Day 3 of National Mental Health awareness week an Coach Lucio has written a wonderful article for you all to read- Enjoy
Riding Emotions, Truly Finding Who You Are By Lucio Adger
“Though the moment may seem scary, are you paying attention to it?” Way of the peaceful warrior, (D. Millman 1985)
The quote above has always stuck with me through my own personal journey with mental health, but what does it mean? In a time, such as now, people fear the potential changes the Coronavirus/COVID-19 presents. This maybe to do with the potential of catching the disease itself. It could be the potential changes that are going to have to be made to people’s routines with restrictions such as the freedom to work and meet family and friends. And it could be the idea of being alone in the same four walls with one’s own thought processes.
Regardless of what the true meaning is to you, feelings and emotions will flare up, whether that be frustration from loss of control to be able to carry out simple everyday tasks, anger from hearing that there is no end in sight, sadness from loss of lives, the theme from an emotional stand point is all the same. It’s fear.
What we are being told by the government as of late is essentially to stay at home and slow down our lives to reduce the curve of the virus. This forces us to take a slower pace in life, meaning lesser distractions. This means that we can start to notice more emotional highs and lows in a time and space where we have nothing to do. The habitual minds coping mechanism will revert to finding a distraction, whether it be watching T.V, or binge eating, things that are generally pointless and unhelpful to our own mental state. But why is that?
The habitual mind (subconscious) works on basic emotions. In this instance it is fear. If we imagine we are a monkey gathering food and we are confronted with a leopard (current situation), the habitual mind (subconscious) will go into a fight or flight decision. To face your internal chatter and ride the emotion so to speak, you are confronted with that leopard. It is less threatening to run away (find a distraction, watch T.V, eat food etc) then to confront the leopard (ride the emotion).
Riding the Emotion
To ride the emotion is to confront the leopard, but as it is not a physical or tangible thing, it means we must take a very different approach. The risk may seem high, but the risk is all in the imagination. The reward is gaining the steps towards knowing who you are and why you react and respond the way you do.
The leopard (emotion) will strike without a warning at times, and the initial response is to act out this emotion. Now some people will try to hold in the emotion, whether that be angry or sad, and then find a way of distraction to brush it away. The problem with this is that you aren’t allowing the emotion to process, so in time it will rise again with a harsher response, which in turn will make you become the emotion you’re brushing off. Having such a negative process will only embed the habitual response deeper creating a never-ending void with little to no resolve.
Another response will be to purely act the emotion out without being conscious to how that may affect other people, and in turn how you view yourself. Now this can be harder to correct as the person acting the emotions out aren’t ever conscious to the responses they give out. Emotional intelligence is key here and a harsh mirror will eventually present of which space, time and resilience will be required. The process can be like a forge, you put ore and ingots in, and with craftsmanship, you create a fine steel.
So, what is the process?
The process is surprisingly simple yet difficult to master. Acknowledge the feeling arising and observe. There is no need to act on anything, let the emotion be heard and breathe. Previously we spoke of the emotion being like a leopard, when in fact its just you, a younger you which you are the parent too. The fears, anxiety, anger and frustrations all stem from a process that the emotional mind needs to process. By reacting in a way of the previous chapters, you can understand why this is of huge detriment to your mental health.
So in this time that you have now, in a space with four walls and far less distractions, listen to yourself, it will be relentless at first, and you will still get it wrong at times, but that inner growth will exponentially improve your outside world and physical well-being too. Just breathe four seconds in and four seconds out, letting the mind say what it does, emotions to rise and fall and be unmovable like a rock in a stream (as hippy as it may seem). The more you practice, the more you will know and the freer you will be to do and manage the things the physical world demands of you, without the emotional and mental restraints.
“Though the moment may seem scary, are you paying attention to it?”
By Lucio Adger