Why can’t I just feel better? (Part one)
I think all of us have asked ourselves this from time to time. We might have been feeling stuck, exhausted, sad, anxious, depressed, or any of the plethora of difficult emotions we experience as a person. No one wants to feel that way forever, but we might find ourselves ‘stuck’ in a certain mainframe or state. Why does that happen?
First and foremost, we might not have been paying a lot of attention to how we were feeling till the emotion ‘hijacks’ or ‘takes over’ our entire mindset. It might seem like everything was going well and suddenly, bam, you’re seeing red or feeling blue. However raw an emotion might feel, it’s actually the end result of your brain processing something (according to the most popular theory of emotion). You might have been taking in little bits of information that don’t quite make it to the forefront, but are still perceived and integrated into how you think or feel (vibes, as we call them). Maybe a good question, then, to ask yourself is how long have I been feeling ___ (labels help! Read on to understand how).
Now that we’ve been good detectives and figured out the duration and circumstances of our current feelings, the next thing we might overlook is actually understanding how you feel. We might have a diffused, unpleasant feeling, and since our focus has been to not feel that way and get as far away from it as possible, we might not have explored it. Labeling an emotion not only makes it feel seen and validated, it also gives us some idea about what could help it. For instance, If I feel heaviness in my stomach and label the feeling as lonely, I might think immediately of calling a friend or helpline to talk to someone. If I’f just said I was ‘sad’, I might not have been able to pinpoint what need of mine feels unfulfilled at the moment. That’s another great question to ask: what do I need right now? Or, What need of mine doesn’t feel fulfilled right now?
Another slight modification to our thought process can be to see the emotion as a communicator, rather than an adversary. We might start feeling upset about being upset (metaemotion), and that added emotional baggage just weighs us down. We might spend so much energy feeling frustrated or even shameful for feeling a certain way, we forget that the emotion is just trying to convey a message from the nervous system – something doesn’t feel right. So, a question that can help is what are these feelings trying to tell me?
In conclusion, to begin feeling better, we need to reflect and comprehend what we’re feeling in the first place, why we’re feeling and then maybe we might understand what we need in the moment. Next time, let’s look at other variables like the role our past experiences or traumas play, our social situation and so on.