7 fan­tas­ti­cally un­der­rated feel­ings and where to find them

The Peterborough Examiner - - Arts & Life - SARAH FIELD­ING greatist.com

There’s no deny­ing that self-care is the buzz­word on the block. But take it from your bank ac­count: In today’s world, self-care is hardly ever free — and some­times these pas­times don’t help your in­ner voice grow stronger.

So, let’s talk the no-cost op­tion that re­ally gets to the root of feel­ing bal­anced on the reg­u­lar. Let’s get to feel­ing our feel­ings.

In a world where CBD seems to pay off, slowly get­ting to know your feel­ings can seem an­tipro­duc­tive. But hear us out: Ex­plor­ing your emo­tional in­tel­li­gence might help you quickly kick stress to the curb.

“Emo­tional in­tel­li­gence is the abil­ity to rec­og­nize our feel­ings, emo­tions, and moods to bet­ter iden­tify what we are feel­ing and why,” says Jen Shirkani, key­note speaker and au­thor of “Ego vs. EQ” and “Choose Re­silience.”

Shirkani em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of read­ing your­self. “By (do­ing that), we can chan­nel our emo­tions to re­spond in healthy, in­tel­li­gent ways rather than al­low­ing our emo­tions to take over and un­der­mine us.”

Ready to get emo­tional with us? Here are the seven feel­ings that we’ve found make or break our self-care tech­niques.

1. GRAT­I­TUDE

It’s amaz­ing how much tak­ing stock of your life and what you have can do for your self-care. And grat­i­tude is more than a thank-you note to your body.

Ac­cord­ing to Grace Suh, a li­censed men­tal health coun­sel­lor based in New York, prac­tic­ing grat­i­tude ac­tu­ally means be­ing hum­ble in your thanks. That means re­ally see­ing the big­ger pic­ture and even reach­ing out to the peo­ple who helped you get there.

“Hum­ble­ness is the key in grat­i­tude, hav­ing dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives in life, and be­ing able to see the source of gen­eros­ity or un­earned priv­i­leges,” Suh says.

Suh rec­om­mends go­ing out into na­ture and breath­ing in the beau­ti­ful scenery found on Earth. Bring a jour­nal and use the time to re­flect on what things truly make you feel grat­i­tude.

And we’ll say it: A cheap, lo­cal pizza place to­tally counts.

2. EM­PA­THY

To be empathetic is to be able to un­der­stand and share the feel­ings some­one else car­ries. This moment of sep­a­ra­tion can be in­cred­i­bly cleans­ing, but it doesn’t work for ev­ery­one.

If you’re more of an in­tro­vert or some­one who recharges by be­ing alone, you might not want to tap into your in­ner em­path. Be­com­ing too in­vested in some­one else’s sit­u­a­tion can cause added stress, even if it’s a good ex­er­cise in bound­aries.

“Pay at­ten­tion when com­mu­ni­cat­ing to how you’re re­act­ing and why and how those re­ac­tions are af­fect­ing your be­hav­iours,” Shirkani says. Be­ing aware of what makes you tick is key to stop­ping em­pa­thy over­load.

But if em­pa­thy re­ju­ve­nates you, there are ways to do it with­out wor­ry­ing about be­ing a bur­den to oth­ers or ac­ci­den­tally fall­ing into a rab­bit hole of emo­tional labour. The trick? Read­ing!

Di­gest­ing a char­ac­ter’s story, the good and the bad, al­lows your brain a re­lease. As the ten­sion melts in the story, you might just feel yours go away, too. And maybe you’ll even get a new per­spec­tive on your sit­u­a­tion.

If a book is too long, we’re also fans of stress­ing and re­joic­ing with Claire Saf­fitz as she con­quers old-school treats in the “Bon Ap­pétit” video se­ries “Gourmet Makes.”

3. HOPE

Hope is both an in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful emo­tion and a ter­ri­fy­ing one. It’s easy to quickly cross off hope with the ex­pec­ta­tion that we’ll be let down. But that’s giv­ing hope a bad name.

“De­spite try­ing cir­cum­stances, be­lief that things can change can ac­tu­ally mo­ti­vate you to change. Hope is em­pow­er­ment,” Suh says.

Any­one who has con­tin­u­ally ex­er­cised hope can tell you it’s far worse to forego hope be­fore the fin­ish line is even in sight.

Suh rec­om­mends al­low­ing your­self to be in­spired and ac­tu­ally an­tic­i­pate a pos­i­tive fu­ture. So keep a goal jour­nal and write down the wildest, most out­landish dreams you can think of. You’ll be sur­prised how, when you ad­mit what you want, you find the am­bi­tion to achieve it.

The worst-case sce­nario is too of­ten some­thing your brain cre­ates to stop you from go­ing af­ter what you hope for. Tell it to get lost — hope is here.

4. COM­PAS­SION

It can be easy to feel the need to put off any kind of self-care that feels time-con­sum­ing. But the point of pur­su­ing self­care is hav­ing com­pas­sion for your­self.

Many times self-care starts with find­ing com­pas­sion for your mind and body. You wouldn’t push a friend who was burned out to do more, so why not re­spect your­self in the same way?

Then there’s com­pas­sion for oth­ers.

Suh stresses the im­por­tance of re­mem­ber­ing that you’re not in this alone. Ex­plor­ing the idea of what we can do for each other, from the small to the big, al­lows for a bet­ter life for ev­ery­one.

“Even small ges­tures like a smile or an en­cour­ag­ing word or sim­ply lis­ten­ing to some­one’s prob­lem can help us to be an ally, not an en­emy,” Suh says.

5. VAL­I­DA­TION

Can you guess whose opin­ion of what you do mat­ters the most? Look in the mir­ror if you need a clue. Giv­ing your­self val­i­da­tion for dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions you’ve made and times you gave it your best is just as im­por­tant as cel­e­brat­ing those #win­ning mo­ments.

We for­get that val­i­da­tion is also look­ing back at your life and sim­ply giv­ing your­self per­mis­sion to be hu­man.

“At the end of the day, spend some time re­flect­ing on both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive in­ter­ac­tions and ask your­self what made them feel good or bad,” Shirkani says. Be­ing aware of how in­di­vid­ual sit­u­a­tions made you feel al­lows you to grow and take care of your­self. Of course, you’ll also seek val­i­da­tion from oth­ers — it’s only nat­u­ral. Be­ing aware of who you’re seek­ing it from and why can help you be bet­ter cared for.

6. WHOLEHEART­EDNESS

While val­i­da­tion from oth­ers is rarely turned away, find­ing a whole­hearted love for your­self can go a long way to­ward re­mov­ing the need for that val­i­da­tion.

It’s about “feel­ing that you are enough de­spite what oth­ers say about you, hav­ing no doubt that you are enough,” Suh says.

Of course there are times you’ll have doubts — you’re hu­man af­ter all! But it’s about be­ing able to ac­cess that self-love when the doubt pops up.

In Brene Brown’s book “The Gifts of Im­per­fec­tion: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Sup­posed to Be and Em­brace Who You Are,” she writes, “Whole­hearted liv­ing is about en­gag­ing with our lives from a place of wor­thi­ness. It means cul­ti­vat­ing the courage, com­pas­sion, and con­nec­tion to wake up in the morn­ing and think, ‘No mat­ter what gets done and how much is left un­done, I am enough.’”

Prac­tice telling your­self this first thing in the morn­ing to start your day from a place of en­cour­age­ment.

“We spend too much (time) think­ing about what we are not, com­par­ing our­selves with oth­ers on a daily ba­sis,” Suh says.

When it comes down to it, you are with your­self at all times. Through find­ing wholeheart­edness, you may not al­ways like your­self, but you can al­ways love your­self.

7. PEACE

Fi­nally, we’ve got­ten to the epit­ome of self-care: peace. When you think of feel­ing re­laxed or be­ing 100 per cent at peace, where does your mind go?

Find­ing re­lax­ation is dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­one, and the most im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber about self-care is that you com­pletely de­serve to do it.

The best way to self-care is to re­mem­ber what in­spires grat­i­tude, em­pa­thy, hope, com­pas­sion, val­i­da­tion, wholeheart­edness, and peace within you. What can you do that helps you pre­serve those feel­ings?

Whether it’s putting your phone in air­plane mode (with a heads-up to friends and fam­ily!), go­ing hik­ing or hav­ing qual­ity time with friends, you can find the right rit­ual for you.

Be­ing in tune with your emo­tions al­lows you to co­ex­ist with them in­stead of feel­ing out of con­trol. It’s also an im­por­tant foun­da­tion for be­ing truly pro­duc­tive with self-care.

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The best way to self-care is to re­mem­ber what in­spires grat­i­tude, em­pa­thy, hope, com­pas­sion, val­i­da­tion, wholeheart­edness, and peace within you.

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