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The Importance of Emotional Digestion



July has been quite the emotional month for me.


There was a lot of internal stuff coming up around new and old anxieties, doubts, and fears that needed to be dealt with in order to make space for more peace in my life. And while it was certainly challenging at times, I realized the version of myself that I am today handles these kinds of situations very differently than the version of me that I was two years ago- and for that, I am grateful.


While it is easy to feel fearful, overwhelmed, and anxious when emotions like shame, guilt, anger, sadness, and frustration come up, I have learned through my own healing journey and in my work that it is of the utmost importance that we do not hide from any of our feelings.


Flipping the script from, “I am scared of feeling that” to, “I need to deal with that” is critical because even if the emotions are rising up all at once, it is for a reason. They are coming up to tell us something, and it's in our best interest to stop and listen.


In this blog post, I will share my thoughts about emotions, the importance of emotional digestion, and 5 steps to emotionally digest that I have found extremely helpful in my own healing journey, that I hope you will find helpful, too.


All About Emotions

Emotions, by definition, are “natural instinctive states of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” Thus, emotions are reflections of our internal and external environments- making it absolutely critical for us to acknowledge and process how we are feeling in order to understand our world.


If we look at the etymology of the word emotion, it stems from the Latin prefix “ex” which means “out”, and the Latin word “movere”, which means “move”. Therefore the word emotion literally means “to move out”, which is exactly what emotions are meant to do.



From an energetic standpoint and aligned with the definition and etymology, emotions are energies in motion. They are subconscious signals, providing us feedback on how situations, relationships, and environments align with our internal landscape. They are impermeant states of being, designed to be witnessed, felt, and processed in order to heal, learn, and ultimately grow as human beings.


Emotional Digestion

Processing our emotions, or emotional digestion, occurs when we take time to sit with our emotions, reflect, and dig deep. It looks like peeling back all of the emotional layers to get to the root cause of why we are feeling a certain way so that we can allow the energy to move through us and heal. After all, "negative emotions" are just signaling to us that something within has not yet been healed, and that we need to give it some tender love and attention.


But just like when we don’t take time to digest after a big meal, when we choose not to make the time to process heavy or dense emotions we can get what I like to call- emotional indigestion.


Just like emotions, our bodies are made up of energy. So when emotions are ignored or not processed properly, they can get trapped within our bodies, cause blockages, and lead to dis-ease. Whether it be aches and pains, anxiety, depression, or other illnesses- when emotions get stored within us, they can cause a whole lot more distress than they would if we just chose to feel.


In fact, works like “The Body Keeps the Score'', and “It Didn’t Start With You”, detail in great length the effects of unprocessed trauma, stress, and emotional dis-ease on our biochemistry and even our DNA. So while it may not have started with us- it is up to us to do the healing work- not only for ourselves- but for generations to come.


5 Steps to Emotionally Digest

Throughout my healing journey and in my work, I have come up with these 5 steps to help myself emotionally digest and heal. If you have been experiencing a lot lately, or have had trouble getting to the other side of a difficult emotion, I encourage you to give one or all of these 5 things a try. And of course, remember that if you need help, please seek assistance. We are all in this together, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.


1. Identify how you are feeling

Acknowledging emotional states is the first step in allowing them to move through us, because once we do, we are no longer identifying as the emotion. Oftentimes we make statements like “I am sad”. The mantra “I am” is extremely strong, and is a declaration to the universe about who it is that you are. Once you acknowledge that “I am feeling _____”, you detach, putting separation between yourself and the emotion, and can begin the process of understanding what is going on.


2. Identify where you are feeling the emotion in your body

Emotions do not just simply live in our thoughts. As energetic beings, emotions move through our entire systems- from our heads to our toes- making it critical to allow feeling to be an embodied experience. Allow yourself to acknowledge and associate your emotional state with the physical sensations occurring in your body. In doing so, you acknowledge that the physical sensation is not permanent, further giving the energy permission to move instead of allowing it to cause blockages and stagnation in your system.


3. Give yourself permission to feel & Be compassionate

In order to heal it, you have to feel it. Once you’ve identified the feeling and where it is surfacing in the body, it is time to give yourself permission to feel. While it may be painful at times, the only way out is through. Breathe, be patient with yourself, and as the emotion comes up, surround it with a whole lot of love. Have compassion for yourself and understand that all emotions serve a purpose. This too, shall pass. Talk to yourself as if you were a friend who was going through a hard time and surround yourself with all the care and support you need.


4. Get to the root

In order to respond to how we are feeling, we must first get to the root cause of why. Was a boundary crossed? A value compromised? A past trauma/situation being triggered? Dig deep into when the emotion started to arise, what it reminds you of, and see if you can get to the root of it while doing something grounding. Maybe you're taking a walk, writing in your journal, coloring, or talking it through with a friend. Regardless, make sure you are doing something that is grounding you into the present moment so you don't get too lost in the sauce.


5. Respond & restore your nervous system

Once you have identified the why behind what you are feeling, now it is time to respond & reset. If a need wasn’t met, try and meet that need. If a boundary was crossed, communicate that or reestablish it if you can. If you are having irrational thoughts, ground yourself in fact and address those false beliefs. If a value was compromised, re-align with your truth and take corrective action. And if you need to help the emotion pass, try moving your body. Practices like yoga and dance are beautiful in getting into all the nooks and crannies of our bodies, but going for a walk or going for a run hold the same magic. Whatever it is, this is the part where we take self-care to move the energy, restore our energy, and restore our nervous system.


Overall, emotional digestion will look different for everyone- so try and have some fun and be curious as you discover what works best for you. Part of being a human upon this Earth is to feel all the feels, so the more prepared we are to process all of them, the better our lives and the lives of our loved ones will be.


I hope that no matter what you are feeling, you surround yourself with all the love and compassion possible, because there is no one else like you on this entire planet and you deserve to shine.


I love you.


From my heart to yours,

Stephanie


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