Last week we had a look at some of the things we fear. Really, it was more about how to identify our fears or phobias by gauging our internal reactions towards our surroundings.
This week we’re going to break out the microscope. It is extremely important to note that while yes, I am a psychology major, I am in no way qualified to give you medical advice and I would never advise another human being to stop taking their medications unless it was agreed upon both by you and the prescribing physician.
So now that that’s out of the way let’s begin, shall we?
First, I want you to take a deep breath.
In through the nose and out through the mouth.
Now take another and this time stick your belly out as much as possible while you inhale.
Do this a few times. Notice your lungs being filled with air.
How do you feel?
Chances are pretty calm.
For many of us, we have a tendency to get swept away by a lifestyle that moves at a pace so fast we barely have time to breathe.
How many times have you heard the expression stop and smell the roses?
Our lives become so busy between school/ continuing education, work, family, friends— if we have time, hobbies, religious services and volunteer work, that we often forget how to simply feel.
Now Nick, I’m pretty sure I know how I feel about a lot of things. I feel that climate change is or isn’t a problem, I feel that Donald Trump would or wouldn’t make a good president.
A lot of the time we confuse what we feel for our attitudes and our opinions. To clarify an opinion is "what a person believes to be factually true". Therefore it is my opinion that vegetables are good for me. Attitudes on the other hand are "an opinion that includes an evaluative and an emotional component." In other words it is my attitude that the United States of America is or isn't the greatest country in the world.
So where exactly am I going with this?
We have a tendency to get so wrapped up in our own heads that—as we previously read— we forget to just simply feel. We think that we should believe this or that. We are told that terrorists follow the teachings of Islam and that Communism is a plight on the human race. We are spoon fed a tremendous amount information that a lot of our opinions become hard rooted attitudes without us even realizing it.
We get swept away in our attitudes because we forget that we are so much more than the sum of our mental processes. From a young age I was under the impression that my thoughts and my desires made me who I was. This thinking made me so vulnerable to addictive tendencies I didn't realize that a lot of my escapes— from playing video games to watching television— were doing nothing more than allowing me to run away from what I was feeling at the time.
Instead of allowing myself to feel whatever was going on inside of my body at the time, I'd push a power button and hide or run away from that feeling of discomfort.
So what if I told you that you may be burying a considerable amount of your feelings without realizing it? What if I told you that the reason you stop at Dunkin Donuts instead of eating a healthy breakfast was because you were running away from feeling uncomfortable? Instead of allowing ourselves to feel uncomfortable it has become so much easier to reach for something that gives us immediate gratification than ever before. No one likes to feel uncomfortable. There’s no surprise there. However, if we don’t seek to understand the source of our discomfort and accept the way we feel we aren’t doing anything else than burying our feelings and our emotions. Think of me playing video games or binge watching game of thrones.
We know we shouldn’t bury things, but sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re burying them! It gets even worse when we’re stressed!
Okay, so this may have been a lot to take in all at once. If you take one thing out of this post I can only pray that it’s this: The next time you feel stressed or anxious, take a step back for a second. Allow yourself to take a few deep breaths and observe how you feel. Don’t act, just close your eyes and watch the rise and fall of all those feelings inside your body.
This little technique is something that is so simple it's almost painful— almost.
I can only pray it's able to help you.
With love, Nick