Last week, we looked at creating a mindful middle ground for working with our emotions, which I call channeling. This week, we’ll look at a specific channeling exercise from my book, The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You.
When you can channel your emotions, you’ll discover something most people don’t know, which is that your emotions don’t disappear when you’re not feeling them; instead, each of your emotions moves through you at all times, and each one endows you with specific gifts and abilities. Let me show you what I mean.
Channeling Your Emotions
Let’s start with a simple flow-inducing exercise. You can be sitting, standing, or lying down.
Please take a deep breath and fill up your chest and your belly so you feel a little bit of tension – not too much. Hold your breath for a few seconds (count to three), and as you breathe out, make small, gentle spiraling movements with your hands, your arms, your feet, your legs, your neck, and your torso. Move your body in gentle, easy, relaxing ways.
Now, breathe in again, expand your chest and your belly until you feel a little bit of tension, hold for three seconds – and breathe out with a sigh as you spiral your arms and your legs and your neck. You can even hang your tongue out. Just let go. You’re a ragdoll. Let it go.
Now breathe normally and check in with yourself. If you feel a bit softer and calmer, and maybe even a little bit tired, thank the emotion that helped you release some of your tension and restore some of your flow: Thank your sadness.
That’s what healthy, flowing sadness feels like, and that’s what it does – it helps you let go and it helps you bring some flow back to your system. Each of the emotions has this free-flowing state that brings you specific gifts and tools. We’ve learned to identify emotions only when they move to an obvious mood state, but that’s not all they are.
You don’t have to cry to be sad; you can just let go. Sadness is about releasing things and relaxing into yourself.
Take a moment to notice how aware you are of your body. Sadness is a very internal emotion that brings you back to yourself and makes you aware of your interior state. And that’s why we tend to avoid sadness in our everyday lives. It’s not the right emotion to walk around with all the time, because it doesn’t protect your boundaries – and it doesn’t make you focused or ready for action. That’s not its job – it’s not supposed to do those things.
Sadness brings flow back to you, it calms you, and it helps you release uncomfortable things you’ve been grasping onto – like muscle tension, fatigue, lost hopes, or disappointments. Sadness helps you let go of things that aren’t working anyway.