“I don’t know what to do!”
This has been my default response anytime I had an anxiety attack. I couldn’t comprehend what’s going on. It took me so many therapy sessions to understand what’s the root cause of these anxiety attacks.
After working with 200+ coaching clients in 2020, I noticed this pattern. Even when most of us are going through emotional trauma and pain, we cannot comprehend what’s the reason behind this turmoil and how to get rid of this emotional pain.
This, however, doesn’t mean I am encouraging you to ignore your emotions or not acknowledge your pain. There’s a pain that’s inevitable, but there’s also unnecessary emotional pain we can avoid only if we are conscious enough.
Here are the five effective ways of avoiding emotional pain I found working most effectively —
If something is giving us trouble, automatically, our brain will label it as an enemy. In reality, when you understand what emotions are, you won’t see them as your enemies. Your emotions are your friends.
Emotions are the signals your brain and body are receiving about what’s happening around you. If someone slaps you, your brain will tell you to be angry or embarrassed. Your brain wants to protect you, and it gives you signals in the form of emotions.
If you keep fighting your emotions, you won’t be able to understand their meaning and message. But when you stop fighting them, you will be in a situation to comprehend and behave appropriately.
Your brain wants to protect you, and it gives you signals in the form of emotions.
This is an effective way of avoiding emotional pain.
Align Your Actions With Your Core Values
Most of us work and keep moving without knowing where we are heading. Having a clear direction helps to prioritize our problems.
If you know I want to go in this X to Y direction, the problems that are happening on A to B direction will become irrelevant to me.
We sometimes date people desperately without checking if our core values and love languages align with our potent partners.
I once dated a girl whose love language is touch. She expresses her love with “touch,” aka hugs, cuddles, handholding, etc.
My love language is quality time. I like to spend time with others. Just being there. Probably not even doing anything. Or doing typical random day things like eating and cooking and watching Netflix. But I also do seek my personal space.
The issue was, whenever we were together, she always used to seek touch, handholding, hugging, etc., and I felt like she’s intruding too much of my personal space. Our love languages and core values didn’t align.
And we were too young to figure out why aren’t we happy together.
The same goes for any career. If my core value is quality family time, and I am working in a job where I have to travel for five days a week, I would probably not be happy in my life because my core values and my job don’t align with each other.
Alignment can resolve so many issues of your life.
Seek alignment in —
- Your and your partner’s core values and love languages.
- Your life purpose and your career goals.
- Your thoughts, actions, and emotions.
How can you practice alignment?
Well, design an imaginary compass for your life. Be self-aware of who you are, what are your core values, your standards, and expectations, etc.
Set this imaginary compass in the direction of your life purpose. Deliberately choose your decisions from here.
Whenever you need to decide anything, like dating someone, or a career opportunity, put in on this imaginary compass, and see if it aligns with your life purpose and core values.
If it does, go on and get it. If it doesn’t, just let it go.
Don’t Indulge or Avoid
Emotions aren’t meant to be avoided. In fact, when we don’t avoid them, most of the time we indulge in it.
Consider them as your children playing in the park. They will come to you, hug you, and go back to playing again.
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, in her book “My Stroke of Insight,” writes –
When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.
Something happens in the external world and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body it takes less than 90 seconds.
This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away.
After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that is re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological response over and over again.Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
Communicate Your Expectations
A lot of communication is lost while reading between the lines. When others don’t meet our expectations, we feel hurt. It’s theoretically correct not to keep any expectations from anyone. But I am not sure if that’s humanly possible.
Communicating your expectations will mean showing up your true inner self. And this starts with being honest with yourself.
When you are honest with yourself, when you know your deepest desires and expectations from others, you will communicate everything better. And there will be fewer chances of you getting hurt emotionally.
Slow Down to Read Your Thoughts
Breathe in deeply. Breathe out slowly. Start focusing on your breathing a few minutes every day. This will help you slow down.
There’s a distinction between reacting and responding. If we are unaware of the situation and the trigger, we mostly react to the given situation. Responding would mean taking a moment to think and act wisely.
Slow down. Read your thoughts. Understand the root cause of your triggers, thoughts, emotions, and reactions.
Our thoughts become our emotions and emotional responses. So, it’s significant for us to read our thoughts.
Maybe start writing about them in a notepad app on your phone. That usually helps.
Be a nerd, and start studying your thoughts.
There’s a pain that’s inevitable, but there’s also unnecessary emotional pain we can avoid only if we are conscious enough.
Here are the five effective ways of avoiding emotional pain —
- Understand emotions. If you keep fighting your emotions, you won’t be able to understand their meaning and message.
- Align your actions with your core values. If my core value is quality family time, and I am working in a job where I have to travel for five days a week, I would probably not be happy in my life because my core values and my job don’t align with each other.
- Don’t indulge or avoid emotions. Acknowledge your emotions. Embrace them. Feel them. And then let them go. Move on.
- Communicate your expectations. When you are honest with yourself, when you know your deepest desires and expectations from others, you will communicate everything better.
- Slow down to read your thoughts. Focus on your breathing every day for a few minutes. Respond, don’t react to your triggers. Study your emotional triggers and responses.