For many of us, we go about our day working, socializing, eating, talking, exercising, resting, planning, etc, all the while collecting residues of the emotional experiences that come along with the simple process of living our lives. We get frustrated with our partner, feel hurt by the angry person on the street, feel stressed by a busy day, or simply don’t know what we feel but we feel something! For many of us, we think of our physical world as a very different world from our energetic world. Things that become dirty are put in the wash, the kitchen that is messy gets cleaned up, the oil and make-up of our day is wiped clean, we brush, floss and whiten our teeth, dust the shelves, go to the bathroom and clean under our fingernails. But what about the energetic scramble and dishevel that accumulates during our day? Our week? A year?
The emotional world is tricky as it isn’t a tangible place that can be organized, labeled and stacked onto a shelf- the emotional world is constantly shifting and changing, like the weather or the ocean. There may be loads of emotional laundry hiding in corners of your body or mind that you don’t have any idea exist. With the number of distractions we have in our world, from social media to TV shows to books and eating out, there is often little time dedicated to finding out what is actually sitting in our emotional storage, let alone the time it takes to properly digest, understand, sort through and clear them through your body and mind. This pileup of undigested, or unaware, emotional luggage can become heavy and burdensome. Little things build up over time into emotional clutter leaving little room for the sense of peace and ease that can be found when we understand and let go of our emotions. Often, unaware emotional build up can be the cause of reactions and flare ups in the most innocent circumstances. Life, for most of us, can be constantly in motion leaving little or no time for clearing and airing out the home of our emotional self.
Based on my own challenges, contemplation, trial-and-error, and continued efforts, here are my thoughts on how to clean out our emotional basements and create healthy practices for daily emotional cleansing:
- Get To The Root. What are you actually feeling? Where is the root or seed of this emotion? Emotional build up leads to outbursts (it has to get out somehow!) often in the wrong direction or in a perfectly unrelated situation. That anger and frustration may actually be some deep sadness that is swimming around under the surface but isn’t being recognized or dealt with. Those criticisms and snappy responses may be the result of too much stress built up in the body. Sitting with yourself to get to the root of what an emotion is will help to eliminate offshoot emotional reactions. Understand what you feel (or at least have an idea) so that you can process, let go, and move forward.
- Move Stress Out Of The Body. Take a walk, do some exercise, meditate, take some silent time, or whatever works for you to flush the channels of energy in the body of stress. Imagine any stress physically flowing off your body and into the ground.
- Get Away From Distractions. Give yourself some space on a regular basis that does not involve TV, reading, phones, etc., so that you have the room to actually touch base with what is going on in your own body and mind. Just as it is amazingly hard to have a conversation with two people at the same time, so is it near impossible to listen to what is going on in your own mind and heart at the same time as watching a show, socializing, etc.
- Whatever You Do Regularly Is What You Will Get Better At. Whether this is finding mindful ways of understanding your emotions or letting a negative thought pattern take up permanent residence in your mind, whatever you do on a daily basis is what you are getting good at. Choose your daily practices wisely!
- Feel And Let Go. Be honest with yourself about how you feel, even if it is simply daily frustration or fatigue- write it down, talk it through, or give yourself the time to know what the root is- then choose to release it. Emotions, most often, keep coming back to us in little waves, so each time something comes up, acknowledge and release it so you don’t keep carrying it around.
- Be Accountable For Your Own Emotions, Actions, and Thoughts. This is important! Just because you had a hard day, you are tired, you are grieving, etc., does not give any of us the excuse to dump it onto someone else. Those reactions, short-tempered moments, and other emotional offshoots, are not excusable just because you are dealing with big emotions. Make sure to stay accountable for your own emotional actions, and properly ‘clean-up’ any emotional mess or damages that you may inadvertently create around you.
Emotional health is a key player in our well being- stagnant, negative, or bottled up emotions are toxic to the body, mind and heart. Keep your emotional house clean! Create a big picture of balance and awareness that encompasses all elements of life.