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Best Practices for Processing Your Emotions

The steps I'm taking to process my feelings and emotions.

Do you sometimes find yourself worried or upset and you don't understand why? Do you have strong reactions to people and situations that you don't understand?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are not alone. I have been facing the same dilemmas. As I am healing and being more honest with myself, I am realizing that often I have strong emotions and feelings to situations, and I don't always know why.

As these strong emotions come up, I am following these steps to process and dissect my feelings. Doing so, allows me to take a step back and look at the situation with a different mindset.

The ABC's of Behavior Management

Antecedent - This is the event or trigger that has caused the behavior or feeling.

Behavior - This is your thought process or belief system.

Consequence - This is your feeling or emotion. My therapist has instructed me to rate my feeling on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the strongest.

So, what does this look like in real time? Once I am triggered by an event, I stop and think about why I am being triggered. I dig deep and figure out what belief system is making me feel this way.

Here is a real-life example for me:

Trigger - I'm worried about an upcoming doctor's appointment, so much so that I can't focus on anything else for days.

Thought - I'll never be enough, they are right, something is wrong with me. I'm ashamed that I'm not healthy because it means I am not perfect like I strived to be. I thought I needed to be perfect in order to be loved.

Feeling - Fear and shame 8/10 score

Once I dissect my trigger, I am able to speak to myself kindlier about my feelings. I remind myself that I am going to the doctor's so I can take care of myself and become healthier. I remind myself that no one is perfect and that to strive for perfection is not obtainable. I tell myself that I deserve love just as I am. I also speak to my inner child, letting her know that we are safe now. We don't have to pretend to be someone we are not.

Speaking to Yourself

As you are doing the work and healing, it is important that you are speaking to yourself in terms that make sense. What I mean by this is to think back to the age you developed these coping mechanisms. In my example above, the first time I remember having the need to be perfect was around age three or four. As a result, I need to speak to myself in terms a three, or four year old, would understand.

I would tell myself that the adults in my life treated me in a bad way that I did not deserve. I would tell her that she did a good job protected herself, but that she is okay now. She doesn't have to protect herself anymore because they cannot hurt her now. We are good to be our own self now.

I have found this exercise to be extremely helpful. It brings my triggers to light and helps them to lose their power over my life. Some triggers can be harder to confront than others so make sure you have a support system when needed.



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