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Emotional Pain is something I battle every day of my life. I’m not alone. It can cause sleep disorders, anxiety, actual physical pain and a feeling of hopelessness. The key is to find a healthy way of coping. I recently read a book by Dr. Scott Symington –Freedom from Anxious Thoughts and Feelings: A Two-Step Mindfulness Approach for Moving Beyond Fear and Worry that I found extremely helpful and insightful.
A Simple Approach to Practicing Mindfulness
If you are like me with extreme anxiety or even if you just need a better way to cope with stress, this is a fantastic book with simple, easy ways to push past the worry and pain. Sometimes anxiety and emotion pain rear their ugly head for no rhyme or reason. How do you combat that?
What I liked the most about this book are the simple tools you are given. If you apply the two-screen method and use the three anchors it allows you to move closer to being able to accept and redirect your thoughts. It’s not an instant cure, but a game plan to help you move forward.
I highly recommend this book if you have tried other types of positive affirmation or techniques to battle emotional pain without success.
Dr. Scott Symington graciously wrote an article today for My Crafty Life that builds on his suggestions in his book. Enjoy!
6 Simple Steps to Defusing Emotional Pain
by Dr. Scott Symington
Emotional pain is built into the fabric of life. It shows up in multiple forms: anxiety, loneliness, feeling rejected, overwhelmed by the stresses of life and the list goes on. In the midst of these challenging experiences, we naturally look for ways to change the way we’re feeling—to alleviate the pain.
If we don’t have healthy ways of coping with emotional distress, we’re susceptible to relying on things like food, alcohol, shopping and Internet surfing to get the soothing and relief we seek.
To protect your wellbeing, it’s important to be equipped with tools and a game plan to address the challenging emotional experiences that show up in life.
Here are 6 steps to diffusing intense emotional symptoms:
Step 1: Take a deep breath, relax your muscles, and feel your feet on the ground.
Step 2: Remind yourself that thoughts and feelings come and go like a weather pattern passing through: I won’t always feel this way.
Step 3: Instead of fighting what you’re feeling, move into emotional acceptance, allowing the painful feeling to breathe. Say to yourself, I can live with this feeling right now.
Step 4: Describe out-loud or on paper what you’re feeling and the thoughts you’re having, almost as if you were taking on the role of an impartial commentator. Label the emotions and describe where and how you feel them in your body.
Step 5: Engage in a five-minute grounding exercise. First, listen to all the sounds in your environment intently for 1 to 2 minutes. Then pick out a visual anchor in your environment, something pleasing to the eye, such as a painting or picture, and study it visually for a couple of minutes. Next notice how your body feels on the cushion or chair or run your hand under warm water noticing the sensations (1 to 2 minutes). Lastly, grab a spice or something that has a pleasing aroma and engage your olfactory sense. Study the smell for a minute or so. This process of grounding is highly effective in both bringing awareness into the present moment, which is incompatible with internal spinning, and decreasing emotional intensity.
Step 6: Engage in meaningful action. Instead of turning inward and focusing on how you’re feeling, place your attention and concern on someone else. Engage in an act of kindness or if you pray, pray for someone you know is struggling. Take some action that reflects the best part of who you are.
Implement these Steps to Alleviate Your Emotional Pain
Next time you find yourself emotionally overwhelmed or in a painful feeling state, implement the 6 steps you just reviewed. Especially with time and practice, you will notice that this approach reduces the power and presence of emotional pain in your life. You can’t always avoid the emotional challenges that come your way but you can develop a set of responses that protect your wellbeing and keep you fully engaged and present with life. Give it a try!
Dr. Scott Symington is the author of Freedom from Anxious Thoughts and Feelings: A Two-Step Mindfulness Approach for Moving Beyond Fear and Worry. He is a licensed clinical psychologist dedicated to helping adults overcome worry and anxiety, negative moods, addictive behaviors, and other conditions stealing people’s joy and freedom.
For more information, please visit, www.drsymington.com and connect with him on Twitter, @drsymington.
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