#36 - How to Face Painful Emotions

Everybody wants to feel happy.

Sometimes, though, emotions make that difficult.

I’m currently on vacation with my family in Hawaii and unfortunately due to work, my brother wasn’t able to make it.

It’s the first family Christmas without the full family together, and that’s definitely sad.

Given the situation, there is inevitably going to be sadness, which isn’t a fun thing.

But beyond the inevitable sadness, the way we think about the situation is going to have a huge impact on how enjoyable the experience is. It’s important to feel and process the sadness.

It’s equally important though, to maintain awareness of the thoughts in one’s head so as not to create further suffering.

For example, if you’re feeling sad, and then you start focusing on how sad the situation is, you’re going to create more sadness for yourself.

Getting caught in those thoughts is different from simply processing the sadness.

How can you differentiate between what needs to be processed and getting caught up in un-useful thinking?

According to Brene Brown, PhD, author of multiple best selling books like Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, it requires a specific process to process emotions.

Brene Brown’s Rising Strong process involves using a journaling practice to help you process emotions. I’ve been using the process for a few months now, and it’s helped me immensely.

Here’s how it works. When you’re feeling a really strong emotion that wants to be felt and processed, get yourself some space and write.

Write the most uncut, emotionally-charged, free flowing version of what you’re feeling. Don’t hold back. This writing is for you and for you only, so let it all out.

Here’s my adapted prompt I use:

What I’m feeling is:

In my body it feels like:

What’s causing this is:

The response I will choose going forward:

This process has helped me deal with some extremely challenging emotional experiences over the past few months. I hope it helps you too!

If you get the chance, check out Brene Brown’s work. It is life-changing for many people, myself included.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and lots of love,