allow the emotion, which I'm all for, But actually you need to do something, you need to express it. You need to, whether that's like writing an angry letter or putting on music and dancing it out, or going for a walk or telling somebody about it, or crying or screaming into a pillow. But emotion is energy and it has to move through your body. And here's the coolest thing If you actually allow this process to take place, emotions last anywhere between three to five minutes, and I don't know about you, but until I learned that my emotions sometimes could last days, days upon days. I could be in a funk or I could be angry, and really, if you understand that this is just energy, and it will. Energy will rise in your body and it will fall, it will go away. Then you actually are capable of feeling any emotion, any emotion, as long as you allow it to run through your body. Emotions have two parts They have a story that takes place in our mind and then they have physical sensations that take place in our body. So this is so, so important, because actually processing an emotion takes place in your body And so many of us try to feel better by staying in our head, by trying to just think positive, you know, say positive affirmations, think about all the things that we're grateful for, just try to jump to reframe our story. But we do that at the expense of actually being in our body and feeling the emotion. And then what happens? It keeps coming back. So emotions are energy and motion. Emotions have a story that takes place in your mind and then it has physical sensations that take place in your body. And third, my favorite, favorite, favorite analogy Emotions are like a check engine light. So whenever you experience an emotion, whether it's quote unquote good or bad, an emotion is a check engine light, just alerting you to check under the hood, alerting you to say pause and go. Oh, wow, like, let's talk about a positive emotion, right, that we call positive. If I'm like doing something and I can, just I feel happy, i feel fulfilled, i feel content doing this, that's an indication to me that I'm on the right path, right? That's me checking under the hood and being like yep, things are working, things are moving awesome, right. And then the same on the other, on the opposite side of that coin, if I'm experiencing something like anxiety or like anger, like we were talking about, again, it's not good or bad, it's just this check engine light going off. It's going like beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. It's alerting you. Just check under the hood, because under that emotion, underneath that emotion, is a need, and as long as we can stop trying to get rid of our emotions and recognize it for what it is, it's just a message. It's trying to tell you hey, there's something in your either environment, right, like maybe a boundary needs to be in place, or there's something that that you are doing that's out of alignment with who you want to be. So, yeah, kind of set it aside, listen to those check engine lights, because you know what happens with your car if you don't listen to the check engine light. It doesn't just like turn off and go away, right, it can cause serious damage underneath that hood. Okay, so now we know what emotions are not. We know what emotions really are and why they show up. And so the question really is what do you do? What do you do when you experience emotion? And I think I told you this a few weeks ago that I really love alliteration, so I'm gonna make this really, really simple in a way that I hope you guys can remember. Three things Acknowledge, accept and ask. Okay so, acknowledge the emotion. You have to become aware of it. You have to. Most of us don't notice the emotion to. We're at like a level 10, but as you start to practice some of these tools, as you start to practice, mindfulness is huge, but you have to become aware of your emotions when you're at like a level 2. And mindfulness helps with that. Okay so, observe it, and observe it without judgment, without trying to fix it or make it go away. It's why I love the analogy of the check engine light. Like, when the check engine light comes on, you're not like, oh my god, i hate my car. Well, maybe you are. Sometimes I am, especially if my husband's been driving my car and then my check engine light goes off. But really, when the check engine light goes on, we're not like, we're not angry at the car, we just take it into, we look under the hood, we just pull over, we ask someone to help us figure out what's going on. For the most part, that's what we're supposed to do when a check engine light comes on. And so same thing with emotions When they show up, don't get angry at yourself for being angry. Don't panic because you feel panicked. Just take it for what it is. It's information. And again, these emotions live in your body. So you really need to spend some time understanding where they go in your body, understand those physical sensations And so get to know where it goes in your body. Like what does it feel like? Can you give it a temperature? Can you give it a color? If I was you for the day, how would you describe you? know that you're feeling angry or you're feeling anxiety? Like what would I feel like in my body if I was you for a day and experiencing that emotion? So the second step is to accept. And when I talk about accept, it goes back to the not trying to judge, not trying to fix, but truly just allow the emotion to be there. So I always love to think like if you were sitting next to a friend who was angry or who was sad. Most of the time, the best thing you can do as a friend is to just be with that person, be with that person and accept however they're feeling. This is the stage where I like to use breath work. I love to use my oils. Sometimes I'll put on music, but sometimes I'll go walk out in nature. So whatever you need to do to really, i guess the key here is to still be in your body whatever you're doing. Be in your body with the emotion and allow it to run through. The third step is really ask. Ask what's behind the emotion, because the emotion comes up to alert us to something right. It alerts us to a need. Whether we need a boundary, whether we need to speak our truth or communicate something, whether we need food or we need sleep or we need some space or we need connection. Whatever it is that you need, the emotion is what is alerting you to the need. Okay, so when that emotion comes up, i want you to acknowledge it, become aware of it, get to know it. Second step is accept and allow it to just be in your body, sit and breathe and be present with it. And then, third, ask, ask. What is the need behind the emotion? So what does this look like in real life? One of the major goals I have of this podcast is to, yes, share some tools with you guys, but then to also take moments that happen in real life and show you how to actually apply them. So, lucky for you guys, i get the opportunity to practice these tools all the time because, like I've said before, no matter how many tools you have in your tool belt, the goal is not to never experience negative emotion. The goal is not to never have a human experience. It's to be able to, like I said, fill up that tool belt so that you can pull things out of it to really move through those experiences, those uncomfortable moments, in a healthy, non-destructive way. So for me, this weekend I was just super grumpy And I know that my grumpiness well in the moment. I was sure my grumpiness was because of everyone around me, but typically it happens when I'm like working towards a deadline or a goal and I can start to feel this anxiety, this urgency That's what it looks like for me. My anxiety it's like I've got to get it all done. I need everybody to just like stop interrupting me and behave and stop asking me for help, and anytime someone would ask me for something, i was just super irritable. And so I was recognizing that right. When I was like a level two or level three, i could feel it in my body And, like I said, remember it's an emotion is attached to a story. So I was definitely attached to the story, like I have so much to do, which isn't true, because everything I have to do if you guys got my guide, you know everything I have to do is a choice. And so in the moment, what I should have done was taken that check engine light and really look under the hood and stop working. That's what I should have done. But what I did instead was I just kind of reacted to everyone around me, whether it was my husband or my kids, and, trust me, in the moment, like I'm almost my irritation. I can always justify it, but it's when I start to really get to this place where I'm like you're breathing too loudly, that's always a clue to me that I've kind of gone, you know, beyond my threshold and it's really time for me to just take a pause. So one thing my husband has started doing that has been super sweet but and also like a really good gentle reminder to me is he'll give me like this big bear hug and he'll just whisper I'm not the bad guy And to me it's just a clue to be like. We sometimes need people in our life to hold that mirror up to us. So he will gently whisper I'm not the bad guy And it's just a reminder to me. It's like it's like making that check engine light super loud for me where I can go, okay. And so this is what I did. I went upstairs and I just kind of sat in quiet because I think a lot of times when we notice we're angry or short or anxious, what we do is we do something. So whether it's I just need to go downstairs and do a big exercise, and exercise is fine, i'm not saying that's not, i'm not saying that's like a unhealthy way to cope with emotions, But if, if the purpose is to ignore what the emotion is, that's where we get kind of in this unhealthy, it's a fine line. So for me, i really had to allow the emotion, otherwise it was just going to explode. I was going to explode later on in the day. So step one was become aware of it, which I was, and I needed my husband's help. Step two was really go upstairs and just allow it, and so I just sat. I sat and kind of really just focused on the anxiety and the, the yeah, it was definitely anxious energy that just needed to run through my body. For me this time I needed, i knew I needed to bring myself down. So I was just doing some breath work and just sitting with some calming music and I had my oils and I really just sat and it doesn't take very long, but I could feel the sensations kind of dissipate and I could feel my body calm down. And then from there I was like what, what do I really need in this moment? Like, what is it that my body is calling for me to do? And again, i knew this. But I was actually, when you go through this process, i was actually listening to it And I really needed to just shut my computer down. I needed to stop focusing on work and I just needed to be present. That's what I needed to do. So I packed the kids up, we went out in nature and we walked up to the park and it was amazing. It was amazing, you guys, and it really, it really was for me and it can be for you. That simple of just really recognizing, because what I would do in the past is I would get really irritated and I would probably spend 20, 30, 60 minutes When my husband says I'm not the bad guy, i would be like laying into him about yeah, yeah, you are the bad guy, and going down my laundry list of things that he's doing wrong, because that was how I dealt with my irritation, and then I would just be so freaking irritated at the end because I never allowed the emotion to run through That I would end up just like drinking wine at the end of the night and calm down to calm down, And so, as you can see, neither of those really solves the problem, because I'm the creator of the emotion, so it never really gives me what I need And it creates just destruction along my path to feeling better. So, even though, when you experience your own version of irritation or anger, anxiety, it might look different, right, these steps are still applicable to everybody, but, for example, i think, no matter who you are, you should acknowledge and become aware of what it feels like in your body. But it's going to feel differently than it feels for me And so I'm going to respond to it differently. I'm going to when I sit, when I have anxiety I really need to. I can't do anything that revs me up, so I can't do anything that gets my heart rate going For me. I really need to come down, so I need to take some deep breaths. I need to sit in silence. I need to slow down, but I know some people with anxiety they need to move their body and that's okay. So I want you to hear me when I say there is no one size fits all. But no matter what emotion you're experiencing, these three steps you can apply to your own situation, but I want to encourage you to stay with the emotion. Stay in the body and out of the head, because that's what allows the emotion to rise up in your body and then to go away, okay. So I hope that that example was a good illustration for you guys. I'm sure I'll have plenty more illustrations just for my own life, but please reach out to me. Reach out to me if you are experiencing an emotion whether it's anger, anxiety, resentment, sadness and you really want some help to move through that, i'm going to drop a link in the show notes that you can click on and schedule a free call with me. We'll hop on a call and I will help you kind of work through that. I love, love, love talking about this work with other women. So I hope you guys have a great week And, yeah, and here's to feeling those feelings so that we can actually feel better.

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