Music, movies, and tv shows have a way of speaking to the soul in a way that makes everything safer and easier to process. The power certain songs and shows have is truly indescribable. It’s as if we are given permission and space by these artists to let deep feelings and big emotions free and fully be expressed. What would it look like for us to sit with these big feelings more often instead of just waiting until a new album or episode drops? What would it mean to sit with the feelings in real-time?
Sitting with big emotions is scary and uncomfortable for many, because it comes with uncertainty and oftentimes, anxiety. Some of us have been running from our emotions for so long that we have a way of slowing down enough to try to sit with them. “Sitting with it” involves knocking down the protective walls, allowing yourself to feel the emotions without judgment, and eventually accepting them as they are. Raw and painful as they may be, expressing them allows space for healing and room to just release.
Tips for “Sitting with It”
- Acknowledge them: There is so much power in giving what we are feeling a name. Instead of just “I’m feeling some type of way” work to call them out as you feel them. Use an emotions wheel or list to help in identifying them.
- Take baby steps: Don’t believe you have to be an expert right away. If you have not really acknowledged sadness or frustration in a while, take short visits and see what it would look like to have those feelings come and stay long-term.
- Let it be messy: There’s no “right” way to feel your emotions. You might cry for 10 seconds then feel totally fine, or you might cycle through several emotions simultaneously and find yourself laughing several minutes later. You’ve earned the right to be less than perfect.
Remember all feelings are real and true. None of them can tell a story about you without you. Let the feelings free and check with yourself on the behaviors associated with the feelings that you may not like. If letting your emotions in feels too scary, prepare a list of coping strategies you can use if you start to feel overwhelmed that can help you get out of your head and focus on the things around you. This helps with getting grounded and slowing things down.
- Box breathing
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Five senses (my personal favorite)
Certain singers, tv shows, and movies give us a reason to sit with emotions that we have trouble naming ourselves. Getting comfortable with our big feelings is not always the easiest thing to do but give yourself the same pass to feel your feelings that Adele, This is Us, and Titanic give you. Give yourself permission to feel the feelings in real-time and hopefully they will become less and less daunting to sit with and more manageable over time.
Sabrina Roc, MS, LGMFT provides couple, family, and individual therapy in our downtown Bethesda, MD office and virtually to those located in the state of Maryland. Call or email today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary consultation with Sabrina!