Choosing happy is not always healthy
Do you stuff down your feelings? Many empaths are susceptible to this problem, because they love to make other people feel better. If they stuff down their own feelings, they won’t be a burden for others.
I think society teaches us that feelings are bad. “Choose Happy!” “Never let them see you sweat!” “Happiness is a choice you make every day!”
If we feel anything other than happy, something is wrong with us. But, here’s the problem, stuffing down those emotions doesn’t work. It just makes them come up over and over again until they overflow within you. In the meantime, your cortisol levels (stress hormone) get so high that you have inflammation and illness. You were never meant to ignore emotions.
The kid’s movie, Inside Out, shows what happens when some emotions are left out. The movie teaches that mindfully embracing emotions, without judgement, gives you time to choose a healthy response.
Dissociation as an unhealthy coping tool
Dissociation is when you disconnect your thoughts from your feelings. It is a response to trauma that can be useful when something terrible happens, and you need to still be able to function. Like, when a child sees something that makes them feel unsafe, but they still have to go to school every day, dissociation can be helpful.
However, when you’re an adult, and you use dissociation to numb your emotions, instead of feeling them and using healthy tools to release them, that is not helpful at all.
This is a tool I’m fantastic at. I used my busy teaching job, and my 4 kids’ after-school activities as a way to dissociate and ignore feelings of grief and anger. I could focus on what is for dinner and is the uniform clean, instead of processing thoughts about my divorce, or my mother’s passing. I was so good at it, in fact, that many people didn’t know I was going through anything at all.
Try these healthier ways to heal emotions
The first step to healing emotions is naming them. “I feel angry”, or “I feel sad.”
The next step is to process that feeling in some way that can reach your subconscious thoughts. You can do this in several ways. Meditation and journaling are great tools to reach the subconscious.
Meditation allows you to quiet your mind, so that you can hear your subconscious thoughts over the ego. The ego is your conscious mind, trying to keep you safe. It will argue or keep thoughts hidden. Sitting still and quiet for a period of time will help your ego feel that you are safe and secure so that it can take a little break. It will take more than a few minutes to quiet your mind. Sit for at least 15 minutes, if you can, in a quiet place with no distractions.
Journaling is also a way to reach your subconscious thoughts, but it needs to be done in a specific way. When you are journaling to reach your subconscious mind, there are a few steps that will help. First, you need to write for at least 10 minutes, or some experts say to fill up 3-4 pages, front to back. You may not know what you are going to write about at first, but imagine you as a 5-year-old, watching a movie of your life. What is making you angry, sad, resentful or full of grief?
A second, very important step, is to burn the papers or tear them into tiny pieces and throw them away where no one will ever see them. Knowing that no one will ever see your papers, makes you feel safe enough to write anything you want. So, when your 5-year-old inner self throws a tantrum, no one else will be hurt by those words that you may not really mean, but are just processing. You can read more about this activity from Dr. Habib Sadeghi, and/or Nicole Sachs. They both have a version of this activity in their work.
The most important part of healing your emotions
The most important part of healing your emotions is getting down to that subconscious level of thought. Experts predict that we only use about 5% of our mind through conscious thought, and the rest is hidden in our subconscious thoughts. There is a lot of research being done at this time that proves the mind, body connection and the key to healing the body is healing the mind.
Empaths can heal the emotions that are causing health symptoms, like migraines, digestive issues, hormone imbalances, and other chronic symptoms by naming them and processing them through getting in touch with the subconscious mind.
Comment below if you have a chronic health condition you would like to heal.